2013 Heinrich Spindler Pechstein Riesling Trocken (dry) Grosse Lage Pfalz
From a site that need not fear competition from its even more prestigious and equally basalt-based neighbors Jesuitengarten and Kirchenstück (and that happens to be among my long-standing favorites), this exemplar leads with a site-typical pungent combination of musky floral and animal scents with sage and grapefruit rind. It comes to the palate full, expansive and round, albeit with grapefruit juiciness and a tart hint of redcurrant serving for some welcome counterpoint. Possibly 13.5% alcohol is one reason that there is not quite the clarity, interplay or vivacity here for which I had hoped. But the finish is intense and persistent. (DS)
Young vigneron Markus Spindler is the eleventh generation of Heinrich Spindler, and was lucky enough to have inherited some of the most prized vines in the Forst region of the Pfalz. He continues his family’s legacy of sustainable farming and creates wines with nuance and precision. The Pechstein Riesling Grosse Lage is a single-vineyard wine named after the igneous rock basalt subsoil that dominates the vineyard. From the importer: "Pechstein means 'pitch stone'--like tar--and it refers to the igneous rock basalt that comprises this site. The topsoil consists of sandy-loam but the subsoil is dominated by basalt, shards of which are remnants of the mines that used to exist here over a hundred years ago. It was thought back then that the dark rocks would retain the sun’s heat and ripen the grapes, and so they were intentionally scattered throughout the vineyard by hand. Now, with climate change, this man-made terroir intervention seems curious. This is decidedly 'red' in aromatics and much more compact and dense than the Ungeheuer, despite the fact that it was entirely fermented in stainless steel. It has the cranberry’s tart outer rim but has the interior sweetness of cassis and berry compote."