I dont really drink or buy much Riesling. But i own a lot of Falkenstein. It is just a very special style that i enjoy a lot. I also bought a lot of Ludes Kabinett this year as it was reminiscent of Falkenstein.
And the Falkenstein hype is certainly not a WB thing. They sell out fast at most places in Europe as well.
For me it is all about the acidity and the feel it brings to the mouth. That insane acidic kick along with a dominating focus on the citrus fruit and the mineral notes. It is also as much about the lack of other fruit notes and lower sugar content compared to other riesling which lets the before mentioned traits stand out more.
I had some young Falkenstein next to some young Prüm and Grünhäuser. I preferred the Falkenstein by far.
But i am an acidity freak.
And don’t get me wrong, i love aged Prüm and i have no idea about how Falkenstein will age. But when it comes to young riesling i love Falkenstein.
I am really diving in deep to the 2021 vintage. I attended a dinner with about 25 top wines from the vintage and have to say I love it more than ever. The wines have acid galore but it is a fascinating ripe acid that melds with the fruit.
A recent bottle at home is a great example of everything I love abour 2021.
2021 Weiser-Künstler Gaispfad Halbtrocken - This is a riesling freak’s freak wine! I was blown away by it at the winery, I was similarly impressed with it at the 2021 tasting BUT I had yet to actually drink a bottle and to become one with this wine! 2021 is a high acid vintage. Yes. I know. BUT. As Klaus peter Keller has explained to me the acids are ripe acids. This might be the best example of ripe acid in 2021. The wine reverberates with ripe acid commingled with fruit. Not red fruit more like yellow or ripe pineapple. It is a deeply moving wine that is both cerebral and soulful. This wine could ONLY be made in the Mosel, nowhere, and I mean nowhere else. This wine is not for everyone but it is definitely for me…
Up next is a big Haart dinner on Saturday where we will taste the 21 Kiste and other related wines.
Some years ago I proudly brought a 2016 Schubertslay Kabinettt to lunch i Berlin. It was served together with a 2016 Hofgut Falkenstein Krettnacher Euchariusberg Riesling Kabinett Alte Reben
We left the Schubertslay almost full. It was far to clumsy
Thats my description…
I agree with Miran’s description. In 2021 the acids feel in harmony with the other parts of the wine and that is my layman’s description.
There is a far more technical explanation that a winemaker could provide.
See the section on acids in this article from Jamie Goode.
Now what I would really like to know is how to manage your vineyard to obtain ripe acids? Or do you just get lucky in some vintages. I am guessing it has to do with long cool growing seasons where you can get grapes ripe without losing acidity.
Perhaps the best description for me is that HF wines have the taste of the moment. Delicacy and brightness are prized virtues these days, as is restrained RS in wines with sweetness. HF hits those marks. Lovely, expressive wines that fit what many are looking for right now.
If richness and power make a comeback (pendulums do swing) then HF will not be so highly prized. That won’t be a reflection of the wines, but rather fashion moving in a different direction. I don’t see that happening anytime soon, but who knows.
This puts wines in general in perspective.
For us it’s not just about the wine, but what it is paired with and/or the setting within it’s drunk.
When we eat poached white fish in a white sauce or eat North Atlantic prawns which are light and delicate in flavour, then H.F. Kabinett Trocken is a perfect match.
(There are other light footed Mosel Rieslings, not only H.F.)
Riesling GGs are another type of wine that we find more difficult to accommodate, and we have other wines that compete in similar settings.
In either case, one can at times really thirst for a good Riesling!
I leave the assessment of the style particularities to those with more experience then me with both Mosel/Saar in general and Falkenstein in particular, but what I like with the bottles I have had is especially the energy, tension and the texture/acidic structure, yet having a very delicate and elegant lightness.
May be just me… i find a thread that runs through falkenstein, lauer, slightly wei ku, ludes, emrich schonleber, willi shafer, and prum. Not all bottlings but spatlese level and specific bottlings. My palate may not be as naunced as many on this thread.
Frankly, I have not tried any Falkenstein wines. But riesling lovers whose palates I trust like them so I have bought a few of the Gisella in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Not a big investment so not a big deal.
Quite frankly, I am sitting out the 21 vintage in Germany and not buying much at all by comparison to what I bought of the 19 vintage. Whatever 21s I buy will be very selective and not based on any professional critic, but on direct tasting. From the tastings I have done of 21, the wines have ranged from miserable to very good to, in a very small number, excellent. But under-ripe vintages like this are just not my style. I wish luck to those who will be storing 21 Rieslings in the hopes that they mature into beauties, but for me, once under-ripe, always under-ripe. I might be wrong in 8-10 years if the 21s blossom into something transcendental, but it is a gamble. Another reason to sit out 21: the allocations of the few excellent wines are tiny. I know of a well-established wine dealer who personally visited one of the top Mosel estates and was offered an allocation 1/10th the size he wanted. Yes, 1/10th. Burgundy rules are starting to apply in Mosel.