On 112 Year Old Vines and Germany's Backroads:
2014 Durst Portugieser P

Posted by Joe Salamone

Andreas Durst spends most of his time being the go-to photographer of the German wine scene.

However, behind his house is what appears to be a haphazard assortment of barrels.

You shouldn't let the size and the chaotic appearance of the Durst's "winery" mislead you. You'll find some of the most fascinating and heart-felt wines in all of Germany.

Durst has an incredible knack for discovering forgotten vineyards. The vines that he leases in the Northern Pfalz are in a place that flirts with being a viticultural no-man's land. However, it's also very close to the area of the Rheinhessen that Keller has made famous and it shares similar limestone soils that produce wines of staggering elegance.

He focuses on top plots that are often so low yielding to farm it doesn't make economic sense for the owners to work them. For us, his best find, and our favorite wine from his great line-up, is the Portugieser P.

We've tasted Durst's Portugieser P several times over the past couple of vintages and it's never failed to blow us away. We should definitely pause to unpack this a bit, because it really is a shocking wine.

If you were to research Portugieser, the most likely outcome would be wondering "why should I care about this grape?" Typically, it's a workhorse grape of the highest order. The potential for yields is ridiculously high - 120hl/ha or more. As you can imagine, your common Portugieser is nothing to be excited about.

I mention all of this to drive home how mind-blowing Durst's Portugieser P is. Tasting the wine is almost unsettling and forces a bewildering reassessment of the grape.

The Portugieser P comes from a very special vineyard that sits on hard limestone and is home to ungrafted Portugieser vines that were planted in 1906. What results is an insanely complex wine that seems to straddle Piedmont and the Northern Rhône.

It possesses a mysterious depth and soaring and haunting perfume. You get everything from sweet herbs, to spice, to floral tones and a strong undercurrent of minerality. For all of its intensity, there's something marvelously agile and delicate about the wine.

We have a serious fondness for Durst's wines. Across the board, they present themselves with an integrity and clarity that's really compelling. They seem almost without artifice - there's nothing showy in the least.

Durst's are some of the most exciting wines that I've tasted in the past few months. It's rare to taste wines with this level of rigor, interest and soulfulness. There's no doubt that the Portugieser P is a powerful summary of why Durst's wines are must haves.

To order, reply to offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone

Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits