DUE IN: SUMMER 2017
"The citrus/golden-colored 2015 Forster Riesling is dense, clear and aromatic on the nose and shows flinty aromas along with ripe Riesling flavors. Very vital and pure on the palate, the wine reveals a great grip and tension. Its power comes from the depth, not from the alcohol. The finish is long, complex and very salty, revealing a pure, concentrated and firmly-structured baby Riesling. This has great expression and talents. The finish and aftertaste reveal some refreshing white and lemony aromas; it does not have the rich and opulent stone fruit flavor you often find in Pfalz, as well as in Forst Rieslings. The finish is long, pure, salty and enormously vital.
Wine lovers who are looking for the finest dry Rieslings of the 2015 vintage in Germany shouldn't miss the exceptional wines from Reichsrat von Buhl. Mathieu Kauffmann, born in Sélestat/Alsace and chef du cave at Bollinger in the Champagne for many years, is about to bottle an outstanding series of dry Rieslings. Lead by the Forster Riesling GGs Pechstein and Ungeheuer, these two wines are two of the greatest dry German Rieslings I can remember. Kauffmann's Buhl Rieslings are highly complex, terroir-driven, very mineral and fresh, tightly woven and will develop over many years. Honestly, I was blown away by both the style and quality, but should also add that the 2015s are probably too complex for beginners. You really have to be a Riesling maniac to feel the rhythm of these wines.
Harvest started very early at von Buhl on August 30. Whereas many producers in the Pfalz were saying that they had never picked that early and there was still time to wait, Kauffmann is of the opinion that in warm years, such as 2015, "you can never start early enough, because the ripeness always overtakes you. We even had to force some of our grape suppliers to finish their holidays earlier than scheduled." Kauffmann finds that there are still "too many German grape growers and even producers who think too much in Oechsle (i.e. must weights), and prefer to pick their Chardonnays with 100° Oechsle or more." But then, what can they do after mid-September rainfalls like in 2015? Even we had to run, because the acidity levels went down."
Kauffmann wants to harvest picture-book grapes, which means loose clusters with small, golden/yellow-skinned and absolutely healthy berries. In his best vineyards, the grands crus, he picks just one grape per shoot (or 30 hectoliters per hectare). He processes them straight and they come as whole bunches onto the press. Kauffmann does not use any sulfur or coal to protect or fine the grape must. "Every intervention would rearrange the natural balance and I don’t want to do that," he explains. The best wines are kept on the gross lees without any sulfur until the beginning of spring. "Sulfur makes a photograph of the wine, but I want to make a movie, so I have to keep it on the lees without sulfur as long as possible." The wine is only moved two times after the fermentation has finished, for the filtration and for the bottling. The crus were scheduled to be bottled in July.
The result of the 2015 harvest is, among the dry wines, a series of noble sweet wines—namely four Auslesen, two Beerenauslesen and two TBAs." (WA)