Riesling Weihwasser Feinherb 2020
From 60-year-old vines, this Riesling is off-dry and highly drinkable.
Tasting Notes: Lemon, pears, and hints of salinity.
Pairing Suggestions: Spicy Food, Shellfish, Pork
Mosel , Germany
Ulrich “Ulli” Stein is a formidable figure in European winemaking – he has fought the E.U. on numerous viticulture points (and won!). While Ulli’s wines are not widely known in the United States, he has nothing less than a fanatical following in Europe. He could likely sell every last bottle to his friends in Germany alone, yet there are places of some importance, like Noma in Copenhagen, that put in sizable orders for Stein wine. Ulli Stein has an oenology degree from Geisenheim (the German oenological equivalent of Harvard) and a PhD in biology. However, Ulli is much more than a winemaker. He is a passionate advocate for the traditional steep slate vineyards of the Mosel. In 2010, Ulli published a manifesto warning of the threats to the region’s 2,000-year-old viticultural tradition. Dan Melia wrote a beautiful summary of Stein’s manifesto for Edward Behr’s The Art of Eating. It is reproduced here with kind permission from the author and publisher. Ulli’s primary interest is making wines that represent historical Mosel and doing all that he can to preserve the region’s old vines. His wines are a glance into the past. They offer a rare insight into the Riesling that dazzled those 19th-century connoisseurs. They are as pure in spirit as they are in their delicate taste. Ulli farms about 13 acres that have three commonalities: they are not easy to work, they are commercially unknown and, most importantly, Ulli loves them. The vineyards are on steep, Mosel hillsides near Bullay, down the Mosel River from Bernkastel. Many of the sites are steeper than forty-five degrees and can be up to 68 degrees. When it comes to viticulture like this, there are no shortcuts; everything must be done by hand. Ulli’s parcels include low-yielding, ungrafted rootstock on blue slate. Organic viticulture is challenging, but is how he works, finding eco-alternatives in wet vintages. In addition to Riesling, Ulli has red grape holdings. He planted Cabernet Sauvignon (native to western France), Sangiovese (native to Italy), and Pinot Noir (also called Spatburgunder), native to Burgundy. For years, growing red grapes in the Mosel was illegal. Ulli single-handedly overturned the ruling several years ago. While Riesling is still the region’s prominent grape variety—almost exclusively—Ulli wanted to prove a point. Spatburgunder is Germany’s most common red grape (and a logical choice, given that the Mosel’s cool climate is similar in ways to Burgundy), but planting Sangiovese and Cabernet is outrageous given the Mosel’s cool temperatures and the amount of heat and sunshine that the two latter grapes need to ripen. But when it comes to Ulli, it’s not surprising that he plants all three. When asked why he chose these grapes, Ulli exclaimed, “As a joke! There is so much that is serious in the world already. I wanted to prove a point.”
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About Natural Wine
Great question! There are a lot of definitions for natural wine with the main term you'll hear being that it has had minimal intervention. To be more specific, our definition is that the wine must first be sustainably farmed, which typically means it was organically or biodynamically farmed.
Then, in the cellar the natural winemaking process has some differences as well! The wine is typically unfined, unfiltered, and goes through spontaneous fermentation with native yeasts. If you want to know more about what natural wine is, we have an entire guide under our reference section!
The short answer is that natural wine can taste like any other kind of conventional wine (we like to call these stealth natural wines) or it can taste quite a bit different, as production methods can vary and potentially be lighter, or in a style you've never had before (like orange, pet-nat or amphora).
The natural wine community is also more accepting of some qualities in wines that conventional would consider a flaw, like Brett, some oxidation, or volatile acidity. We would consider these in high amounts to also be a flaw, but in many cases a touch of these qualities can ultimately improve their flavor and texture and be happily accepted in a natural wine.
To find out more about what natural wine tastes like, check out our full blog and podcast on the topic here.
The short answer is, no! But many are. Glou-glou describes winesthat are easily chuggable, impossible to put the glass down, and seductively delicious! They tend to be young and fresh, designed to be drunk early with an average ABV of around 10%. Check out different styles or glou glou natural wine here on our site.