When all is said and done, the aromatics of this gorgeous wine leave no doubt about its origin: the mountain of black Devon slate that the Romans named Bacchi Ara: the “Altar of Bacchus,” and seven years in the deepest, coldest cellar we know in Germany. At first, this super-saturated green-gold Riesling smells of salted apricots, ripe Braeburn apples, and toasted pumpkin seeds, with fleeting suggestions of lemon zest, black truffles, Spanish broom, and fresh clean button mushrooms. On the palate, the impression is one of power and breed: dry and full-bodied, with flavors of grilled peaches, lemon oil, pink grapefruit zest, and black truffles all comingled with palpable wet slate minerality, and barely perceptible sweetness in tension with firm, ripe acidity. And the flaky sea-salt, orange pekoe, and mint-seasoned finish goes on forever.
About this wine producer: It was perfect timing that brought us to Weingut Ratzenberger on a rainy afternoon in July of 2000. Paolo De Marchi of Isole e Olena had recommended the wines, and the Ratzenbergers had just ended a testy relationship with their famous American importer. So we tasted the thrilling, mineral-infused Rieslings that Jochen poured knowing that they were actually available to buy. We believe that despite flying under the radar of “important” German wine pundits, the Ratzenbergers should be included among the very top producers of Riesling in the world.