German Wine: Rheingau Riesling – 2001 J.B. Becker Wallufer Walkenberg Spätlese trocken

2001 J.B. Becker Wallufer Walkenberg Riesling Spätlese trocken

Tired of fashionable wine labels in block letters that consist of only one word? Then buy German wines like this. Only by looking at it wonderful Old World Feelings will appear. Hans Josef Becker was named as the “Lordsiegelbewahrer des klassischen Rheingau-Rieslings” in Germany’s most popular wine guide „Gault Millau“. I would roughly translate this expression as “keeper of the lord seal” (does this exist?) but whatever it should mean, it makes one thing clear: Hajo Becker uses methods of vinification that date long before the industrial revolution of winemaking. Two of these principles are spontaneous fermentation and maturation in big wooden “Fuderfässern” (= used vats) which used to be standard even for dry Riesling back then.

This wine has a not too pale colour, more like quince juice. The nose shows strong fruit flavours like citrus fruit, orange zest and apricot, surprisingly untouched by age, no dominant petrol notes so far. It reminds me a bit of the 1990 dry Spätlese by Hajo Becker which I’ve tasted recently, an unbelievably fresh and clean white wine. This time I immediately feel the strong acidity on my tongue which lingers on while notes of again lemon and more yellow fruits appear. The minerality is astonishingly embedded in ripe and enduring flavours. This wine, my friends, seems to me like the living proof that German dry Riesling can age with noblesse. I would see him on his peak and would recommend to first try him solo rather than with food. Believe me or not but you can still buy this treasure for less than 15 € at JB Becker’s in Walluf (no website), or otherwise visit Hammer’s next time you are in Berlin.

Matze’s conclusion: easily 16 points, highly recommended for true-style lovers with a soft spot for straight, acidic Rieslings from one of Germany’s historically most important wine growing regions.

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