2007 Strub Riesling "Soil to Soul"

Year: 2007
Appellation: Rheinhessen
Country: Germany
Wine Spectator: 86
Wine Advocate: 88
White Wine
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"Solid, yet lacks some concentration to the citrus and mineral notes midpalate and some punch on the finish. Drink now through 2015." (WS)

"Strub’s 2007 Riesling Soil to Soul marries Bruckchen (chalk) with smaller amounts of Orbel (grown on Nierstein’s classic Permian red sandstone) and of Spatlese-quality Paterberg (loess) in a Riesling whose complexity reflects these diverse origins, although it is interesting the degree to which smoked meat, peach and orange sherbet typical of the from Nierstein’s famous red slope dominate, followed by spearmint and other “cool” herbal inflections, and with the Bruckchen component seemingly more influential on the wine’s texture. Luscious, plush, and moderate in sweetness this should prove delightfully versatile for at least 3-4 more years. When I re-tasted it earlier this year, I was more impressed than I had been last September at the winery.

Walter Strub is always very sensitive to diminishing acidity and rapid accretion of sugar in his grapes, as well as to any threat of rot, all of which has meant that he often picks as early as any grower I visit. But despite the freakishly early flowering of 2007, Strub was confident in holding off picking this year’s Riesling until mid-October, and for all of their ripeness and generosity, the resultant wines display elegance and refreshment, as well as strikingly consistent high quality. Strub’s sappy, cherry pit-, smoke-, and char-inflected Pinot Noir was still in cask and gaseous from malo when I last tasted it, but confirmed his progress with that variety and promised a wine well worth investigation by those seeking good Pinot for a modest price. Some of this outstanding value was bottled in liters exclusively for WineWise and The Vienna Wine Company, Oakland, CA; tel. 510-848 6879." (WA)

Winery Notes:
CORE-LIST WINE. Good though it was, the 2006 vintage was something of a soft-opening for this wine, given the various challenges of that vintage. The wine is very good, mind you, but this 2007 is several levels better, and realizes the ambition with which it was conceived. It is entirely Spätlese juice, unchaptalized.

The basic idea was to supplant the old Liter bottling with a “branded” Riesling that didn’t have some damned animal on the label. It should ideally be estate-grown fruit (as it is in 2007), and we want it fragrant, vigorous and on the dry side. Drier than Dragonstone, not as dry as Lingenfelder’s old “Bird Label.”

We tasted every tank and identified what ought to go where; which Brückchen had to become the Kabinett, which Paterberg the Spätlese, and when we were done we agreed the four tanks remaining (two Brückchen, an Orbel and the old-vines Paterberg from which the 3-star has been made) should make up the Soil To Soul. But in what proportions? Just as a guide we blended them in totality according to the actual amount of each wine available, after which we figured we could tweak. But the gods smiled, and amazingly, we didn’t have to. The wine was perfect.

So, it contains the old-vines Paterberg, two lots of Brückchen and one lot of red-soil Orbel from the Grand Cru slope. The aroma is as complex as we could have dreamed; key-lime, Parma ham, wintergreen, ginger candy; the palate is taut, grippy, exciting—it’s the best branded Riesling I’ve ever offered; even the finish is suave and complex—you want to eat your own mouth just to keep it going.