Monday, July 30, 2007

A Kanzemer Beauty

If there is any lingering regret from a brief jaunt into the Rheinland during a wine trip in February 2004, it was our group’s inability to make a detour into the Saar to visit the estate of Johann Peter Reinert. Drinking his 2003 Kanzemer Sonnenberg Riesling Spätlese feinherb this weekend brought thoughts of that missed opportunity right back to the front of my mind. In my experience, Reinert makes some of the most beautifully pure wines of the Saar. From tiny parcels on precipitous hillsides above the Saar and its canal, from villages such as Ayl, Kanzem, Wiltingen, Filzen and Wawern, Johann manages to scrape crystalline beauty from the hard slate earth. Even in a hot vintage like 2003, his wines embrace an icy acidity with delicate, persistent fruit and mineral nuances. The vineyard Sonnenberg – “Sunny Mountain” – tends to give forward, early maturing wines. At four years of age though, this bottle was still a toddler – fresh, vibrant and multi-faceted. Initial aromas of intense stoniness unfurled to give peaches, apple flesh, apple blossoms, orange zest and a light, bright hint of clover honey. Its finish went on and on. It’s impossible to overstate the food-friendliness of his wines. This bottle paired seamlessly with every aspect of a salad of raw beets, goat cheese and arugula, dressed with a splash of red wine vinegar, good olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. If there’s a more recent regret, it’s that there are no more bottles of this in my cellar. I’ll have to sock away some of his wonderful 2005’s… and go back for a visit.

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