Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tasting with Rita Busch at Weingut Clemens Busch in the Mosel Valley, Germany

Picture: Annette Schiller, Clemens Busch and Rita Busch at Weingut Clemens Busch during the 2013 German Wine and Culture by ombiasy PR and WineTours

The 2013 German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy PR and WineTours, organized and headed by Annette Schiller, included a visit of Weingut Clemens Busch in the Mosel Valley.

Most pictures in this posting were taken by Katharina Schiller. I had to drop out because of a conflict with the VDP Grosses Gewaechs pre-release tasting in Wiesbaden.

I am quite familiar with the wines of Clemens Busch. I spent several days with Clemens Busch earlier in the year in Seattle (4th International Riesling Symposium) and visited his winery in Pünderich in the Mosel Valley at previous occasions.

Weingut Clemens Busch

Weingut Clemens Busch is one of the top producers in Germany. And not only that. In a region where the humidity and extremely steep vineyards make most wine makers to rely on some level of pesticide, Clemens Busch is 100% organic/biodynamic. And: In a region where noticeable residual sugar in the finished wine and low alcohol is the calling card, Clemens Busch’s focus is on dry premium Rieslings that can compete with the best dry whites in the world. But Clemens Busch also produces off-dry wines as well as powerfully complex, nobly sweet wines.

Picture: In Seattle, Washington State, during the 4th Riesling Rendezvous (see: The German Winemakers at the 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, USA) Clemens Busch from Weingut Clemens Busch in Germany, Christian G.E. Schiller and Hermann Wiemer, founder of Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyards in the Finger Lakes Region in New York State. For Hermann J. Wiemer, see: German Winemakers in the World: Hermann J. Wiemer, Finger Lakes, USA

Weingut Clemens Busch is in Pünderich in the Mosel Valley, rather far down stream. The Busch family lives near the banks of the Mosel in a restored half- timbered house built in 1663. Because flooding can occur here, the vaulted cellar, built in the 1970s, lies nearby, on higher ground, at Clemens’s parents’ home.

 Picture: Weingut Clemens Busch in Pünderich in the Mosel Valley and Tasting Room

The business has been run by Rita and Clemens Busch since 1986, with son Florian joining the team in 2008. Clemens is the fifth generation winemaker at this estate.

Vineyard area: 10 hectares
Annual production: 55,000 bottles

The winery is since 2007 member of the VDP (Association of German VDP).

Pictures: Annette Schiller and Clemens Busch


Weingut Clemens Busch is considered by many to be the master interpreter of the natural winemaking approach in Germany. Clemens Busch began using organic practices in 1984 and more recently moved towards biodynamic. Winemaking is practiced in accordance with the guidelines of the ECOVIN association.

Pündericher Marienburg

Most of the area under vines is situated in the Pündericher Marienburg vineyard which covers almost the entire hillside on the opposite side of the river from the village of Pünderich.

Pictures: The Pündericher Marienburg

Until the wine law of 1971, the Pündericher Marienburg consisted of several small plots and not without good reason, because the wines grown in the different parts of today’s Marienburg vineyard are still very different. It is not only the different slate soils but also the special microclimates that play an important role here. To emphasize the specific differences that exist within the Pündericher Marienburg, the corresponding wines of Clemens Busch still bear the names of the old plots: Fahrlay and Fahrlay-Terrassen, Falkenlay and Raffes, as well as Rothenpfad and Felsterrasse.

Fahrlay and Fahrlay-Terrassen, directly across the river from the Busch’s house, consist mainly of blue slate, producing a Riesling with a particularly intensive mineral flavor and slightly salty notes in the finish.

Falkenlay, including the old-vine section called Raffes, is made up of grey slate, producing particularly creamy, fruit-driven Rieslings.

Wine Cellar

In the cellar, it is obvious that Clemens Busch does without high technology. After crushing, the grapes undergo skin contact and ferment spontaneously in both stainless steel and in oak Fuder (wooden casks of 1000 liters), sometimes into the next year’s harvest. In addition to lees contact, Clemens Busch likes to do lees stirring to increase the wines’ fruitiness and richness.

As an exception, special yeast is used for noble-sweet wines where the sugar levels are sometimes so high that wild yeasts would not even begin to work. The wine ages in the oak fuder.


The Weingut Clemens Busch wines are widely available in the US. As far as I know, Louis/Dressner is the main American importer. I also found them on the website of David Bowler Wine in New York and of German Fine Wine, which targets the Asian market.

Pictures: Tasting with Rita Busch


Louis/Dressner: We have no brands. We are not looking for them. We do have a group of often fanatical growers who are doing their best to make wines that are original because they are honestly crafted. These might seem old-fashioned, but in the present context it is almost revolutionary....

Along with Immich-Betterieberg, Koehler-Ruprecht and Knebel, Clemens Busch is one of the 4 German producers in the Louis/Dressner Portfolio.

