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 I 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. Drink now–2035 and beyond.
About this wine producer: Weingut Ratzenberger is in the beautiful town of Bacharach-Steeg on the left bank of the Rhine, about a half-hour from the Frankfurt airport. It’s our favorite first stop in Germany. The guest apartment is one of the most comfortable places we stay, with the view through the bedroom window dominated by a wall of Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder) vines marching up the towering Steeger St. Jost.