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28th January 2019

Forst among equals - the wines of Georg Mosbacher

Georg Mosbacher, Forst, Pfalz

Last week I was treated to a very rare tasting indeed - one where everyone on the visit bought some wine afterwards! As this was a bunch of MW students, at the beginning of a week, this is quite an endorsement.

Established in Forst, in the heart of the Pfalz, in Germany in 1921, Georg Mosbacher is now run by Sabine Düringer-Mosbacher, the next generation, and her husband Jürgen Düringer.
Sabine studied at Geisenheim, the leading oenological college in Germany, and perhaps the world, and took over the reins of the property in 1992. They farm 21 hectares across Forst and Deidesheim, but perhaps most significantly with all three of the major soil types of the Pfalz, including the rarest, Basalt, a volcanic rock that originates from an extinct volcano in the nearby mountain range. These are accompanied by coloured Sandstone (Bundsandstein), and Chalk (Kalkstein). Georg Mosbacher was one of first wineries to establish GG (Grosses Gewachs, or Grand Cru) in 1996. This initiative has helped establish the greatest single vineyards in Germany, for dry wines from the great grape varieties (mainly Riesling of course). The presence of the 'GG' embossment on the bottle is an easy to spot assurance of the highest quality in a country whose myriad labelling systems can seem arcane and impenetrable.
Much as I adore the wines of Germany, a wine system which expects non-native speakers to know the difference between 'Grosse Lage' and 'Grosselage' seems calculated to confuse (Great vineyard, and Great big vineyard respectively, approximately! But pretty much with opposite implications!)
Perhaps this is why Jürgen and Sabine do not put their organic certification on the label. Their membership of the VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter), the association of almost all of the greatest of Germany's wine estates, is signalled only with the eagle logo on the capsule. Sometimes less is more!
Like all the best establishments of any description, but especially wineries, the most welcoming member of the team is Yolo (short for Nebbiolo), a lovely black Labrador.

Riesling Trocken 2017 Estate VDP Gutswein
Very fresh, linear and crystalline lime aromas. Deliciously refreshing, even if not hugely complex or deep. Long. 16
'Gutswein' means 'Regional Wine'

Deidesheim Kalkstein Riesling Trocken 2017 VDP Ortswein
A little more jellied fruit and chalky mineral complexity to scent. More crystalline pure acidity. Freshness and lime-zest on the finish. 16.5
'Ortswein' means 'Village Wine'

Wachenheimer Gerümpel Riesling Trocken 2017 VDP Erste Lage
Gorgeous and much richer, almost tropical aromas. Extraordinarily rich scent. 17.5
'Erste Lage' means 'First Class' or 'Single Vineyard' equivalent to 'Premier Cru'


Ungehuer Riesling GG 2016 VDP Grosse Lage
Very small vineyard near village. Some Basalt.
Mineral and zest aromas. A little tight and closed. Greener acidity with a streak of lemongrass and parsnip. Extraordinary extract and depth with a multi layered texture and some grapefruit pith complexity on the finish. 17.5
Very youthful and right now I would prefer to drink the Gerümpel, but a seriously classy wine.
'Grosse Lage' means 'Great Vineyard' equivalent to 'Grand Cru'

3 [pi'no:] (Trois Pinots) Grauburgunder Weißburgunder Chardonnay 2015 VDP Erste Lage
Wachenheimer Altenberg vineyard (harvested and fermented separately) Ripen up to two weeks apart. All new oak. 14%alc
Warm creamy oak scents with pink-berry fruit aromas. Rich and deep stone fruit flavours. Rich texture, some oiliness and depth. Long dry finish. Very good. 17


Wachenheimer Goldbächel Spätburgunder 2015 VDP Erste Lage
(1200 bottles) 50/50 new and first use oak
Sweet spices, some delicate smoky oak with black cherry and hints cocoa dust. Very inviting. Beautifully made and ripe. Lovely tannin balance. Rounded rich finish, beautiful Pinot Noir. Very good. 18

Späburgunder 2009 VDP Erste Lage
(1500 bottles) three vineyards (including the above). 50/50 new and first use oak
Evolved and with some earthy leather. Woodsmoke and leaf. Sweetly acrid smoke flavours with sour cherry, bright tannins and fresh acidity. I prefer the younger vintage to drink personally, but blind this would definitely go down as Burgundy. 16.5


Forster Freundstück Spätburgunder Trocken 1997
Massive frost. Absurdly low yielding, but very high quality vintage. 200% new oak.
Manages to smell no older than the above, with similar smoke, beetroot and slow-cooked meat aromas. Still some baked fruit scents. Completely resolved tannins. Juicy acidity. Rich long finish. Silky varnishy texture. 17.5

Ungehuer Riesling Auslese 2015 VDP Grosse Lage
Not made 2017 and 2018. 120g/L, 11(!)g/L acidity
Mid lemon colour. Ready but not overwhelming botrytis. Lime marmalade, some fresh lemongrass. Very inviting. Super fresh, rich but not sticky. Line, light honey and acacia flower. Some jasmine. Deliciously long crisp finish. Very good indeed. 18



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