2018 Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Scheurebe Spatlese, Nahe Germany.
The beautifully expressive Kruger-Rumpf Scheurebe comes completely from Dautenpflänzer, a Grand Cru – VDP Grosse Lage, with most vines here being old parcels planted in the 1950s and set on very favorable quarzite soils. Georg Rumpf is one of Germany’s Scheurebe maestros and this 2018 shows this talent to near perfection, capturing the very best in this varietal’s natural character and the vineyard’s terroir quality, this is a vintage, like the 2016, which was slightly more exotic, that delivers gorgeous tropical and concentration with fairly high residual sugars, but with a very balanced presence, this white is wildly easy to drink and is refreshing and with classic Scheurebe (phenolic) tanginess cutting into the sweetness. Fermented and lees aged in only stainless steel to keep exacting purity and transparency, allowing this grape to show itself in its truest style, its rich and dense on the palate, but still delightful and lifted with just 8.5% natural alcohol making it fabulous as a expressive sipper and fantastic with an array of cuisine options, it is great with either briny and or spicy dishes, again it is fruity though not overtly sweet. The Dautenpfanzer is one of the core vineyards in Kruger-Rumpf’s lineup offering up Rieslings that are heavenly from their frivolous and smile inducing Kabinett to a chiseled and powerfully dry and intense GG, it also provide the Rumpf’s with the grapes for this Scheurebe, a plot I visited in 2016 at harvest time and I sampled Scheurebe directly from the vines, which were bursting with passionfruit and pineapple flavors! The 2018 echos that with layers of peach and grapefruit adding to that tropical fruit with a sunny and lush medium bodied palate along with a bite of spearmint, green tea spices, mineral notes and a saline infused wet stone element, all the while giving delicate jasmine and orange blossom floral bouquet and the lingering sweetness feeling well managed to not be too honeyed or cloying. Stefan Rumpf started making his own wines in 1984, even though the Weingut dates back to the 1790’s, as most of its history was a grower that sent its grapes to the local co-op. Kruger-Rumpf, since the 90’s have been known for exceptional quality, but gained little notice until Terry Theise discovered them and began bringing the wines to America. Stephan is a humble personality and his focus on quality and desire to express the distinctive terroirs in the family’s prestigious sites led them to this new era, where his sons are continuing to raise this label’s profile. Georg and Philipp have brought renewed energy and technical skill, with both brothers graduating from Germany’s illustrious Geisenheim University with Georg the viticulture and oenology skills, while Philipp focusing on wine economics, marketing and human resources, making the Rumpf’s a solid team. This Scheurebe holds its must weight in a very svelte way and while vinous its not heavy, it is a wine that has loads of personality, but not overly loud in the mouth, this is a tasty vintage.
Shuerebe, a very aromatic grape, also known as Samling 88 (Austria), was a seed crossing of Riesling and a little known varietal called Bukettrbe back in 1916 by Doctor Georg Sheu, hence the name, which became official as tribute to its creator. I should state my thanks for those details to Anne Krebiehl MW who presented these facts in her book “The Wines of Germany” also noting that for many years, it was thought Scheurebe was a crossing of Riesling and Silvaner, but recent studies has proved otherwise. Scheurebe grows best in Calcareous soils, with Muller-Catoir’s Pfalz version regarded as maybe the greatest expression of this grape, in particular their trocken single cru example. That said, the Rumpf’s have always made their Scheurebe sing, and this 2018 is wonderfully delicious. One of my favorite wineries, The Kruger-Rumpf estate is located in Münster-Sarmsheim, a small village on the western side of the Nahe River, close to Bingen and across the Rhein from Rudesheim, in the most northern section of the Nahe region. This village is where Nahe meets the Rhein River, it is the warmest area of this region, it’s a place that is geographically unique and complex with a combination of many soils and steep vineyard sites, and this area represents the intersection of four major German wine regions, the Nahe, the Rheingau, with the Mittelrhein to the north, and the Rheinhessen to the east. The majority of Kruger-Rumpf’s holdings, according to Terry Theise, the famous German wine guru and importer, are located on the western side of the Nahe, though they also own Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) parcels directly across the Nahe River in Binger Scharlachberg, which is part of the Rheinhessen. Theise also notes that Kuger-Rumpf’s vineyards are farmed sustainably, with Georg focusing on organic practices including natural treatments, plus bees are kept nearby to facilitate pollination and aid in overall bio-diversity. Periodically sheep are allowed to roam the vines helping to control underbrush in these very steep and hard to til sites. All vineyards in the Rumpf holdings are hand harvested to ensure that only optimally ripe grapes and healthy clusters are selected. Fermentations at Kruger-Rumpf almost always occur spontaneously with ambient yeasts for the dry and off dry wines, the wines stay on their gross lees well into spring, with some getting stuckfass, like the GG’s and others like the Kabinett(s) and Spatlese seeing mostly stainless. All the wines at this estate are generous and sensual offering stellar pleasure in each level, they are awesome values too, be sure to check these 2018s out, especially their Abtei Erste Gewachs Trocken and this sexy, lightly golden Scheurebe. I cannot wait for the chance to re-visit this winery when I travel back to Germany, while slightly off the beaten path the old cellars are pretty easy to explore from Rudesheim, which is my usual base when I tour the wine region, I highly recommend a stop here and of course all of the wines.
($22 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive