In the wine world, Mosel is synonymous with Riesling. Covering 60% of its dramatically sloped vineyard area, Mosel Riesling has been celebrated in different styles during the last two centuries. Since the 1950s, an American fondness of a sweet, fruity wine with low alcohol balanced by the varietal’s high acidity has dominated the market. The wines barely reach 9% ABV, giving a light and refreshing texture, and tend to have fininish marked by notes of wet stones.
However, in the 19th century, Riesling in Mosel was renowned for its dry wines. Such a style embraces a full fermentation that can take the alcohol levels to 12% and 13%. One could argue this is a less intrusive type of winemaking than the sweeter styles where sulphur must be added to halt the fermentations. The result is a wine of higher concentration, with intense aromatics of yellow fruit and stone fruit, and a medium body delicately cut through by high mouthwatering acidity. All these attributes make it a highly versatile gastronomic wine. An easy pairing to any savory, spiced or unspiced, appetisers, starters, white meats or fish.
In the last few decades this original drier style has caught on and a substantial proportion of the current generation of growers are giving it more attention. The ideas of low intervention, expression of terroir and focus on the vines are now becoming the prevailing paradigm in winemaking and drier Riesling styles are a logical consequence. Trusted producers are easy to cite, starting by the VDP association’s Grosses Gewächs (GG) from Clemens Busch, Schäfer-Fröhlich in Nahe, Ökonomierat Rebholz in Pfalz or Wittmann in Rheinhessen.
However, our palates have a particular affinity for Sybille Kuntz’s wines in Lieser, Mosel. Her Rieslings portray intensely concentrated crunchy fruits, aromas of ginger, basil, and smoky stone notes that linger for minutes. Having stepped aside from associations like the VDP for the sake of flexibility and creativity in her wines, Sybille has nevertheless been farming organically for 30 years and more recently following the biodynamics ethos.
Even her sweet wines endure a complete fermentation, until the alcohol is high enough to kill the native yeasts. This yields, for instance, an Auslese with 13% ABV and off-dry. We were fascinated by her journey to produce BA (Beerenauslese) and TBA which she eloquently narrated in Jancis Robinson’s Purple Pages in 2016. We cannot wait to get our hands on one of those bottles and try them.