A Truly Special Riesling

Today’s Story: Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl

Reichsrat von Buhl was established in 1849 by Franz Peter Buhl, and the estate quickly became a benchmark of quality for Forster Riesling. Thanks to uncompromising quality, von Buhl Rieslings became some of the most expensive in the world and even filled the glasses of those toasting the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Even Otto von Bismarck became a loving fan of von Buhl wines and praised their Ungeheuer which is sourced from the best plot of the 29 hectare Grand Cru Ungeheuer vineyard.

In 1909, Franz Eberhard Buhl (the son of Armand von Buhl and Juliane Schellhorn-Wallbillich) orchestrated the marriage of the von Buhl and Schellhorn-Wallbillich wineries, establishing one of the largest privately owned German wine estates at over 200 hectares. At this point, Franz Eberhard changed the winery name to Reichsrat von Buhl (adding his title as a member in the house of Lords in the kingdom of Bavaria). Franz Eberhard passed away young in 1921 and his widow Frieda Piper von Buhl adeptly ran the estate until her death in 1952. With no familial heirs to the estate, Reichsrat von Buhl went to Georg Enoch Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg who was a political friend of Franz Eberhard.

Over time, Reichsrat von Buhl decreased in size to about 52 hectares of vineyard land thanks to financial challenges, though they maintained ownership of some of the greatest sites in Deidesheim and Forst. From 1989 to 2013, von Buhl was leased to Japanese business man Toyohiro Tokuoka but changed ownership in 2005 to a local businessman named Achim Niederberger. When Tokuoka’s lease ended in 2013, von Buhl went back to being a family-run estate and winery.

All vineyards owned by Reichsrat von Buhl are certified organic and the current team is unified behind natural and sustainable viticulture. All white wines from von Buhl are Riesling (except for two noble sweet wines) and all red wines and rosé are made from Pinot Noir. Of all the land planted to vine that von Buhl owns, 45% is classified as either VDP.Erste Lage® (Premier Cru) or VDP.Grosse Lage® (Grand Cru) – source. For more on this historic German estate, check out the website here.

Today’s Wine: 2014 Forster Ungeheuer Riesling Großes Gewächs

100% Riesling; 13% ABV

The 2014 Ungeheuer Riesling GG is transparent medium yellow in color with medium to deep straw hues. As the wine opens up, it constantly evolves and showcases its complexity transitioning from dominant aromas of dried gravel, petrol, and pineapple into apricot, peach, white florals, exotic Asian spice, honey, and smoke. Once in the mouth, this gorgeous Riesling displays notes of white peach, lemon zest, green apple skins, apricot, saline and crushed rock minerality, honeysuckle, beeswax, flint, and dried herbs. This is medium-bodied and bone-dry with gorgeous high acidity and a lush mouthfeel into an incredibly long finish.

Price: $70 (but looks like there is some in bond for ~$40/btl in 6 packs). To be honest I would buy the 6 packs in bond from Europe if I could, because this is absolutely worth every penny of the $70 I paid. Riesling is a variety I am trying to explore further, but this is certainly the greatest example I’ve had to date. Pair with chicken Pad Thai, roasted pork, or sushi.

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