Trossen, Schieferblume 2014

IMG_2654We are staying in the Mosel this week with a slightly atypical wine. Rita and Rudolf Trossen have been working biodynamically for almost forty years. At the beginning they focused on applying the Steiner philosophy, which is really the groundwork of the biodynamic wine movement, in their vineyards and in recent years they stepped up their game by rethinking everything they did in the cellar as well. As a consequence, as much of the work as possible is done manually and the use of additives is minimized as well. This of course makes them extremely hip within the natural wine movement.

The vineyards cover only two hectares around Kinheim, but 16 different plots can be identified, each with its own quality and character. One plot even consists solely of sixty to seventy year old vines, untouched by phylloxera. Now, since 2009 they have been experimenting with complete elimination of sulfites in only a select number of parcels (the Purus series of wines). There are very very few Riesling wines that do not contain sulfites for two reasons. The first is the presence of residual sugar, as you run the risk of the alcoholic fermentation starting again in the bottle if you do not subdue the yeast with sulphur. The second is the blocking of the malolactic fermentation (MLF, the conversion of malic acid to lactic acid, softening the wine). If you do not want to use sulphur then, you have to ensure that your wine is bonedry, and that you know what to expect with MLF. Aside from the Purus series, the other wines contain sulfites but they are only added at bottling for stability, so your wine still goes through MLF.

Schieferblume 2014 is a blend of several parcels and can be considered the entry-level wine of the estate. As I often find to be the case with natural wines, the first nose does not give away a lot. I got sour apples, which got the company of lime and stone fruit on the second day when the wine had finally opened up. The palate shows a striking minerality but without the typical acidity that you would expect in a more traditional Mosel wine. There is freshness and purity, but it is not driving the wine. This gives it a certain mellowness, which is compensated by the limey sensation as well as the minerality that continues in the finish. There is a bit of an austere streak that may take some time getting used to but it is a great introduction to natural Riesling.

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