2018 Weingut Spreitzer, Riesling Spatlese, Winkeler Jesuitengarten, Rheingau Germany.
The gorgeous and lush 2018 Spreitzer “Jesuitengarten” is an absolutely killer wine for this time of year with a fabulous balance between its sweet fruit and natural acidity with a lovely textured mouth feel and heightened aromatics it perfectly matches richer winter and or holiday cuisine, as well as being awesome with spicy Asian dishes, like chili crab. The Jesuitengarten Vineyard, a classic in the Spreitzer collection of Grand Crus in the village of Oestrich, in view of the winery itself is set on a combination of loam, loess, shell-limestone, gravelly and sandy soils about 100 meters above the widest point of the Rhein River that gives this area a warm and an almost lake effect climate that allows deep flavors to develop and sugars to concentrate while still retaining complexity and energy in the wines, as this stellar vintage shows. The calcerous underpinnings here also help make for elegant wines with stony/mineral elements adding to the classic density of this Jesuitengarten Spatlese and helps define its terroir driven flavor profile that unfolds with fresh picked apricot, nectarine and lemon curd, crystalized ginger, tropical notes, with hints of pineapple and rainforest flowers, saline infused wet rock, faint honeycomb and verbena. This fleshy and round lightly golden wine gets more creamy with air, but stays refined and taut to not feel cloying or heavy while being regal and luxurious, this is what Spatlese should be, it is not a for sweet tooth and sweet treats, it is for a hearty meal and either the mentioned spicy or savory foods.
It’s widely known now, the Spreitzer’s winery, which was originally founded back in 1641, is likely the oldest private family owned estate in the Rheingau, with a long history of winemaking in the region. Now brothers Andreas and Bernd Spreitzer run this award winning property, they have brought international fame to this old winery since taking over from their father Josef Spreitzer when he retired in 1997 and have really upped their game in recent years with 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018s that seemed to get better with each release and intriguingly I hear their 2019s are the best yet. I was there at Spreitzer in 2016 and saw first hand their majestic collection of Grand Cru (Grossen Lagen) sites around the Oestrich-Winkel area as well as visited their historic cellars and was impressed by the attention to detail and care Andreas and Bernd put into each wine and the diversity of soils, micro-climates and elevations that play(s) such a big part in their offerings character and depth. In the cellar, everything is done with a nod to tradition, but with exceptional precision and clarity of focus with a mix of ancient German oak stuckfass and stainless steel tanks with the Spreitzer Kabinett and Spatlese, like this Jesuitengarten seeing only the stainless steel for fermentation and aging to preserve freshness, transparency and purity. In modern times they have put out more dry wines, as most of Germany has also done, but still do an outstanding selection of fruity Rieslings with this Spatlese being one of my favorites, and it looks set to age well too, don’t be afraid of residual sugar, embrace these wines and match them up with the right pairings for hedonistic rewards!
($35 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive