2018 Weingut Leitz, Riesling Spatlese, Rüdesheimer Magdalenenkreuz, Rheingau Germany.
The Leitz Magdalenenkreuz Spatlese, a happy place wine for me, is always expressive and pure, the name of this vineyard, translates to “the cross of Mary Magdalene,” named after a red sandstone cross that can be found amongst the vines here. Johannes Leitz nicknamed this wine his “Maggie” and it has always been a traditional favorite of his and mine and this beautiful 2018 was perfect with the array of Christmas dishes with its luscious off dry palate and racy acidity keeping things fine tuned with its natural sweetness and richness. This vintage is a bit restrained with subtle tropical and floral notes, with just a touch of pineapple and white flowers to go with the crisp apple, apricot, quince and juicy tangerine fruit that is well backed up by mineral tones, wet stones, tea spices, crystallized ginger, a hint of honey and candied lemon peel. Easy, refreshing and drier than expected in in the glass this pale golden Spatlese with just about 7.5% natural alcohol feels nicely textural, but is still light on its feet, playing well with food and just the right amount of joyous cheer. Rüdesheim is one of my special places and I love all of these Leitz wines, not just their signature GG’s, which are monumental dry Rieslings, especially the Schlossberg Grand Cru, with Leitz’s Dragon Stone Feinherb, Kabinett and this Spatlese being exceptional values.

The Rüdesheimer Magdalenenkreuz vineyard, a highly regarded VDP site, is located east of the village of Rüdesheim and is influenced by the wider part of the Rhein and the soils here are comprised of mainly sandy loam, loess, a touch of clay and with much less slate than down Rhein, in the Rüdesheimer Berg crus.The climate here makes for fatter less edgy hedonistic wines, I mean, as mentioned before in my reviews, it is better suited to producing richer Rieslings, that has more mouth feel and more fruity presence, and it is an ideal site, as Leitz notes, for a riper expression of Riesling that is perfect for Spatlese. To highlight the terroir and to express transparency, this Rüdesheimer Magdalenenkreuz is precision made with 100% stainless steel and it is wine of ultra clarity that is always rewarding, concentrated and complex even in its youth, though it should drink fantastical well for a decade or longer too. I am always so pleased with this wine and even though I usually drink Leitz’s Trockens, I do try not to miss this bottling that also goes fabulous with hotter Asian cuisine and spicy foods in general, as well as being a fine choice for the range of flavors of a holiday meal. I have twice visited Rüdesheim and spent a lot of that time hiking through the vineyards, including this one, and this wine always transports me there. Johannes Leitz is one of the Rheingau’s most recognized personalities and an award winning producer, that has helped this historic area maintain its legendary status.
($29 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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