David Bowler Wine

David Bowler Wine: Is a New York based importer and distributor focusing on naturally made, small batch wines from around the world. Working with importers and directly with wineries, it is our mission to present wines of personality and character, wines that reflect something about where they are made and who made them.

They currently have 11 different wines in their portfolio, ranging from estate wines to super noble-sweet wines, including the following:

Riesling Kabinett Marienburg 2011 :‘The Busch 2011 Pundericher Marienburg Riesling Kabinett originates, as usual, in a windy, high-altitude portion of this Einzellage that permits long hang-time without high must weight or risk of botrytis, in this instance, until the end of October, though as Busch readily points out, it had become “almost too ripe by then for a classic Kabinett.” Fresh white peach and fig offer enticing aromas and a succulent palate impression. This is expansive and caressing yet (at 9% alcohol) retains a delightful sense of levity, and lime and grapefruit lend a tingling, lip-smacking sense of refreshment while warding-off any sense of excess sweetness. While not enormously complex – for now, anyway – it’s quite irresistible, and ought to be worth following for at least the better part of a decade. 90 Points” David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate #206, April, 2013

Pictures: Tasting with Rita Busch

Riesling Trocken 2011: “A good winemaker doesn’t make wine, he merely accompanies it during its creation. The fundamentals of this are always to be found in the vineyard. The cellar contains the art of intervening as little as possible and mainting a healthy environment for the natural processes.” -Clemens Busch. Clemens and his wife Rita are at the cutting edge of biodynamic agriculture and minimal-intervention winemaking in the Mosel. 11%, naturally dry fermented.

Riesling vom roten Schiefer 2011: Another village wine from parcels planted on red slate. It is Half-trocken, as Clemens rarely gets it to ferment dry. Fermentations stop at 11g or 14g but sometimes can go as high as 20g in residual sugars.

German Fine Wine

German Fine Wine: Was founded in the »Hometown of Riesling« in Germany to promote Fine Riesling wines from top German wineries internationally and in particular in China.

They have a dozen or so wines in the Weingut Clemens Busch wines in their portfolio, including the following:

2009 Riesling "vom roten Schiefer": Fresh and fruit-driven typical Mosel Riesling with intense minerality grown on red slate terraces

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller, Annette Schiller and Clemens Busch at Weingut Clemens Busch in Pünderich at a Previous Visit

With Wine Maker Clemens Busch in Puenderich at his Winery in the Mosel Valley, Germany

2008 Pündericher Marienburg Riesling Spätlese: Juicy and harmonious wine with well-balanced sweetness, aromas of candied fuits and honey combined with a long-lasting finish

2007 Pündericher Marienburg Riesling "falkenlay": Fine and round Mosel Riesling of creamy softness and intense minerality grown on 'first growth' grey slate terroir

2006 Pündericher Marienburg Riesling Auslese "fahrlay": Sweet, mineral and fruity special selection wine with aromas of candied stone fruits and a good balance of acidity well integrated into its creamy texture

2009 Pündericher Marienburg Riesling Grosses Gewächs: Round, mineral and fruit driven premium 'first growth' wine with delicate aromas of stone fruit and sweet citrus combined with a long finish

2006 Pündericher Marienburg Riesling Beerenauslese: First class noble rot sweet wine with good concentration, aromas of ripe apricots and candied peach and a juicy, complex and long-lasting finish

schiller-wine: Related Postings (German Wine and Culture Tour 2013 by ombiasy PR and WineTours):

Ombiasy Wine Tours: Wine and Culture Tour to Germany Coming up in August 2013

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

Weingut Pawis in the Saale Unstrut Region - A Profile, Germany

Impromptu Winetasting with Alexander Jung, Weingut Jakob Jung, Erbach, Rheingau, Germany

A Tasting at Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn, Rheingau, with Angela and Peter Jakob Kühn, Germany

Tasting with Rita Busch at Weingut Clemens Busch in the Mosel Valley, Germany 

Ernst Loosen Presented his Wines at Weingut Dr. Loosen, Bernkastel-Kues, Mosel Valley, Germany

An Afternoon with Riesling Star Winemaker Helmut Doennhoff at Weingut Doennhoff in Oberhausen in the Nahe Valley, Germany

The World Meets at Weingut Weegmueller, Pfalz, Germany

Tasting with Johannes and Christoph Thoerle, Weingut Thoerle in Saulheim, Rheinhessen, Germany

Impressions from the Mainz Wine Market 2013, Germany 

schiller-wine: Related Postings (Weingut Clemens Busch)

The German Winemakers at the 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, USA

Germany’s Best Winemakers (5 Stars) - Eichelmann WeinGuide 2013

With Wine Maker Clemens Busch in Puenderich at his Winery in the Mosel Valley, Germany

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