2016 Weingut Leitz, Riesling Kabinett, Rüdesheimer Berg Kaisersteinfels, Terrassen, Grosse Lage, Rheingau Germany.
What a thrilling wine, don’t let that word Kabinett on the label fool you, this drinks drier than you’d think, this is pure full on Grand Cru Riesling here from one of Germany’s great vineyard sites, Rudesheimer Berg Kaisersteinfels on the steep slatey slopes, in the historic Terrassen (terraced plots), above the Rhein and one that has a deep personal meaning to mean, both that I’ve been there a few times and that I was there for this 2016 harvest. This Leitz Grosses Lage drinks wonderfully intense, it can remind a bit of Condrieu (white flowers) meets Chablis (steely classic stoniness) with a powerful acid backbone, extract and mineral infusion, while still being openly generous, pretty and off dry hedonistic in profile without being overtly sweet, this wine leaves no doubt that Kabinett level maybe the greatest over all wines of the vintage in 2016, and Johannes Leitz’s team nailed this one! At 9.5%, this lightly floral and aromatic Kaisersteinfels Kabinett drinks within a whisper of the GG version, and will certainly age fantastic, this is a wine to get by the case or more, it has this vineyard’s magic and wow factor with brilliant details and flows with flinty spice, yellow orchard fruits, lime and a touch of creamy textural sensuality. Obviously Leitz knew all along this was a special and spectacular wine with pedigree and seductive charisma, it was bottled in GG fashion with heavy glass and under cork, a sly way of saying yes this is a Kabinett, but trust us you’ll be blown away with what’s in here, and I without a doubt was thrilled and impressed. It may just be the deal of the vintage with it’s layers of green apple, lime, kiwi, wild peach, apricot and tangerine fruits, crunchy stones, wet shale, kumquat sorbet, rosewater, liquid quartz and crystalized ginger spice. This mouth filling and razor sharply focused Riesling has the vitality and vigor that impresses red wine drinkers, but allows marvelous flexibility in cuisine options, it will perform with classic holiday fare, though will excel with Asian fusion dishes too, and I’d be in heaven with this and just a plate of speck (smoked/cured ham) in simplistic bliss. This Leitz Kaisersteinfels Kabinett joins Selbach-Oster’s Ur-Alte Reben Zeltinger Feinherb, Spreitzer’s Alte Reben Feinherb and Kruger-Rumpf’s Abtei Erste Lage Trocken as my favorite German Riesling 2016 deals! These are stunningly great wines all under $30, especially this one, do not miss! The 2015 Leitz GG’s Schlossberg and Kaisersteinfels were two of my wines of year last year, and this Kaisersteinfels Kabinett is not far off, this is exceptional stuff that has a multi decade life ahead of it, though you won’t be amiss to drink it anytime.
($22-25 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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