Robert Parker 96
Smoky, pungent, and animal evocations of peat, sweat, and musk oil mingle with scents of peach, Rainier cherry, and grapefruit on the nose of Keller’s 2009 Riesling G-Max, then saturate the palate in an enveloping manner impressively unlike that of the other dry Rieslings in his present collection. This is so richly-fruited and plush in texture, and its abundance of flavor registers as such an extract-rich infusion, that the contrast with the sense of transparency and vibrancy projected by the corresponding Abtserde could scarcely be more dramatic. Yet even so, this G-Max comes off as anything but weighty. Peaty smokiness; musky floral essences; crushed chalk; peach kernel and cherry pit piquancy, all impinge distinctively amid an otherwise seamlessly dense ocean of flavor whose finish both engulfs and buoys you. Eleven days (!) after having been opened for my initial tasting, contents of this same bottle of G-max were still full of vibratory energy. I imagine at least a 15 year run of glory for this remarkable Riesling. Klaus-Peter Keller’s stylistic ideals and parameters ” for more about whose application to vintage 2009 consult the quotes from him at two places in my introduction to this report ” were aptly realized in a collection of Grosse Gewachse (all bottled in mid-August) that ranged from 12.5-13.5% in alcohol. â€œI can always cut away bunches,â€ he remarked apropos yields. â€œThat merely means extra work. But you can’t hang new bunches on your vines, and in warm years, to have that third or fourth one is criticalâ€ to avoiding too rapid an accretion of sugar. The cool temperatures by the time he harvested his top sites in early November not only, claims Keller, offered the ideal circumstances for phenolic evolution and acid retention, but also for gentle extraction in the initial hours after harvest, when the fruit received the period of maceration that he believes is essential to getting at â€œthe two-thirds of Riesling’s aromas are in its skin.â€ And as if the rest of the wines did not represent a sufficiently amazing performance, it concludes with no fewer than four Trockenbeerenauslesen (5 were planned, but the grapes left in Hubacker got rained-out), about which Keller claims not to know for sure whether it represents a record for his estate (though it definitely does for the period of his tenure, and ” unbelievably ” he repeated that record again in 2010). â€œDay in, day out we sorted grapes into the night,â€ relates Keller, but it should be borne in mind that the quantities of each of these T.B.A.s ” as I have noted in each tasting note ” remained minuscule. Keller is excited about 2009’s potential with Pinot as well, but surveying his finished 2008 Spatburgunder ” all of which were moved solely by gravity, a forklift having served to elevate their assembled volumes for bottling ” there is more than enough excitement generated by those as well to merit a search of the marketplace and to offer wine lovers a striking glimpse of the quality levels to which German Pinot Noir can successfully aspire. I’ll report on the 2009 reds next year. (For more about Keller’s governing principles with Riesling as well as Pinot, consult the introduction to my notes on his wines in issue 187.) Imported by Sussex Wine Merchants, Moorestown, NJ; tel. (856) 608 9644, Dee Vine Wines, San Francisco, CA tel. (877) 389-9463, and Frances Rose Imports Inc., Huntley, IL; tel. (815) 382 9533
Enticing aromas of ripe apricot, dried herbs and sweet lime. Supple and expansive, but with a crisp acid structure giving shape to the wine and providing the structural support for an extended evolution in bottle. Smoked almonds and a persistent saltiness linger on the finish. With its unctuous richness, outstanding depth and subtly spicy character, this is one of the finest dry rieslings of the vintage.