Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In the Glass: 2001 Riesling, Gold-Quadrat, trocken, Weingut Sybille Kuntz, Mosel

Picture: The winemakers Sybille and Markus Kuntz

2001 Riesling, Gold-Quadrat, trocken, Weingut Sybille Kuntz, Mosel

I bought (2 cases) of this wine from 2001 this month in Washington DC at a steeply discounted price and found it outstanding when I tasted it. This is an ultra-premium quality wine.

Pale yellow, greenish in the glass; hint of honey, suggesting that some of the grapes were botrytised, wet stone and slate on the nose; elegant, generously textured and full bodied wine with marked acidity on the palate, lasting finish.
A perfect wine for food. We had Scallops in a cream sauce with it.

Here is what Sybille Kuntz says about the Gold-Quadrat: Grapes are selected from the most mature and oldest vineyard sites of the Estate and these old vines, planted in the 1920s, have low yields and small berries with intense flavor profiles. We take great care to pre-pick the steep Riesling vineyards several times. Only the healthy and most mature grapes remain on the vines. The grapes continue to ripen until they reach a natural potential alcohol level of 11-11,5 % by vol . From these very ripe and golden yellow grapes we make the much celebrated: Gold-Quadrat.

Why was the wine on the market at a steep discount? I guess part of the explanation is that the retailer found it difficult to sell the wine to the American customers, as it it a wine from the vintage 2001 already. In my view, the wine has nicely settled down in the bottle during the past years. It has not yet started to age, but has become a ripe, mature, great wine. To compare the wine with women, I would say, the wine is like the beautiful Catherine Zeta-Jones, who just turned forty, well established in her life, married to Michael Douglas, mother, very attractive and sexy. But American customers appear to prefer Sienna Miller (who I saw last weekend in a Show on Broadway in New York--an outstanding performance in "After Miss Julie", a Strindberg classic), she is in her early 20s, stunning look, very sexy, but still searching for her place in life, with great prospects.

Sybille Kuntz is an astonishing winemaker who has been present in the American market with dry Rieslings for a number of years now. She obviously has made an effort. The back label is in English. The front-label has been simplified to make it easier for the American consumer to read it, something that the American consumers always complain about.

Her efforts have been crowned by success. Sybille Kuntz has made a name for herself in the American market. She is on the wine list of many top Restaurants like Keller’s Per Se and Nobu in New York City.

But in my view, and I have been arguing with my wife Annette about this, this is a long and painful uphill battle. It is the delicious noble-sweet Riesling that American consumers associates with German wine. Look at the wine list of the restaurant Spruce in San Francisco. It has an amazing list of German wines, however most of the wines are sweet or noble-sweet.

But I agree with Sybille Kuntz. Germany is producing world class dry wines for food that can compete with any wine from around the world. And Sybille Kuntz is one of those winemakers, who bring out the best in dry German Rieslings. I am looking forward to drinking the 2 cases I bought with my wife and others who appreciate dry German Rieslings that are at world class level.

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