The Mosel in 3-D: Clemens Busch's Greatest Hour?

Posted by CrushWine

The Mosel in 3-D
2010 Clemens Busch
Pick a Flavor of Slate: Red, Gray and Blue!

This is nothing short of an awesome collection. Even the stoic Clemens Busch was heard to mumble almost to himself, "Endlos..."

Which translates to "endless."

Yes, with his 2010ers Clemens Busch has laid down the gauntlet and overturned just about every assumption one could have about this tricky vintage, about dry wine in the Mosel, about minerality and muscle, about density and transparency, about weight and lift.

This collection floored both Joe and me - any and all fans of dry German wines or world class dry white wine should take note.

While all the wines are steals, the "Vom Roten Schiefer," at $26.95, is a joke, and the immaculate Fahrlay truly is one of the grandest wines of the vintage, a blue slate masterpiece.

If you've never heard of Clemens Busch don't worry - although he has been a quiet cult figure in the U.S. for some years and he even entered the VDP in 2007, he remains one of the more enigmatic figures in the Mosel Valley and in German winemaking in general.

In a region where the humidity and extreme terroir (vineyards that look like walls with jutting stone) make nearly everyone rely on some level of pesticide, Clemens Busch is relentless and 100% organic/biodynamic.

In a region where residual sugar and angelic lightness is the calling card, Clemens largely crafts dry Rieslings that are muscular and textural, the Mosel Valley equivalents of Meursault.

Though if Meursault is the Cote d'Or equivalent, then the winemaker equivalent in 2010 would be Jean-Marc Roulot because Clemens Busch's 2010s are freight-train Rieslings, yet their force is their lift. As rich as these wines are, they are detailed and crystalline and pure.

These are incredible wines and today we present - as the picture of the capsules (above) highlights - three flavors: red, gray and blue slate. (The ultimate exercise in wine geekiness: open all three next to each other and smell the slate.)

The "Vom Roten Schiefer" is the red slate number; it is a spicy Riesling with a refreshing briskness, great detail and integration, a sharp medly of citrus and stone fruit. There are few greater values.

The Marienburg GG is from gray slate and shows more force and depth than the "Vom Roten Schiefer." Texturally, we're at a different level than the VRS and if the fruit is more nuanced, it is also finer, more delicate, woven at a higher density with a fairly profound expression of slate. Texture, muscle, mass aside... the lift and clarity here are 100% Mosel.

Snow-covered Marienburg

Finally, the epic Fahrlay, a monument to blue slate, sourced from vines up to 70 years old and showing it. This is a hauntingly beautiful wine, pristine and noble and among the greatest expressions of mineral from the vintage. As chiseled as the wine is, the cut here is polished, perfectly round. This is just profound juice.

Pick a flavor.

Keep in mind that all three wines today are sourced from various parcels of the Marienburg. This is a formidable hillside that sits just across the Mosel from Clemen's house - it's a site he lives with.

It's worth noting that in this difficult vintage, Clemens was able to let his fruit hang longer, and the quality of the fruit was so good that he was able to let the skins and juice mix. All of these factors mean that while others face unruly and in some cases brutal acidities, Clemens Busch did not. He also did not de-acidify.

Which means that these wines will go the long haul. While the "Vom Roten Schiefer" is drinking pretty well now, for the most part these wines are very, very youthful. At the moment they are wound up, buried under a layer of slate, though with a good decant they are fun to follow over a long dinner... to say nothing of day 2.

If you have the room, bury as many as you can in the cellar - they will reward your patience many times over.

Quantities are very limited - to order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Stephen Bitterolf
Wine Director
Crush Wine & Spirits

2010 Clemens Busch