Today’s Story: Weingut Clemens Busch
Weingut Clemens Busch is a highly regarded family-owned wine estate under the guide of fifth generation winemaker Clemens Busch and his wife Rita. Clemens began working with his father on the family’s two hectares (five acres) of vineyards during the mid-1970s, however he and Rita inherited the estate themselves in 1984. The winery is located in the town of Pünderich along the Mosel River in Germany, and the majority of their vineyards sit across the way on the iconic hillside known as Marienburg. Over time Clemens and Rita have adeptly added to their vineyard holdings while their neighbors moved elsewhere to focus on Pinot Noir during the 1980s, so today the family property consists of about 16 hectares (39 acres) of vineyards planted to 99% Riesling and 1% Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). The “house specials,” if you will, are Rieslings made in a dry style though they also produce some noble sweet Riesling as well which many consider some of the finest in the Mosel.
Not one to follow the norms of the region, Clemens believes wholeheartedly that organic and biodynamic viticulture, alongside minimal intervention in the cellar, produces the greatest wines. Clemens and Rita were early adopters of organic farming when they converted in 1984, and they are also early adopters of biodynamics which they fully converted to in 2005 with certification. Clemens also goes against the grain when it comes to his bottlings. The hill of Marienburg became “one site” thanks to a government ruling in 1971 that combined all the individual sites of this 23 hectare (57 acre) hillside into a 90 hectare (222 acre) area. While this was initially supposed to “help” its recognition, Clemens knew that all the different soil types and historic vineyard names are important to maintain so he vinifies, bottles, and labels all the wines by their historic, pre-combined names.
In the cellar specifically, Clemens practices minimal intervention winemaking in an attempt to best showcase the unique terroir of each bottling. This includes fermentation with only native and spontaneous yeasts and aging the wines in very old 1,000 liter barrels (some of which are over 40 years old). Amazingly, most of their fermentation take eight to ten months due to this method! Clemens does not like adding sulfur to his wines either, so to minimize this he only adds a small dose prior to bottling. These wines are never fined as well, again in an effort to show the variety and terroir in the most honest way possible.
Fun Fact: The color of the capsule on each bottle of Clemens Busch tells the consumer what color slate the fruit for the wine grows in. A grey capsule represents grey slate, a blue capsule blue slate, and a red capsule red slate.
I previously reviewed the 2019 Riesling Trocken from Clemens Busch.
Today’s Wine: 2019 Riesling Kabinett
100% Riesling; 7.5% ABV
The 2019 Riesling Kabinett is pale straw in color. Given some time to blossom in the glass, the wine showcases a nose of pronounced intensity and aromas of white peach, green apple, lime pith, honeysuckle, petrol, and slate. It’s very floral overall, and fairly delicate. Meanwhile the flavors are also of pronounced intensity, with the palate displaying notes of green apple, lime zest, kiwi, jasmine, wet slate, and mineral. There’s an interesting note of fennel on the finish as well. This off-dry Riesling is medium-bodied with high acidity, low alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. No doubt this is too young and perhaps slightly closed off now, but it’s already showing beautiful balance.
Price: $30. This is a great value, even though you should be patient with it and let these rest for a few more years. It has great intensity and acid, and while it’s not the most complex wine right now I think this will improve tremendously.
If this wine seems like something you might enjoy, you may find this link helpful in locating it.