2016 Weingut Knebel, Riesling QbA, Alte Reben, Mosel Germany.
The young Matthias Knebel is one of the new generation to focus on preserving traditional and historic sites bringing an organic sensibility to his wines along with a drier focus, he is using old vines and terraced vineyards to produce intense bottlings that are true terroir driven beauties, especially brilliant is Matthias’ Alte Reben (old vines) that comes from two Cru sites, certainly this is one of the best QbA’s I’ve ever had! It’s a dry drinking style Riesling that is heavily influenced by the slate soils and the ultra steep terraces of Winningen, where the Knebel family has been growing Riesling and winemaking since 1643, Matthias blended two sites, Hamm and Röttgen, which have a make up of red slate, grey slate, blue slate, quartzite and sandstone of the Mosel Terrassen. The young Knebel, one of the rising stars of Germany, uses 70% stainless steel and 30% neutral (well used) 500L oak casks to produce this beautiful Riesling, it is slightly too high in residual sugar at 12.7G/L to be labeled a Trocken, but only by a short hair! Deeply flavored and with an almost red wine like extract and mouth feel, the Alte Reben by Weingut Knebel shows a bright peach, lime and tangerine citrus, apricot, a hint of bacon fat and a creamy green crisp apple on the fine and graceful palate, making for a very serious Riesling and a wonderfully youthful expression of place, this is a lot of wine for the money, delivering liquid stone, lemon grass, lychee and rosewater to the whole picture, it has surprising length and elegance for such a new wine, I can’t wait to see what age will bring, because this stuff is damn enjoyable right now! Matthias has crafted a gorgeous and unique wine and his talent and terroir shine through with every sip, it’s fresh and lively, gaining with every breath of air new details, bringing a steely focus, a touch of wet rock and a lingering saline element that hides the tiny bit of sweetness, though the texture is almost luxurious. I’ve been following Knebel, imported by Schatzi Wines, for about 5 vintages, I loved his 2012’s, but this 2016 is next level good, and again this is just the QbA, wow, I can’t imagine how great the top level bottlings are going to be, sight unseen I bet they are fantastic. You can tell this is a generous Riesling, but at 11.5% you can be rest assured it is briskly dry and balanced, if you are a Riesling fan or an acid freak, you’ll want this wine, best from 2020-2028, but it will be hard not to cherish it much sooner.
($44-46 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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