Riesling ‘Vinothek’, Nikolaihof
This as you know is a concept whereby a Smaragd wine is left in (large) cask for fifteen years or longer, without sulfur. (There’s a parallel program called “Steinriesler” made from lighter material, but I wasn’t persuaded by the current vintage.) This is the best since the ’95; solid, powerful, smoky; strong but not heavy, an old iron stove of Riesling. The roast is reposing fragrantly, and the stove still smolders….
Press & Reviews
This successor to the almost supernaturally ethereal and haunting 1995 also has to live up to the reputation of a vintage-of-the-half-century. It manages, though! The bouquet is unearthly in its complex amalgam of bittersweetly floral (iris, gentian, buddleia), pungently nutty, subtly smoky (black tea) and elusively mineral (sea breeze, wet stone, faint fusel oil) components. Considering the secondary development signaled on the nose, a surprising intensity of pure white peach, apple and grapefruit emerges sumptuously on the silky palate. The buoyant finish, more tightly clinging and less ethereal than that of the 1995, represents a long, harmoniously undulating interaction of liquid floral perfume, diverse minerality and succulent fresh fruits. I tasted this shortly before its mid-2014 bottling (a rare exception to the Nikolaihof rule against unveiling wines from cask) and did not review that note before tasting seven months later. My first spontaneous word each time was “unearthly.” And happily, my impressions that followed demonstrated that this wine’s amazing personality, including its aromas and textural allure, had made it to bottle scarcely altered. The source vineyard here, incidentally, is the Im Weingebirge whereas the 1995 was from Vom Stein. –David Schildknecht