2016 Weingut Mueller-Catoir, Scheurebe Trocken, Haardter Mandelring, VDP Erste Lage, Pfalz Germany.
Mueller-Catoir, run by the ninth generation vintner Philipp David Catoir is one of Germany’s finest estates in the Pfalz and has a world wide following for their stylish and intriguing wines, especially their Riesling, but they also do one of the best dry Muscats (Muskateller) you’ll ever want to taste, Rieslaner (no not related to Riesling!) and this amazing dry, but exotic Scheurebe from their Premier Cru Haardter Mandelring parcel. Known for the precision and clarity of focus in their wines, the estate, under the talented hands of Martin Franzen, a Mosel native that made name for himself while at the famous Schlossgut Diel before Caroline Diel took the reins there, (he) implements a very gentle crush, with a long skin contact, employing a slow gentle pressing, and then ferments and ages mostly in stainless steel. The wine is racked only once and very late, adding to the soul and character to these crystalline and transparent wines of outstanding class and density (dry extract) highlighting the mainly sandstone soils of the all organically farmed Haardt vineyard. Scheurebe, also know as Samling 88 or just Samling was created in 1916 by German viticulturalist Dr. Georg Scheu, when he was trying to make a better version of Silvaner, it was long thought it was a cross between Riesling and Silvaner, but DNA testing has made it clear Silvaner was not it’s parent grape, so it is believed to be a cross of Riesling and Bukettraube (Bouquet Blanc) and was finally released to general cultivation after Scheu’s death in the year 1956, in his honor it was officially called Scheu(rebe) (Rebe means Vine in German) and Samling 88 (serial number used by Scheu lab for the plant created) dropped in Germany, though still used in Austria. The wines are highly aromatic, and the variety is often used for sweet wines, although dry Scheurebe wines have become much more common in Germany with two of my favorites being Kruger-Rumpf’s expressive and wonderfully lush and tropical version from the Nahe and this Mueller-Catoir, which is typically a leaner crisper example, though as famous importer Terry Theise says of Scheurebe, it is “…kinky but just not blatant.” Think of Scheurebe as Riesling meets Viognier (as in minerally Condrieu) in some ways, it’s less severe than Riesling, but less fleshy than Viognier, but with the heightened perfume of white flowers, it blows away about 90% of Sauvignon Blancs out there, serving same purpose and fills the gap between Riesling and Chardonnay, though still a curious rarity in the white wine world! The 2016 Mueller-Catoir Scheurebe Trocken Mandelring is a zero botrytis vintage, which adds to the fresh detail and dry finesse, this is hyper focused stuff from Franzen and team, it’s stunningly expressive on the nose with jasmine, orange blossoms and honeysuckle giving a springtime of aromatic heaven before leading to a lithe and fresh, almost tangy brisk middle weighted palate of white peach, kumquat, key lime, tart mango and a flow of zesty citrus fruits along with lemon grass, minty/fennel bitters, candied pineapple and apricot pit. There’s a chalky wet stone element and plenty of mineral to explore here along with a touch spicy crystalized ginger that lingers in this well judged and executed Scheurebe, it’s a lovely companion for Asian cuisine
($35 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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