2018 Schlossgut Diel, Riesling Kabinett, Nahe Germany.
The basic Kabinett from Caroline Diel at Schlossgut Diel is one of the best buys you can find, this opulent off dry Riesling is a beautiful and wonderfully drinking wine, full of personality, brightness and mineral detail, making it so easy to love. With ever more charm and style, the Kabinett renaissance over the last decade has brought this category back into the limelight, and Diel’s exceptional version is one of the leaders with their examples being refreshing wines, but with depth and complexity usually reserved for the more elite wines in the collection with this 2018 being a sublime vintage. The ’18 Diel Kabinett, coming in at about 8.5% natural alcohol, feels generous on the palate, which hints at its residual sugar, though with its nice acidity and stony nature it drinks more dry overall and is layered with a range of fleshy stone fruit and crisp citrus, it has a mixed bouquet as well with pretty floral and crushed rock notes that leads to the light to medium bodied palate that is racy and clean at first. As you sip on this fine Riesling you gain a sense of the years density and depth of flavors that include green apple, tangerine, tree picked apricot and bitter melon fruits along with a steely element, light flinty smokiness, lemon zest, rosewater, wet stone, saline and a touch of tropical essences and spice. The lingering slight sweet finish is perfectly delightful and pleasing with any cloying effect and clears the palate with a wave of refreshment, making this Riesling great with an array of food choices and or Summer sipping. The Schlossgut Diel wines are crafted with incredible precision in large oak barrels, plus some concrete and in this case mostly in stainless steel tanks, as I have noted in my prior reviews, with a nod to tradition and focus on purity. This wine came from sites that were mostly quartzite and slate and was gently whole cluster pressed, followed by a spontaneous fermentation and extended maturation on the lees in exclusively stainless steel tanks.
Caroline Diel, who was just named Winemaker of the Year, by Falstaff, in Germany is well deserving of this prestigious honor and the wines at Schlossgut Diel are without question some of the most desirable in Europe, with her exceptional skills on full display in these last half dozen or so vintages, especially her majestic set of Rieslings, as well as her fantastic Pinot Noir, which rivals many top Burgundies, along with her now equally famous Sekt (Sparkling Wines) made from long lees aged Riesling, this luxurious bubbly is in a world of its own! Back to her Rieslings, like this entry level Kabinett, coming from vineyards around the famed Nahe estate that her father Armin Diel put on the map with his pioneering severely dry wines during the nineties and now feature some of Germany’s top Grosses Gewachs, like the incredible Goldloch Grand Cru, which compares well with Chablis’ Les Clos. The Nahe is one off Germany’s smallest regions, with a great diversity of soils fro slate to volcanic and gravels plus a warm climate and steep slopes, especially around Schlossgut Diel, making for a dramatic and picturesque setting for grapevines and a quality area for all types of wines, as witnessed by the stellar producers, like Diel, Donnhoff and others that make the Nahe their home. Caroline Diel, who took over the estate in 2012 after joining the cellar team in 2006 also has enjoyed winemaking stints at some famous places including Domaine de la Romanee-Conti in Burgundy and Château Pichon-Lalande in Bordeaux, as well as prestigious German vineyards such as Robert Weil, Toni Jost and Dr. Deinhard/Von Winning, adding experiences that have helped her develop her own style here. She is a graduate of the famous Geisenheim University in the Rheingau and you can tell she took her studies very seriously, her wines are compelling and impeccably crafted, I am a huge fan, and this one is a great way to start exploring her wines. I can’t wait to travel back to Diel, where I last visited at harvest time in 2016, and I highly recommend putting this estate on your bucket list!
($24 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive