2009 Germany: The Precision of the Saar
Lauer: The Incredible Lightness of Riesling
Special Pricing on the Extraordinary 2009ers
After David Schildknecht, we're Lauer's Number 1 fan.
Back in the day, before he became Robert Parker's go-to guy for Germany and Austria, David Schildknecht worked in retail, and Lauer was one of the few estates Schildknecht imported himself, for his own stock of course, but also for a few private customers.
And for good reason: These are some of the most compelling, ethereal Rieslings we've ever tasted - even in the Saar, a valley of delicate, butterfly Riesling (think Zilliken, Egon Müller, Von Othegraven, etc). Here, Lauer sculpts dry-tasting Rieslings of awesome focus and precision.
Last year we reintroduced these wines to the U.S. with the following declaration: "WEINGUT LAUER IS THE MOST EXCITING GERMAN FIND IN MANY YEARS."
A year later, we are only more obsessed with these Rieslings, and with the 2009ers just arriving, all we can say is that these are a "must try" for the German wine enthusiast and anyone inspired by terroir-driven whites. (Seriously: We can't fathom a Chablis fan who wouldn't be slightly dumbstruck by the mineral purity of Lauer.)
While 2009 is a great vintage throughout Germany, if there is a sweet spot, a glorious center to this vintage, it is the Saar. Here, the ripeness is married, perfectly, with a shimmering, cold-stone acidity that provides incredible tension, incredible energy.
But, a short "buyer beware": These are NOT blockbusters, big wines for the sake of being big. Subtlety, elegance, finesse, mineral, flower, a sculptural and quivering acidity - these are the key elements of a Lauer Riesling.
The more I've tasted Lauer's wines, the more I believe that this is Riesling in its brightest, most transparent form - ethereal, near weightless, yet staining. This is Riesling as nimble, finessed, filigreed; Riesling as an uncompromising treatise in mineral and flowers. Lauer's wines are INTENSE, yet compact with detail and precision.
They are also serious values: Both of today's wines come from the Ayler Kupp, one of the top sites in the Saar - steep sites that must be worked completely by hand. In the case of the "Senior" bottling, we're talking 80- to 90-year-old vines (many ungrafted) in one of the Saar's top sites... for just over $20 a bottle.
Those of you who are scared by the "sweet" reputation of German Riesling: Have no concern - these wines brazenly ignore the whole issue. Both have around 13 grams of residual sugar, meaning these wines are "halbtrocken," yet with their brisk, winter-morning acidities they taste closer to dry.
Reading some old articles by David Schildknecht, I found a quote that perfectly captures the heart of the matter: "The soul of Riesling cannot be measured in grams of sugar per liter."
At this point the phrase "traditional winemaking" is a cliché with almost no meaning - so with Lauer and the Saar let me be very specific. At Lauer, the wines find their own balance. Fermentations are allowed to run their course with little intervention, and only natural yeasts are used. The wines are barrel selections (thus the usage of the word "Fass" below) sourced from the famous Ayler Kupp, one of the Saar's great vineyards. Yet instead of labeling them as such and grabbing the easy name-recognition, the Lauers choose to designate the wines according to the pre-1971 subparcels of this famous site - thus the "Unterstenbersch" reference. See below for more on the unique wines.
These are authentic, soulful Rieslings with personality, clarity... a beautiful simplicity in poise and presentation. If you haven't gathered thus far, they are also among my favorite wines from Germany - wines I will have in my cellar in good vintages and bad... but it's nice when they are as grand as the 2009s!
To order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Crush Wine & Spirits
2009 Riesling Fass 6 "Senior"
This is so easy to drink it's scary. A wine of great depth and layers of juicy fruit, it's one of the more bulbuous Lauers, meaning it has a ripe, mouthwatering mid-palate. Still, this has the Lauer acidity, a muscular, vigorous pull on the back end. A really beautiful 2009er that will age with ease over the next 5+ years. The "Senior" is sourced from 80- and 90-year-old vines (some of which are ungrafted) in the western-most section of the Kupp, called the "Neuanlage," meaning "new section." Keep in mind this "new section" was planted around 1900. Fifteen different plots are used, totaling only a scant .6 hectares. This bottling takes the name "Senior" in honor of current winemaker Florian's grandfather, who would always taste all the barrels before bottling and select one for himself, which was then called the "Senior wine." It is a tribute to Florian's grandfather, as well as to the winemaking traditions he passed on to his son Peter, and then down to Florian.
2009 Riesling Fass 12 "Unterstenbersch"
The "Unterstenbersch" is sourced from a pre-1971 parcel in the Ayler Kupp called the Untersten Berg. It is, quite simply, one of the best parcels in the Ayler Kupp, with a near-perfect Southern exposure - it is also, for the money, my favorite Lauer wine. The vines are around 50 years old. This parcel toward the bottom of the hill has heavy deposits of weathered slate, and you can taste it. This is perhaps the more mineral, the more finessed of the two bottlings - this wine has a profound expression of slate. It is incredibly kinky, lacy with thin layers of stone fruit, ripe peach, apricot. Beautiful floral aromatics, incredible energy and lightness. Damn near ethereal yet staining on the palate - go figure. It is just an incredible wine.
2009 Lauers arrive late next week!
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