As part of a research project in cooperation with the University of Geisenheim, the entire vineyard will be reconfigured with transverse terraces (a “mammoth plan,” Jochen admits), which will prevent erosion and wasteful runoff of precipitation, at the same time create habitats for a wider diversity of flora and fauna, while retaining the advantage of one of the steepest hillsides in the Mittelrhein. According to Jochen, wine from the Schloss Fürstenberg is softer in acidity than the wines he grows in the Steeger valley (St. Jost, Wolfshöhle, and Posten), and are characterized by yellow fruit and late summer herbal aromas. “For us, he told me, “this is a great complement to the vineyards in the Steeger Valley.” At first, the wine smells of autumn: apples, cumin, and dried chiodini, all moving in and out of the foreground as the nose evolves in the glass. Later, fleeting suggestions of honeysuckle, lime blossoms, and crystallized honeycomb emerge, sometimes alternating with black truffles, freesia, and coriander seed. On the palate, the wine is both creamy and mouthfilling, salty, and just off-dry, with flavors of sun warmed white peaches, ripe pineapple, and gentian, all comingled with palpable slate minerality, its barely perceptible sweetness in easy harmony with mouthwatering ripe berry acidity. And the finish goes on forever.
About this wine producer: t 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.