They bottle corners of the land which with their slopes challenge gravity as well as human beings with obstacles in harvesting.
Riesling wines are probably the most versatile wines that exist nowadays, and they require a perfect combination of both physical strength and intellectual sensitivity in people who have the cultivation process in their hands.
It is undeniable that all the wines are intimately linked to their environment. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be wines, but something entirely different. But, in the case of Riesling, that relationship is even more special, much more intense, due to the profound respect that the producers of Riesling have for their environment. These impossible slopes, a few in the Mosel with up to 65% inclination, where mechanization is banned by nature as if it was a blasphemy, make these wines so special. The fact that only humans can get closer to the vines, to the detriment of mechanization, pushes an understanding between equals, between human beings and nature. That respect, avoiding subjecting the territory to human whims, is the guarantee for good bottles, bottles full of soul.
The conversation based on respect hides an uncomfortable process full of obstacles and efforts. The physical effort of the harvest is followed by a process of sensitive minds that know how to interpret these wines.
Our wine cellar in Mugaritz is reserved for wines that bottle a common philosophy with ourselves and, in this case, with Riesling wines, the affinity is extreme. Rieslings are wines created outside of the comfort zone, in the eternal conflict between love and hate with nature; they arise from trips to hidden spots. At Mugaritz, our proposal is based on enquiring into the unknown, and to get to understand that proposal, one must delve into nature.
Rieslings are probably the wines, beside Sherries, that share a deep connection with us all over the world. I like to think that each harvest on the banks of the Moselle river, or in the beautiful Rheingau, with so different and unique vintages, it is like a new season at Mugaritz, an ecosystem that lives each year in an eternal reinvention, with an immense effort behind all the creations that are going to be cooked only for that year.
Thirteen are the Anbaugebiete (growing areas/terroirs) in Germany, each of them singular, but maybe the most famous are Mosel, Rheingau, Pfalz or Nahe. These wines are capable of producing outstanding quality in many different styles, from the drier (trocken) to the sweetest (Eiswein) and the botrytized (Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese).
VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) is a German national association of producers committed to top quality. Founded in 1910, today it accounts for around 200 of Germany’s finest estates as members. We cannot speak about the German Riesling without mentioning them.
In these wines we find a unique capacity of aging, thanks to grapes that have the ability to age without being swung in a barrel. They go through old casks (classic 1200 liters Stück in the Rheingau or the classic 1000 liters Foudre in the Mosel) that bring an added value to the wine simply because the grapes do not need outsiders to become an eternal wine, a wine from late harvest or even botrytis, that endures for decades with great acidity and few grams of residual sugar. Time is relentless, devastating. In Riesling wines, time does its job without additives, with an unusual purity, aging these wines to make them, by reaching for the impossible, eternal wines.
Guillermo Cruz Alcubierre, head sommelier at Mugaritz, Spain
4 thoughts on “Impossible wines, eternal wines. By Guillermo Cruz Alcubierre”
Stunning, great story 🙂 Cheers. Tx for sharing
I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Guillermo is a fanstastic Sommelier and he knows his wines. I not only enjoyed his awesome pairing of wines with the food at Mugaritz but was also very impressed reading this expression of love for German Riesling. Keep it up!
I so much agree with you!
I never publish pairings. I did it in his case. And I will do it again only in special cases!