2016 Weingut Leitz, Riesling Kabinett, Rüdesheimer Klosterlay, Rheingau Germany.
The Klosterlay Kabinett is one of the mainstays of Leitz’s outstanding collection of Rieslings and a true classic with it’s mix of slate, loess and loam soils giving this beauty its defining character. Johannes Leitz loves this site, believing Klosterlay is perfect for touch of residual sugar or a semi dry fruity wine that still has the mineral intensity from the slate, “Lay” which is a very old word meaning slate and “Kloster” is German for Abbey, the vines sits beneath the Benedictine Abbey of St. Hildegard, hence the name. This vineyard sits above the eastern edge of Rudesheim, it is the spot where the Rüdesheimer Berg begins to gently undulate or flatten out as it goes toward the village of Geisenheim where the Rhein starts to widen out, making it a singular micro climate. This vintage has a special place in my heart as I was here in Rudesheim at harvest time and was able to watch the grapes come into Leitz’s winery, including this Klosterlay, it is also a vineyard that I made a point of walking through on my fist visit to the Rheingau in 2009!
The 2016 vintage, which the locals here consider a miracle year that looked like a disaster until September brought an amazing run of sunny days to ripen the grapes after a dismal cool and wet early Summer and the sunshine and warm of September shows through here with Leitz’s Klosterlay Kabinett showing brilliantly in the glass. In all honesty, this is one of the wines that turned me on the German wines in a big way for pure drinking pleasure, it can be enjoyed with any food or any occasion and its hint at sweetness really refreshes the palate. Bright apple, apricot, peach and racy tangerine fruits lead the way on this light to medium bodied wine with touches of smoky shale, rosewater, lime blossom, mineral spice, saline and chamomile. This vintage with a few years of age is drinking awesome and is fabulous with spicy foods, especially Thai and curries, and it still has plenty to offer for a bit of time yet. You can see it starting to evolve and giving its potential complexity and is losing some of the youthful sweetness, drink this charmer over the next 5 to 7 years.
($24 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive