TN: 2018 Andreas Laible Durbacher Plauelrain Riesling "Am Bühl" Großes Gewächs

Laible doesn’t get enough love.

  • 2018 Andreas Laible Durbacher Plauelrain Riesling “Am Bühl” Großes Gewächs - Germany, Baden (7/23/2021)
    The Laible Am Buhl GG doesn’t make it to the US very often, so we had to source out of Germany. Having only come into the country a few months ago, it’s possible this could be a little worse for travel over the pond, but we decided to do an early check-in anyway, before sending the rest of the case to sleep. Decanted and immediately poured first glass into Zalto Universal stems. Saved the second half of the bottle for after dinner.

Intense nose, exactly as you’d expect from a young Laible - citrusy mineral limey, a bit linear right now, as many 2018s are, but great acidity and superb concentration. Wow, clicks into another deeper and broader gear right before the finish, then coyly turns in another direction. A little flip of the skirt, if you will. There’s a little soapy quality, too, like some gins get – not meant in a pejorative way. A little like Riesling liquor right now. With air after dinner, much more open for businesses, but still holding back for sure. The air turned it very floral, with a bit of honeyed apricot at the end. A handsome, elegant wine, with great aromatics right now and GG pedigree. We had an '13 Laible Klingelberger as well this night and, though that wine is excellent and showed well, this made it seem muddled in comparison.

Despite the skirt metaphor, this is a bruiser right now, and it’s tough to tell what kind of clarity it will have ultimately. Some GGs, even some good ones, never quite get to that clarity of purpose that a Keller generally does. Some don’t ever get out of that tightly wound concentration. They are still good, but they keep from getting to the next level. Will be interested to see where this goes, as the potential showed itself very clearly. We’ll wait at least a year before opening another.

Posted from CellarTracker

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I’ve had only one Laible wine (Kabinett Riesling 2015), which was tasted blind and came across as quite big and burly for a Kabinett Riesling. However, that is how many Baden and Württemberg Rieslings tend to come across, at least in my experience. They make wonderful wines there from many different red and white varieties, but seldom I taste a Riesling from Baden or Württemberg that manages to impress me - they are just all too often a bit too big, ripe and clumsy for my taste.

So all that taken into account, it’s very nice to hear that (at least with this label) Laible seems to have succeeded in 2018 - a vintage in which many of my favorite producers have produced Rieslings that have been too big, clumsy and soupy for my taste! This sounds very promising.

Laible makes wine in the style of Alsace and that is no surprise because Alsace is only a few miles away. Sure – if somebody likes the Mosel style Laible is probably not the best address but the wines are delicious anyway IMO. BTW: Brother Alexander Laible makes fine wines too in his own winery.


Sarah, I’ve only had the 2017 & 2019 of this wine, but the time sideways really did the 2017 some justice. I’m guessing you’re spot on that this just needs a little more time.

My first Laible will be the 2020 Klingelberger. I don’t expect to see it before next spring, but looking forward to trying it.

I am obviously a fan. While it’s true that the style is broader than many prefer, not filigreed or even “pretty,” they are often quite complex with excellent depth, tension and character. I do not find them overdone, awkward or blowsy in general, in my experience, which is relatively extensive for the US. I like that they are different from others in my cellar. I’ll be trying some reds soon, for the first time, and am interested to see how they show.

2018 isn’t the equal of several other surrounding vintages, but, as is almost always the case, good wine makers make good wine. I was very pleased with this one.


Question for those buying wine these wines or others mainly available in Germany. Do you have any preferred sources or stores? How do you deal with the import/logistics?

I do not buy from the retailer/importer any more after repeated “problems” that I finally could not put up with.

Now I buy all my German wines from Crush, Lopa, JJ Buckley, & Envoyer

I thought you bought all the German wines by now. There’s more?

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The real questions should be: is there ever enough?

That’s the real issue and risk that I worry about with dealing with sources in another country that I’m not familiar with. Was hoping some more experienced Germanophile Berserkers had some insights.

I think there are a handful of great stores around the country. What I’ve learned over time is that there are some stores that have wines I want, but the shipping costs are prohibitive. So, I pay about $60/case from one store, but another store charges $112. Even if I want wines from the store that charges $112 to ship to me, I no longer look to buy from the store that’s almost double in shipping. If you want some great German wines I would also check out Down to Earth wines. Crush is really where I buy the majority of my German wines though. They have Seehof, Stein, and several great producers in their selections. If you have not tried the Seehof Weissbergunder you’re missing out on a great wine from an amazing vineyard.