Thursday, February 21, 2013


It’s a shame I don’t drink more Riesling. 

In some aspects Riesling appeals far more to me than Chardonnay does (without bubbles). If to rudely generalize; Riesling are an ultra clear non-oaky expression, strong terroir defined wines with the high acidity (which I am a sucker for). If to stay on the generalizing string, that is far more interesting than the somewhat monotone melon, oaky and oily expression of Chardonnay. That’s why I never found true love for white Burgundy, but my compromise eventually founds its way into Champagne. That said – during my journey into natural wine country, I have found lots of wines, which deviates from this generalizing description and made me happy.

My appetite for Riesling has dropped dramatically since this Champagne and natural wine bug started. The German Riesling are not exactly known for their low sulphur levels, yet I can’t say that I have had many experience where the wines actually stinks of SO2. So what's the fuzz? In most cases with German Riesling, they are simply too square and lifeless for my palate. Their structure are too polished/ “slippery”, taking energy down and headache up, which in most cases are sings of too high sulphur. And if you are a sucker for energy (like me) it’s not a relationship that will last.

Having said that and before this develops into a “polish-my-own-halo-post” - If you haven’t been exposed to a lot of natural wine, I am not sure you see it this way. My good friend Martin from Berlin, whom I consider be a very skilled taster and an expert in Riesling for sure doesn’t see it this way. It’s important for me to stress out that my taste is not the right one – it never is – but my starting point is very different, because I drink so many low dozed SO2 wines.

Anyway a German Riesling without SO2 – sounds like paradise to me. The paradox is that the wine is categorized as a “Landwein der Mosel” because the local authorities don’t approve wines of this low SO2. Who cares about appellations snobbism, let’s jump onboard.

2011 Rita & Rudolf Trossen, Riesling “Schieferstern Zero Zero”

Blend: 100% Riesling
Terroir: Slate
Winemaking: Biodynamic
Alcohol: 12,05%
pH: 3:15
Free SO2: 0 mg / l
Total SO2: 1 mg / l
Production: 400 bottles
Glass: Zalto Universal

Trossen have been experimenting with zero SO2 since 2009 but at first had doubt’s it could be successful. Tasting the zero sulphur wines from Jura & Burgundy finally convinced Rudolf Trossen and in 2010 he released his first non-SO2 wine with the 2010 "cuvée Pyramide PUR". Only 15L was made.

As you can see from the image there is a capsule on the bottle and still some carbon dioxide left. Give it some air and it’s gone after 30 minutes or so.

I was struck by the crystalline clarity of this wine. Ultra refined fresh water appeal, like drinking directly from the mouth of a water well. Notes like tulips, citrus, greenish apples and freshly washed linens in cool spring air emerged and all together shapes an extraordinary elegant and pure wine. The taste is utterly sensational, despite being really young  - mineral extravaganza with a vibrant, frisky and agile acidity. Nothing sticks out – everything is so beautiful toned creating blissful harmony. What a wine – what a Riesling. Absolutely stunning wine.

Ps. My wife who knows absolutely nothing about wine (I have given up), but in general hates oaky white wines (she calls them unnatural) – thought this wine was one of the best white wines she had ever tasted.

Thank you Ine & Ries for this bottle – you are too kind.


Anonymous said...

Oh my god, where should this all end?! Now you even don´t like RIESLING anymore.

Martin "BerlinKitchen"

Thomas said...

Hehe...I do like Rieslings...but I tell you all this low SO2 does something to you ;-).

Tell them to use less and I am coming back ;-).

Best from,

Thomas said...

Btw, Martin…Have you ever tasted this wine?

Would be interesting for me to hear your thoughts as you are the expert and I am just the one who like less and less wines ;-).

I would also love to introduce some of these natural wines to you…Copenhagen are experiencing a boom in Natural wines and are one of the leading capitals in “Vin Nature” at the moment…it’s all over here now – many restaurants are phasing out the old and conventional.

Could be fun to show you a new world ;-).

Anonymous said...

I know that Copenhagen is booming regarding "Natural Wine" . I would love to come to visit you this year and discover new wines. Maybe also take part on your special tastings at Søllerød Kro?!


Anonymous said...

Where to buy ?

Thomas said...

Hi – I only know for Denmark; - but there are very few of them.

semi private tours alexander valley said...

HI, where I can buy these wines?

TB said...

I really dont get it? German Rieslings are the definition of energy in wine.
SO2 is beside the point, wines can be good without added SO2 and with it. Try beer or cider if you dont like wine.
Trossen is ok but there are so many better Rieslings.

Thomas said...

Dear TB,

If you have read this blog for some time you know how much I appreciate Riesling – and yes they are for sure some of the most energetic wines in the world. But I hope you also understand, that my SO2 threshold might be quite different than yours. You might think a wine is energetic and nice and I might think it’s square and too high dozed with SO2. I am not claiming to be right – I never am.

You should also know that I am in no way interested that all wines should be without SO2.

But for me – the SO2 phenomenon is sometimes more about a curiosity thing – and breaking the tradition. Why add +120 mg/l if you in fact could use half. Would we have more energetic wines with by cutting half of the SO2 – I’ll bet you we would. Would we have better wines with zero SO2? No – I doubt it.

If Trossen here – like many all over the world before him, can inspire other winemakers to be curious about SO2 – then we all should be happy.

Hope it clarifies things.


Best from,