Müller-Catoir Gimmeldingen Riesling Kabinett 2020
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If you are a Riesling fan, or merely Riesling curious, you simply must try this fantastic Riesling from this historic and much heralded estate in Germany's Pfalz region. Family-owned since 1774, Müller-Catoir is now owned by Philipp David Catoir, the 9thgeneration. Philipp David works alongside Martin Franzen, who is responsible for both vineyards and cellar. Martin originally comes from the Mosel, bringing experience as head of operations at Schlossgut Diel in the Nahe and at Gut Nagelsforst in Baden. Franzen joined the winery in 2002, taking over from legendary winemaker Hans-Günther Schwarz, who made Catoir a household name in Germany and abroad. Hans-Günther had a reputation as a great and friendly mentor to two generations of some of the best winemakers in Germany, Austria, and Alsace. Martin has continued this tradition and has become one of the most respected winemakers in Germany.
This is also one of the most beautiful wineries in Germany: a sandstone manor house, built in the 1890s, into the hillside in the village of Haardt. The beautiful estate overlooks some of the very finest vineyards in the Pfalz, in the villages of Haardt, Gimmeldingen, Mussbach and now Neustadt, where Catoir has started a new project in 2018, focusing on Pinot Noir, a variety that Martin feels will play a more important role as weather patterns change. Riesling is the main focus at Catoir and in the ripe vintages of the last decade, excellent dry wines as well as traditional prädikatswein are produced from excellent vineyard sites, including the monopole site Bürgergarten “Im Breumel”, a protected clos and Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) site inside of the Haardter Bürgergarten Erste Lage (Premier Cru).
In theory, given the warmth and generosity of the Pfalz, a true Kabinett style wine shouldn't be possible (Kabinett is the lowest level of ripeness specified by the German wine growers association and typically signifies that the wine is a slightly sweet light wine with crackling acidity), but Müller-Catoir is an exception. With just a scintilla of sweetness, this wine is bursting with ripe apple and grapefruit and a host of green herbs. Riesling can be more green than many expect (don't think Sauvignon Blanc, however). I think this wine's former importer describes it best "The scent is a riot of every fragrant leaf, led by sweet mint. The palate jabs with smelling-salt penetration. The mineral crush is large and stubborn. It’s an introvert’s poem of green and gray." I love it.--Brian Acton