2003 Weingut Robert Weil, Riesling Spatlese, Rheingau, Germany.
Another surprise success for the vintage, which I recently tasted blend, was this gorgeous 2003 Robert Weil Rheingau Spatlese, showing off loads of energy, mineral charm and mature character on the supple, but nicely detailed palate with apricot, peach, quince and orangey citrus fruits, a bit of apple butter, honeycomb and wet flint notes. After opening in the glass, some fine saline, earthy loam and rose petal elements rise into picture here and a certain lushness adds to the pleasure and complexity in Weil’s basic Rheingau Spatlese that comes from grapes sourced from around the estate near Kiedrich, and also in the Eltville area, set inland from the Rhein’s widest point, where you find a intriguing sloping landscape and a complex array of loess, loam, clay, slate and quartzite soils. This wine, about in its perfect drinking window, came in at about 8% natural alcohol and while it has loads of residual sugar, it still drinks fresh enough to enjoy with main dishes, which makes it good with some heat from Asian cuisine, though also great with Holiday meals, especially with the age on it. Thanks to one of my tasting group members for bringing this one from their personal cellar, it was very much enjoyed by a bunch of Riesling enthusiasts and especially those that usually avoid the water vintages!

The Weingut Robert Weil, as I’ve mentioned in my prior reviews, was established back in 1875, which for the Rheingau isn’t all that old, especially when you consider that its home village Kiedrich, according to the winery was first documented in 950 A.D. The winery sits right below the GG vineyards of Kiedrich Turmberg and Kiedrich Gräfenberg, which majestically rise up at about a 60 percent grade toward a wild and dense forest and set on a complex combination of stony phyllite partially mixed with loess and loam soils. This area of Rheingau is less humid and sees a bit less river influence, set up and away from the widest point of the Rhein with steep hillside vines that ripen a bit later. The wines here are complex, deep and lend themselves to a dry style mostly, though you see a full range produced by Robert Weil from classic Kabinett and Spatlese to their powerful set of Grosses Gewachs. Except for the GG’s, most all of the Weil regional wines, like this one, are fermented and aged exclusively in stainless steel with lees aging lasting about nine months or less before bottling to capture transparency and vitality, as this wine, from one of the more hot years, still impressively shows. I enjoyed driving around Kiedrich and the Weil estate in 2016 and recommend a visit if you get a chance to visit the picturesque Rheingau. The Weil wines are always pure and rewarding, I’m grateful to have tasted them and bought them for ages, a must have estate if you want to full grasp the Rheingau’s best features.
($43 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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