2019 is an epic vintage at the top. Few hit this home as well as Clemens Busch, among others with this stunning GG, our dry Riesling of the vintage in the Mosel.
We already wrote this in our sneak preview to our readers in the January Issue. Our tastings published in Part I of our detailed vintage report amply confirmed it: 2019 is an epic vintage at the top, and this thanks to not excessive Oechsle degrees, bright and ripe flavors, and impeccable sweetness-acidity balance.
Few growers managed to home in on this as well as Clemens Busch. Among (many) other beauties, its 2019er Pündericher Marienburg Fahrlay GG proves the dry Mosel Riesling highlight of the vintage.
Weingut Clemens Busch in Pünderich is one of the great success stories in the Mosel. Starting from humble origins with less than 2 ha in the 1970s, Clemens and Rita Busch steadily transformed their small family Estate into one of the finest Estates in the region.
Clemens Busch has been one of the organic and later biodynamic pioneers in Germany. Soon after he joined the family Estate in 1974, he experimented with organic growing and became one of the founding members of the German organic grower association in 1986. “I did not take the organic route out of principles. It is more something which grew steadily over time, as I was seeing the positive effects it had on my vineyards and my wines.” He has gradually embraced biodynamic principles since 2005 and has been fully certified since the 2015 vintage.
The house style was built on late harvesting, long pre-fermentation cold soak (up to 12-24 hours), and extensive aging in Fuder oak casks. This has earned the Estate much respect and a loyal following which admired its very intense and sometimes powerful expression of Riesling.
Over the last decade, the style gained in finesse, dryness, and precision, despite no apparent major change, as Clemens explained: "We did not change anything radically but I see a few things which contribute to this. My grapes grown biodynamically develop less alcoholic strength. I also prefer nowadays that my wines do not undergo malolactic fermentations.”
The Estate was able to capitalize on this renewed strength: Its Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 54 (October 2020) proved an Issue highlight in 2018 and its wines have graced our lists of vintage highlights ever since.
And yet, we feel that the Estate outdid itself in 2019, even by its own incredible high standards. The remarkable thing is that it crafted classics in almost all stylistic directions, from a stunning array of dry wines to a perfect noble-sweet TBA
The pride of the Estate is its sizeable holdings in the finer and steep parts of the Pündericher Marienburg which it managed to acquire over the years from local growers favoring flatter land and cash in on the new craze for red wine which engulfed the Mosel back in the 1980s.
Does this mean that the Estate produces only one top-end dry Riesling out of the Marienburg? No. The central reason lies in the unique diversity of terroirs within this Grand Cru vineyard. Its position at the border to the Wittlich trough makes it reveal many different geological formations. The result is that the Marienburg vineyard is really composed of three different terroirs, namely (from west to east) red slate, grey slate (the typical Terrassenmosel sandstone-like slate) and blue slate.
Clemens Busch has decided to respect these terroirs and structured his portfolio of top dry Riesling (GGs) accordingly. The Rothenpfad GG comes from the red slate sector, the Falkenlay GG from the grey slate one, and the Fahrlay GG from the blue slate sector.
The 2019er GG Fahrlay saw a little pre-fermentation cold soak (4-8 hours), long fermentations with ambient yeasts and without malolactic fermentation in traditional Fuder casks, and long aging on its lees (almost for 12 months). The result is simply mesmerizing. The wine has all the hallmarks of intensity and precision which have made the success of the Estate over the last few years but wraps this absolutely beautifully in a blanket of freshness, elegance and finesse. It is no wonder that it proved to be the dry Mosel Riesling of the vintage in our look-back at 2019 published in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 55 (Jan 2021).
Good news seldom come alone: Since a few years now, Clemens Busch has been releasing its Fahrlay GG two years after vintage after the vintage. So this 2019er Fahrlay GG will only hit the market next September, together with the Estate’s 2019er Falkenlay GG, Fahrlay-Terrassen GG, Felsterrasse and Raffes.
Lovers of elegance and presence in their dry Riesling should plunge on these beauties!
The stunning 2019 collection by Clemens Busch
was reviewed in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 54 (Oct 2020).
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Pündericher Marienburg Fahrlay GG
The 2019er Marienburg Fahrlay GG, as it is referred to on the main part of the label, was fermented spontaneously in traditional oak casks with fruit harvested in a blue slate part of the Marienburg vineyard. It offers a superbly engaging nose made of cassis, grapefruit zest, citrusy fruits, ginger, elderflower, fine spices, herbs, and smoke. The wine proves gorgeously packed with racy flavors and smoke on the intensely flavored palate and leaves a superbly playful feel of whipped cream, earthy spices, and grapefruit zest in the long and subtly smoky finish. This is a stunning dry Riesling in the making! 2024-2034
© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling ... and beyond!"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.