2018 Weingut Von Winning, Riesling Trocken, Ruppertsberger Reiterpfad, Erste Gewachs, Pfalz Germany.
Von Winning’s (Ruppertsberger) Reiterpfad Trocken, one of my favorite dry Rieslings and this 2018 is very consistent with prior releases, with wonderful steely mineral tones, crisp details and stylish length with fresh vibrant fruits. This premier cru could easily be mistaken for a GG and it is a fabulous value for what you get in the bottle and the glass, it is crystalline, vivid, surprisingly rich, but very sharply focused. Fermented with native yeast in wood casks, the Reiterpfad feels, as it usually does, like a Premier Cru Chablis, but with pure Riesling varietal character, delivering lime blossom, tangerine, green apple, quince, lemony marmalade, stone fruits, leaning on tangy apricot, along with lip smacking saline, white tea, faint briny notes, wet stones and tangy verbena. There’s subtle exotic tropical essence in the background there and distinctive terroir chalkiness from the Pfalz soils, as well as a delicate floral perfume, making for a gorgeous Riesling that is just coming into its own and should age wonderfully for another decade at least. Von Winning is a practicing organic estate, located in Deidesheim, planted mostly to Riesling, but also has Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and some Chardonnay too.

These Von Winning wines are some of the best dry wines in Germany and should not be missed, I remember my first tasting with these Rieslings and having my mind blown and my excitement and joy for these Von Winning offerings has not dimmed at all. Terry Theise, the original importer, and German wine guru, introducing me to von Winning more than 10 years ago now, and also turned me on to their mind-blowing Sauvignon Blancs as well, and Andreas Hutwohl of Von Winning has been incredibly generous and gracious over the years, helping educate me on all these Von Winning and the Pfalz region. The Ruppertsberg Reiterpfad Vineyard is a VDP Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) site, but this Reiterpfad is labelled as Erste Lage, and it is set on sandy loam, red sandstone, limestone soils, making it a gateway wine to the mighty Grosses Gewachs in the Weingut Von Winning collection and it is an exceptional value. Winemaker Stephan Attmann, who was very influenced by Burgundy, treats his Riesling in rather the same way and uses a minimalist approach in the cellar and gentle vinifications, employing stainless steel for the village bottlings, while the Premier and Grand Crus see natural fermentation and lees aging in oak, with the top wines seeing 500L French barrels, as this Reiterpfad saw. Von Winning’s lineup, all of which I recommend, has thrills from top to bottom, but the two wines that bargain hunters and Riesling enthusiasts should chase down are this one and the Paradiesgarten Trocken.
($38 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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