Today something awful happened. Someone came into the shop, couldn’t find what they wanted, and left with nothing. Now, this has happened before. It’s actually happened time and time again - with things like Santa Margarita, Kim Crawford, Oyster Bay, etc. But today it happened with Brand Feinherb Riesling. BRAND FEINHERB RIESLING. I could have cried. Not only did I cause someone to fall in love with a new Riesling (from the Brand brothers, at that!) but he loves it so much that he couldn’t wait to show someone else and needed THAT bottle. He happened to have some Stein (another new love!) on ice - so leaving with nothing in hand was acceptable, this time.
Taking a hard stance by not carrying wines that are produced commercially (grapes grown with chemicals, then so many more chemicals added in the cellar during the winemaking to the point they shouldn't even call it wine) has changed the clientele here a bit. But those who stuck around and gave it a shot have realized the treat they’re in for. Because we have real wines made by people who just want to show off the grapes they grow in their vineyards - and we think the ones we have do a pretty good job.
The Brand brothers swim upstream too. A quote from the importer, “Nothing of what the brothers is doing is simple, or easy to explain, or, for that matter, sound in judgement.” A lot of wine is made in Pfalz. Most of it is nondescript, but Daniel and Jonas are doing something special.
So where do you start? Probably the Acid Test. Turn on, tune in, drop out and forget everything you thought you knew about Chardonnay. Ok, fine, there’s 10% Riesling - so it isn’t entirely Chardonnay, but believe me this will immediately climb onto your top 5 go-to white wines, even for those who “don’t like Chardonnay.”
The brothers Brand made a small amount of several different wines. Their Riesling Feinherb is dangerous. Proceed with caution. You will not be able to stop drinking the bottle. With just 10% alcohol and a little bit of sugar it’s the perfect accompaniment, and you might even want to share the liter with a friend. Taste this and tell me you don’t like Riesling, please, I dare you.
Is there a doctor in the house?!
Dr. Ulli Stein has an inn at the top of the mountain that overlooks the Mosel River. You’re not nearly cool enough to stay there. The terraced vineyards below are, economically speaking, an exercise in futility. But that hasn’t stopped Ulli from making some impeccable examples of Riesling from the place the grape calls home.
Stein ‘Weihwasser (=holy water) Feinherb’, with just a tiny bit of sugar, is perfectly balanced and very easy to drink with some spicy food.
But if you’re looking for something more dry, intense and mineraly, give the ‘Blauschiefer Trocken’ a shot.
Ulli doesn’t only make white wines. It’s actually because of him that winemakers are allowed to grow red grapes in the Mosel. Prior to 1971, it was illegal. But Ulli brought it to the highest courts in Germany, had the law overturned, and now makes some of the most amazing Pinot Noirs.
Stein ‘Redvolution’ - this one he makes without adding sulfur - truly a feat, only possible to achieve by the most deft of winemakers. Come to a wine class and find out why!