Dr. H. Thanisch "Bernkasteler Badstube" Kabinett Riesling 2019

Riesling|Mosel, Germany

Sofia Thanisch owns plots of some of the arguably best sites for Riesling in all of Germany, if not all of Europe. The Bernkastel region is home to the "Badstube" site, essentially a cluster of prestigious smaller vineyards; among those is the "Doctor" vineyard, one of the most famed vineyard sites in the world. The vineyards carpet a western-facing hillside, clinging improbably to the sheer slopes. No machines can access these vertigo-inducing vineyards; everything must be done by hand while tethered to ropes. In some vintages even the soil has to be hauled back up the peak to prevent erosion.

In the '80s a bottle of 1921 "Bernkasteler Doctor" Riesling dessert wine sold at auction for more than $16,000.

Vinous Media calls this bottling "infectious as well as impeccably balanced stuff." The palate has a wonderfully subtle prickle to it, a holdover of some CO2 from fermentation, with generous silken lemon and lime pith, apricot blossom, creamy white flowers, and loads of chalky wet rock. There is an almost-imperceptible suggestion of sweetness but it finishes wonderfully balanced. The wine is all about texture, tension, and grace, not cloying sweetness.

During these shorter days when the sun sets at 5:30, low-ABV wines such as this (9%!) make for a great early-evening apéritif. Pair with a funky triple-cream cheese and roasted walnuts; the richness from the cheese goes toe-to-toe with the velvety texture and lively acidity perfectly. Cheers!

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