Sweet (Friday) Steal: BA at a Shocking Price

Posted by CrushWine

2003 Bert Simon Serrig Herrenberg BA
The Noble Art of the BA at an Extraordinary Price
Full 750ml Bottles for as Low as $38.50!

Producing a BA involves risk, patience and painstaking selection. They are among the greatest expressions of sweet wines in the world and they are priced accordingly...

...but not for today's sweet Friday Steal!

The BA is one of the highest art forms in German winemaking.

These are the rare German dessert wines, every bit the equal of the great Sauternes. Most German wine aficionados (unsurprisingly!) will tell you that the best German "stickies" present more than what a Sauternes can offer, with more elegance, finesse, minerality and acidity along with that magical, noble rot-inflected array of mango, apricot and honey. (See sidebar for more on the BA and noble rot.)

For most of us, however, it's likely a moot point because these are also among the most expensive wines Germany has to offer: New releases of the top BAs start around $100 a half-bottle, going up dramatically from there.

Today, however, we present a Friday Steal that has to be the greatest value we've ever seen in a grand German dessert wine. This BA will make any holiday gatherings (or, at this price, just about any night on the couch) so much sweeter: Bert Simon's 2003 Serrig Herrenberg BA for $42.95 - down to $38.50 on the 4-pack purchase.

Bert Simon has been making top Riesling from some of the greatest terroirs in the Saar Valley for a long time; some of you may remember a stunning 1989 Auslese Gold Capsule we offered a few years ago. In riper vintages, such as 1989 and 2003, these wines offer a thrilling combination of deep fruit with exhilarating finesse - more on this below.

However, the deal here is so extreme that we feel compelled to explain the situation. While Bert Simon has made some great wines in the Saar for a long time, the steep slate vineyards are not easy to work (see picture of the Herrenberg below, in winter) and with Bert not getting any younger and his children not interested in winemaking, he sold the estate a few years back with one important caveat: Bert got to keep all his wines in the cellar! Today's offer represents just a small part of the cellar he is patiently selling off, largely, as Rudi tells us, to be able to give his grandchildren some spending money.

This small parcel of wines represents the riches of the Saar, available for a song.

2003 was a very warm year and it produced, throughout Europe, wines of uncommon richness and power. Rudi strongly believes these wines will be among the greatest dessert wines Germany has produced, with outrageous ripeness levels and incredible depth of concentration.

Purists will appreciate this BA because the village of Serrig is, in fact, far up in the Saar Valley. It is one of the region's coldest micro-climates, so while many stickies from this vintage can overwhelm with their sheer force, Simon's great terroirs enjoyed the cooler evenings and the wine has more definition and finesse because of these conditions.

There is no reason this bottle shouldn't cost twice what we're offering it for today. To make the deal even sweeter, consider that while this wine will be drinking beautifully all winter long, it's also a wine that will easily develop and improve for the next 50 years or longer. (Stock up if you have the room because you're unlikely to see pricing like this again anytime soon.)

Also keep in mind that once the bottle is opened, it's likely to improve for up to a week, so no need to guzzle it down in one sitting - just keep it closed in the fridge.

This pricing is good on one parcel only, only recently removed from the cellar of Bert Simon and now en route to New York. Quantities are very limited, so this is a Friday Steal to jump on for a sweet holiday.Please give us your maximum order and we will allocate accordingly; wines will arrive the first week of December. To order, email us offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Stephen Bitterolf
Joe Salamone
Wine Buyers
Crush Wine & Spirits

2003 Bert Simon Serrig Herrenberg Riesling Beerenauslese

Wine arrives the first week of December
Net / No further discounts

Yes, even their Rot is Noble!

Beerenauslese, better known as "BA", is where German wine enters into its ripest, most profound, longest lived and most expensive dimensions. In term of ripeness and sheer mind-boggling capabilities, only the monumental Trockenbeerenauslese (aka TBA) is riper, rarer and (gulp), more expensive.

Though its production has been increasing, BA is still very rare, the result of a major roll-of-the-dice with nature: Allow the grapes to hang on the vine for an exceptionally long time. If everything goes as planned, the grapes will be infected with the noble rot. If things take a swing for the worse, you lose the crop entirely. It's a painful reality, but it also explains the rarity and the pricing for the wines.

If everything goes well, a healthy bunch of grapes is harvested and this begins the arduous selection process. In fact the selection is so tedious that often it’s done on a grape-by-grape basis. This is where the name comes from: "Beeren" means berries in German; "auslese" means selective harvest. A BA is likely to have a high percentage of grapes affected by "noble rot," aka botrytis, pictured below. Botrytis essentially dehydrates the grapes - as the water is removed from the grape all that is left is the super-concentrated juice, which is then pressed to make the wines.

For a BA to be called a BA it must be harvested at extreme ripeness, measured by the amount of sugar in the grape's juice. In Germany, this measurement of sugar is called an "Oechsle." The minimum ripeness level for a BA varies from region to region in Germany - obviously the cooler regions, like the Saar Valley, can't obtain the high levels of ripeness achieved in the southern parts of Germany. This however, gives the BAs of the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer their exciting finesse - a profound depth of fruit matched to lighter, more elegant frameworks.

All of the care taken in BA production translates into one of the world’s greatest sweet wines. It’s difficult to find a wine that combines depth and agility to the same degree.