2019 Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Scheurebe, Spatlese, Nahe Germany.
The Kruger-Rumpf Scheurebe comes exclusively from the VDP Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) Dautenpflänzer old vines which were planted in the 50s on pure quarzite and was fermented and aged in stainless steel using natural yeasts. This 2019 version is exotic and sweet fruited with tropical notes, like passion fruit and pineapple, and zingy spearmint, mineral tones, white blossoms and spice. Georg Rumpf is one of Germany’s Scheurebe maestros and as I have said many many times, this is one of the best examples in Germany and while a Spatlese and quite sweet on the medium bodied palate it has fabulous balance and goes great with food, providing refreshment to spicy Asian dishes. The Kruger-Rumpf estate is located in Münster-Sarmsheim, a small village on the western side of the Nahe River, in the most northern section of this region, at the intersection of four major German wine regions: the Nahe where the winery is located, the Rheingau and Mittelrhein to the north, Rheinhessen to the east. The majority of Kruger-Rumpf’s holdings are located on the western side of the Nahe, though they also own parcels directly across the Nahe River in Binger Scharlachberg, which is part of the Rheinhessen and is an amazing south facing amphitheater. Standing in Kruger-Rumpf’s parcels in Rheinberg (Nahe), you can look out to Scharlachberg across the Nahe River in Rheinhessen, as well as the southern bend of the Rheingau and the Rudesheimer Berg Crus, one of the most famous parts of the region, visible to the north. Kruger-Rumpf’s holdings represent some of the greatest Riesling terroirs in this famous area with south-facing exposures and a combination of Nahe soils that include slate, loess, sandstone, quartzite, volcanic and loose gravels with many Grosses Gewachs parcels. Kruger-Rumpf, along with Muller-Catoir, who do a trocken, are my favorite producers of the rare Scheurebe varietal, and I recommend exploring both.
Scheurebe is an unique grape found primarily in Germany, but also in Austria where it can also be called Sämling 88, Scheurebe was created by German viticulturalist Dr. Georg Scheu, (hence the name, which was made official in 1945) in 1916, when he was working as director of a grape-breeding institute in Alzey in the Rheinhessen region, by crossing Riesling with an unknown wild vine, though not confirmed and according to official Austrian sources it is in fact a cross between Riesling and Bouquet Blanc. Münsterer Dautenpflänzer: Grand Cru, Loess, subsoil is quartz – Daute means “shoot” and pflänzer means “plant”, an homage to the fact that this was once a nursery. South facing, the older section is steep, and this Grosse Lage vineyard is a bowl shape, catching the sun and giving exceptional ripening. Georg is committed to organic viticulture and while they have been practicing organic for several years, they have started the transition for certification. Bees are kept nearby to facilitate pollination and aid in overall bio-diversity. Periodically sheep are allowed to roam the vines helping to control underbrush. All vineyards are hand harvested to ensure that only optimally ripe grapes are selected. Stefan believed that “you can’t improve wine in the cellar, only make it worse,” and Georg has continued his cellar work with this philosophy in mind. Fermentations occur spontaneously with ambient yeast for the fruity wines, like this one. I will always cherish my last visit to Kruger-Rumpf, in the Fall of 2016, watching Georg Rumpf get into harvest action and touring the vineyards with him and his father Stefan, who founded this remarkable winery, where I got to see my favorite site, the Abtei as well as tasting the Scheurebe off the vine. The Scheurebe 2019 transported me back to the Nahe and brought an amazing sense of peace and pleasure, it is pure joy in glass and was perfectly matched to my Indian curry and chickpea meal, it is hard to imagine a more satisfying wine and it’s an outstanding value.
($24 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive