Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ruwer Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Spätlese, Karthäuserhof 2004

I was shocked to see something from Karthäuserhof during a recent foray into one of the Philadelphia area’s better PLCB specialty stores. I picked up a bottle based on three strong recommending factors:

  • multiple props from Lyle.
  • a solid rear label. Rudi Wiest should be on everyone’s short list of most reliable importers of German wine.
  • The VDP. Karthäuserhof is a member of the Verband Deutscher Prädikats, a peer-based group consisting of many of Germany’s top producers.

I kept my fingers crossed, particularly given the $30 price tag and the non-current vintage, that it had survived Pennsylvania’s notoriously poor handling practices.

It hadn’t just survived. It rocked. Brilliant hues in the glass, more silver than gold, led to a concentrated nose of lime blossoms and slate. Penetrating elements of lime zest and lime oil followed on the palate, along with slight tropical nuances of papaya and passion fruit. It was the combination of crystalline minerality and impeccable balance that made the wine so compelling in its overall impact. Minerality was crystalline not just in flavor but in feel; it was as if I could feel the facets, the jagged edges, of each mineral element in the wine’s texture. Persistent and just beautiful. At once delicate and concentrated, its sweetness was in perfect balance with acidity and fruit as well. It made for a great pairing with the sushi and sashimi at Zento, even though I’d selected it for the evening in anticipation of some of the sweeter, richer and more modern dishes on the menu.

I’ll be headed back for the remaining bottles, as I’d love to drink another soon and sock a couple away for future exploration. $30. 8.5% alcohol. Natural cork. Importer: Rudi Wiest, Cellars International, San Marcos, CA.


Lyle Fass said...

The Riesling mineral-water of the Ruwer. One of my top five producers. Gotta love the "label."

David McDuff said...

The label is definitely a minimalist's creation. A bit more colorful, but not unlike Vatan's Sancerre packaging. Nothing but a necklace on a bare naked bottle.

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