2015 Weingut Muller-Catoir, Riesling Trocken, Haardt Herrenletten Erste Lage, Pfalz Germany.
Another one of my longtime favorite wineries and wines that I always enjoy during the Holidays, Muller-Catoir, provides and has provided quality drinking pleasures, especially the drier Rieslings from the top Pfalz crus, like this Premier Cru (Erste Lage) Herrenletten Trocken 2015 that is starting to gather its secondary maturity and is welcomingly brightly golden in the glass. Not as plush and dense as I would have expected, but delightfully mineral driven with brisk detailing and spicy in style at this stage, though it did gain a further range of flavors with air and opens up aromatically too, getting to an impressive place after about half an hour. The palate is slightly earthy and austere with a subtle fruit profile including tangerine, white peach, Granny Smith apple, which stays throughout, gooseberry and honeydew melon as well as dried ginger, clove, spearmint and wet river stones. There is a lip smacking saline note that adds to the impression of a crisp dry character which adds to the feeling of lightness on the medium bodied palate in this Riesling, that just falls short of expectations, maybe it wasn’t the best bottle, even though it clearly drank plenty well on the night and was particularly poised with an array of Chinese food that I traditionally enjoy before the Holiday meals. I am a tough nut when it comes to Riesling and I think I’m a bit prone to high expectations, and again I absolutely enjoyed this 2015 Herrenletten, I just wanted a bit more, which could have been more my restless mind with the uncertainty of our world weighing on my thoughts, than any disappointment.
Muller-Catoir, which has been family owned since 1774 with nine generations having tending the vines here in the Pfalz, now run by Philipp David Catoir, the winery is one of the best in the country with many exceptional vineyard sites, especially their holdings in the famous Haardt cru that is set on sandstone solis, gravel and primary rock. Martin Franzen is Philipp David’s cellar master and his wines continue to showcase the great terroirs and purity of place that started under Muller-Catoir’s legendary ex-winemaker Hans-Gunter Schwartz, who brought these wines to international fame throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Muller-Catoir went fully organic in 2009 and has really adopted an intense farming regiment including severe green harvesting and ultra small yields with a manic passion for quality. While mostly highly regarded for their dry Rieslings, especially the lineup of GG’s, like their flagship Muller-Catoir Bürgergarten ‘In Breumel’ Riesling Grosses Gewächs monopole, one of the world’s greatest white wines, they also produce a few rarities that should not be overlooked, these include their fabulous dry Muskateller (Muscat) and their stunning Herzog Rieslaner (not Riesling) Auslese sweet wine. There is really something for everyone here at Muller-Catoir, I in fact always try to have a few bottles tucked away for special occasions and for my Riesling geeky friends, I also love the Muller-Catoir Scheurebe Trocken, a unique wine that while very brisk and dusty dry is very expressive and slightly exotic with tropical essences. This 2015 is in a good spot, but I might recommend the 2017, 2018 and 2019s a bit more enthusiastically. This Holiday season, of this dark 2020 year, is a mixed bag of emotions, it can’t help but effect you, I hope everyone finds some moments of grace and gratitude.
($35 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive