2008 Reichsrat von Buhl Forster Ungeheuer Riesling Auslese 375 ml

Year: 2008
Appellation: Pfalz
Country: Germany
Wine Spectator: 94
Wine Advocate: 89
White Wine
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"Broad, this spicy auslese evokes grapefruit, caramelized apple and herb notes. This is balanced, with a botrytis influence adding concentration and depth. Fine length. Best from 2013 through 2026. 200 cases made. " (WS)

"Talk about extreme, von Buhl’s 2008 Forster Ungeheuer Riesling Auslese harbors 12.6 grams of acid – considerably more than do a great many successful Eisweine. No question, it administers a tongue-lashing, allied to aromas of over-ripe peach, prickling lemon oil, and sweat that remind me a bit of a Kirchenstuck. Persimmon, peach fuzz, citrus zests, and brown spices all contribute to both the invigoration and sharp tactile impingement already engendered solely by the wine’s high acid. Nobody could deny that for sheer length, this literally stunning wine is in the major leagues. Those with plenty of patience and curiosity should cellar some, and I’d advise not revisiting for at least ten years.

After the impressive crop of 2007s turned out by director Christoph Graf, cellar master Michael Liebrecht; and vineyard manager Werner Sebastian, opinions are bound to diverge regarding their latest crop. “You had to have courage to do nothing in 2008,” remarked Liebrecht, who was willing to let some astonishingly high acids hang out in his wines. A good case can be made that many of them demand time in bottle to show best: The team testified to the wines’ remarkable evolution in the months following bottling, but think their better bottlings need at least five years. Von Buhl’s latest-bottled Grosses Gewachs was the Kirchenstuck – in July – and one wonders how wines of such high acidity and extract might have fared if permitted longer in cask. The Pfalz VDP members have on the whole been extremely successful in selling-out their production of Grosse Gewachse, largely on a subscription basis, which would seem to remove pressure for early bottling. But their promotional cycle dictates that the wines be ready to show publicly in September, which – given how much wine growers have to attend to after that – is understandable. And what would it have been like – may the gods of German fashion and Grosses Gewachs not strike me dead for asking! – had these wines been permitted to coast to their fermentative landings with a bit more residual sugar? Regardless, I find it hard not to respect the fearlessness of von Buhl’s approach, and the majority of their 2008s are certainly steeped in the vintage virtues of vivacity and lift, if often carried to extremes." (WA)