AJ Adam’s great-great-great-great Grandfather (or maybe just great-great-great?) was a shoemaker, responsible for the combat boots of the mounted soldiers of Wilhelm the Great. Thus we have what has to be one of the most bizarre crests you’ll ever see on a bottle of wine.
A tribute to army boots stamped into the cork and capsule of a bottle of Riesling? Suuuuure! A.J. Adam seems to do whatever the hell he wants, even though he’s young, new to the scene, largely unknown and obsessed with a vineyard even more obscure than he is.
It takes some cojones to yank a site out of anonymity and demand from it greatness. But that’s what he’s doing and greatness is – undeniably - what he’s getting.
Adam’s 2005s were good; the 2006s a bit too gooey for me but undeniably Baroque and beautiful. The 2007s made my head explode and it took all the Crush staff and all the King’s men to put it back together again. I knew I had to meet this guy.
And so it was that I found myself in April on A.J.’s back porch in Dhron, slowly going through his 2008 lineup. While the 08 vintage in Germany is a purist’s delight, the wines (especially from the Mosel) can be bracing – a bit brutal even. A.J. somehow spun this tricky vintage into a wicked, nasty-awesome masterpiece. His 2008s have a maniacal electricity to them, a live-wire of lime and citrus that just rips through their core. They are ruthless, forceful, stern as a Catholic school nun and, for lack of anything smarter to say, just exquisitely beautiful.
While the Spätlese and even the Auslese are superb in 08, I’m a Kabinett kind of guy. I buy the whole “less is more” way of interacting with the world. The botrytis-inflected, fleshy opera singer BAs and TBAs (even their rot is called “noble”) get all the attention – and the 100-point accolades. For me, though, perfection shouldn’t overwhelm the senses, it should bring us to our senses. For me, the 2008 Adam Kabinett is about as close to this idea of perfection as it gets. It smells like spring water and rocks with an extra helping of rocks - a microscopic lightning storm of fruit, mineral and acidity.
Someone go tell Robert Parker: I hereby nominate Adam’s 2008 Dhroner Hofberg Kabinett as the first 100-point Kabinett.