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2014 Heinrich Spindler Pechstein Riesling Trocken (dry) Grosse Lage Pfalz

SKU #1241461 Vinous

 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)  (5/2016)

K&L Notes

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."

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Price: $29.99
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Staff Image By: Olivia Ragni | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/15/2016 | Send Email
Fermented entirely in stainless steel, the Pechstein is elegant and concentrated, with aromas of smoke, chalk and red fruits like tart cherry plums. The waxy texture of the wine captivates your palate and wraps it in flavors of white peach, white cherry and a finish of white flowers.

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- While the rest of the world has often misappropriated the name--Welchriesling, Riesling Italico, Gray Riesling and Emerald Riesling are all names applied to varieties that are NOT Riesling--this exceptional German varietal has managed to maintain its identity. Perhaps its biggest claims to fame are its intoxicating perfume, often described as having honeyed stone fruit, herb, apple and citrus notes, and its incredible longevity - the wines lasting for decades. Aged Rieslings often take on a distinctive and alluring Petrol-like aroma. Within Germany, the grape seems to do best in the warming slate soils of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. Other German regions that turn out great Rieslings include Pfalz, Rheingau and Nahe. German Rieslings are made in a range of ripeness levels. The top wines are assigned Prädikat levels to describe their ripeness at harvest. These are: Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese. Riesling has also achieved acclaim in France's Alsace, the only region in that country where the grape is officially permitted. Alsatian Rieslings are typically dry and wonderfully aromatic. Austrian Riesling is also steadily gaining praise and fine Riesling is also produced in Italy's Alto-Adige and Friuli, in Slovenia and much of Central and Eastern Europe. In the New World its stronghold is Australia, where it does best in the Eden and Clare Valleys. It is also planted in smaller amounts in New Zealand. In the US, winemakers are eschewing the syrupy sweet versions of the 1970s and 1980s, instead making elegant and balanced wines in both California and Washington State.


- Thanks to a recent string of excellent vintages and to the reemergence of Germany onto the international wine writing scene, this is a country that's hot, hot, hot! Germany is divided into 13 wine Region and produces a very wide variety of wine styles, from incredibly high-acid, dry wines to some of the sweetest, most unctuous concoctions on the planet and even a few surprisingly hearty reds. Most of the highest-quality wines are grown on steep banks along the rivers in these Region. Small vineyards are still mostly hand tended and picked, due to the difficult nature of mechanization on these slopes. White wine production accounts for nearly 80% of the total with Riesling being the most important varietal, though Muller-Thurgau is still more widely planted.