It all worked out very nicely.
I was finalizing an appointment with Philipp Wittmann for an upcoming trip to Germany, thinking to myself how much I like the wines, how impressive the estate is (pictures/explanations here) how daunting their collection of vineyards is...
...and within 24 hours of all this I got an email from the importer featuring the top bottling of Wittmann from an awesome vintage at a price that none of you should pass up.
To those in the know, the word "Morstein" is enough to raise the little hairs on the back of the neck, to send a little charge of giddy energy through the spine. This is one of the greatest vineyards in Germany.
Klaus-Peter Keller has brought the site, its grandiosity, back into a sharp focus - back into the winegeek's consciousness. But Wittmann has to be considered the torchbearer of this fabled vineyard.
Few sites (maybe no site?) in Germany has the teeth this wine has - the sharpness. Especially from Wittmann, who tends to style his Rieslings with all the force of a jackhammer, this wine is ferocious, it's brutal.
In other words, it's AWESOME.
It's easy to speak of minerality, and minerality this wine has - that bright lime zest, limestone minerality - but the teeth of this wine seems to somehow be the quality of the acidity, its depth and cut, its force and delineation. Something like Niagara Falls focused on an area 2 x 2 inches.
In the ripe 2009 vintage, this wine has amplitude, it as a bit of meat to it, an almost chewy concentration of apricot, glazed pear, apple. There is tremendous amount of detail and nuance here; it's what wine folk would call "multifaceted."
Yet, in the 2+ years since I last tasted it, actually at the estate, it has become, if anything, more rigorous, more defined. It takes a while for the structure of Morstein to reveal itself sometimes, the Loch Ness Monster emerging out of something very, very deep indeed.
I've been enjoying a bottle over the last two days and right now it's just in a beautiful place - still a bit wily and young which I love - though given that this wine is a bit of a fortress, expect it to stay strong for another 10 years or so.
It's worth noting that the Wittmann estate has a monster reputation in Germany and a collection of vineyards that is basically unrivaled in the Rheinhessen, though obviously Klaus-Peter Keller is doing pretty well with his lot. In the vineyards Wittmann works organically - hell at this point they're probably biodynamic, who knows - and in the cellars they have an awesome collection of old barrels that they use. Philipp is a very thoughtful winemaker and he's one of Germany's best.
This estate deserves so much more attention in the U.S. and I'm pretty sure it'll start getting its due soon enough. For those in the know, stock up. For those who just love the greatest dry Rieslings from Germany, why not get to know Wittmann from the top?
One small parcel - give us your maximum order and we'll do our best. To order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Crush Wine & Spirits
Mr. David Schildknecht for the Wine Advocate: "Wittmann’s 2009 Westhofener Morstein Riesling Grosses Gewachs is impeccably balanced, evincing a sense of energetic swing and refreshment rather than weightiness or alcohol, and with a seamless sense of polish that doesn’t preclude invigoration or interactive exchange of chalk, stone, iodine, nut oils, citrus, pit fruits, and their pits. No doubt Wittmann is correct in viewing this wine’s long stay on its fine lees as having ultimately conduced to greater clarity and complexity as well as textural allure, and it is free of the sense of austerity I often associate chez Wittmann with this site as well as with Kirchspiel. Plan to follow this for at least 6-8 years."