A woman's word is her bond. As I promised to Gernot Kollmann in Boca a year ago, during Boca Day 2016, my first post written in English would be on his amazing wines.
Well, Gernot, here I am. This is for you. And for anyone who would like to read it...
The premise of this post is that sometimes you drive for 200 kilometres to taste some Nebbiolo wines and what you find in your glass is a Riesling. That is, by quoting Kafka: he who seeks won’t find, he who does not seek will be found.
Well, I’ve been found.
Boca, Dec. 10th. The unexpected tasting
Christoph Künzli has kept his promise: this year no vertical tasting of Antonio Cerri’s wines. Next time it will be in ten years. This time he has invited a friend, Gernot Kollmann, to present his wines: six Mosel Riesling wines produced at Enkirch by the wine estate Immich-Batterieberg, on breath-taking steep slope vineyards. Four out of the six wines are Cru. All vines are over 60 years old and un-grafted: they grow on grey, blue or red slate soils. The yields are very very low (about 400 kilos per hectare).
Cuvée produced from young vines (less than 60 years old)
On the nose, it's a light wine with citrous flavours, wildflowers, and a sweet candied aroma. In the mouth, despite a sharp acidity, every sip invites to the next one with wildflowers which make themselves drink one after the other. Salty and moderately alcoholic (hard to believe that the alcohol is only 10.5%!) invites the drinker to join the party and have something to eat. A very gastronomic wine.
Cuvée produced from young vines (less than 60 years old) grown around Erkirch.
Here the yellow colour is much more intense. On the nose, the citrous flavour is sharper, mineral and somehow less sweet, and the flowery aroma reminds of the orange blossom. In the mouth, it is smoother and rounder. The acidity and the saltiness are still there, but the rounded corners make them both much less evident.
Cru produced from a vineyard exposed to the south, on grey and red copper slate soils.
Same colour of the previous one, but the aromas are much riper. On the nose, white peach wrapped in a mineral note – a sort of leitmotiv which accompanies all the tasted wines so far. In the mouth, it is fresh and salty, with an toffee aftertaste, which is sweet and persistent, narrow and deep. Although it’s one year younger than the Escheberg cuvée, it’s much readier to drink.
Cru produced from a vineyard exposed to the south-southwest, on grey and blues slate soils, between Enkirch and Traben-Trarbach.
Compared to the previous one, here flavours are broader and more intense: honey, freesia, and a citron note emerging in the background. In the mouth, no surprises: it completely confirms all the olfactive perceptions. Acidity and saltiness are well integrated and perfectly balanced. Apparently more alcoholic than Steffenberg, it's very persistent, wide and round. Very convincing.
Cru produced from a vineyard situated in Enkirch, on blue slate soils.
On the nose, varnish notes, citron peel, green tea leaves. Finer and more vertical than the previous one, both on the nose and in the mouth, it’s so totally unexpected, that I doubt that it stands in the wrong place along the tasting sequence. Suddenly there’s a change of pace. Here we are in a very different world: the light step evokes a simplicity, yet it’s a very complicated wine which is simply speaking another language. Essential and introspective, it talks about absolute silence, frozen rivers, inner shadow zones carved inside our souls. A second sip is sufficient to realize that it’s a leap into the void. And it’s love at first sight.
My absolute favourite.
Cru monopole produced from a vineyard planted on grey slate soil with a heavy amount of quartz.
If Ellergrub is a minimalist wine, this wine is baroque. It could not be more different. On the nose, it’s creamy and intriguing like an oyster, with citrous flavours, Scotch broom, grapefruit, which recall the golden shade in the glass. In the mouth, it’s rich, opulent, alcoholic, savoury, in one word charismatic, with a fresh note which balances the extreme richness of the texture, leaving a pleasantly sweet trail behind it.
These wines, all very young, one better than the other, follow each other in a crescendo of citrous notes, wildflowers and salt, a lot of salt, which envelops all of them into a spiral broader and broader, so that each wine eclipses the previous one. The only exceptions are the last two wines, Ellergrub and Batterieberg. Ying and Yang. The moon and the sun. Zen and Baroque. Choose the opposites you like best. Both of them are unbelievably good.
As the brochure says, they are “sophisticated wines with no compromise”. They arouse enthusiasm from the first sip. You just have to buy some bottles, forget them in the cellar and taste them again in some years. It can only get better.