2016 Schlossgut Diel, Riesling Trocken, Eierfels, Nahe Germany.
One of the great values in dry Riesling, the Schlossgut Diel Eierfels Trocken is crisply and mineral driven, but surprisingly complex, fruit dense and wonderfully elegant for a wine in this price class and is just getting better and better in bottle. These 2016s are special to me, as I was there during harvest and was able to see the hugely talented winemaker Caroline Diel for a few short moments while she was knee deep in grapes coming in to the cellars, making my first trip to the Nahe a wondrous experience. The vintage was looking pretty grim until the weather miraculously gave the Nahe and the Rheingau a glorious last month or so a burst of sunshine and got the fruit fully ripe while retaining structural acidity with October, while I was there, being perfect for a dry wine harvest with the Riesling looking incredible on the vine with perfect round golden berries and bright exotic flavors. A little less than a year later, I got to catch up with the 2016 grapes, in wine form and I got to try the magic, with Caroline’s husband, Sylvain showing off a few early releases in San Francisco at one of Terry Theise’s fantastic preview trade shows, where I was thrilled by these stunning Diel offerings, including this Eierfels. I subsequently grabbed a few bottles of this vintage to enjoy with friends and cellar when they were released in 2018 with the Eierfels being a favorite at this stage with its vibrant yellow fruits, stony charm and depth with flinty/smoky character accenting the peachy notes along with brisk nectarine, lime, melon flesh and crystalized ginger and clove spices. This Eierfels displays a steely cool personality throughout, but is not austere and opens up on the medium bodied palate becoming gracefully expressive with air, it is a wine that demands attention and admiration with its regal presence in the glass.
The Schlossgut Diel, one of the great wineries in the world, not just Germany or Europe, is widely known for the amazing dry Rieslings bottlings, especially their set of Grand Cru or Grosses Gewachs from the legendary Pittermannchen, Burgberg and the majestic Goldloch crus, which are some of the finest white wines you’ll ever try. Not only does Caroline have a gift with Riesling, she has also mastered Pinot Noir with her Cuvee C, signature bottling being easily an equal to some of the Cote d’Or’s fabled wines and she has quietly crafted some amazing vintage Sekt(s) that see up to eight years of lees aging, these serious rival Krug Champagne, and or among the greatest sparkling wines I’ve ever tasted, in particular her 2008 Brut Nature is absolutely mind blowing! Back to her Riesling, they are all crafted with ultra precision, with the estate’s vines seeing organic viticulture as much as these steep slopes make possible and they take an impossible amount of backbreaking tending to achieve these results, I personally could hardly believe the dizzying severity of some of the slopes in Goldloch. The fruit, as noted by the winery, is either whole-cluster pressed or, if vintage necessitates, de-stemmed by carefully by hand, with Diel adding it is very important to not break the skins and allow oxidation and or bitter extracts during the juicing. For the Rieslings, Caroline employs her primary fermentation(s) spontaneously in large German oak casks, using stuckfass and doppelstuck mostly, though some see cement tanks. The Eierfels Riesling is a special declassified selection from the GG vineyards of Burgberg and Goldloch and you can certainly tell that this wine has a pedigree, it is a Riesling to stock up on and a great way to discover this winery and region. I also will mention, both the 2017 and 2018s, which I also bought a few of for myself, are exceptional as well, and I hear the 2019 is even better still, so which ever vintage you can find, it will be well worth it to get a hold of.
($34 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive