Dr Bürklin-Wolf Pfalz, Germany.
The Bürklin-Wolf estate is based in the Mittelhaardt, the quality core of Germany’s world-renowned Pfalz, around the towns of Wachenheim, Forst, Deidesheim and Ruppertsberg. Here with 85ha under vine they have the largest family owned wine estate in all of Germany, with a treasure-trove of superb vineyards, at the centre of which lies the great Kirchenstück. Here in the tiny village of Forst, Kirchenstück and its neighbours Jesuitengarten, Ungeheuer and Pechstein, have for centuries been recognised as producing not only some of the world’s greatest dry Rieslings, but simply some of the world’s greatest wines. In the nineteenth century, prices for these wines exceeded the prices paid for 1st Growth Bordeaux and Grand Cru Burgundy.
‘In this discipline [dry Riesling], this estate has essentially no rival in all of Germany. In fact, given their sheer vineyard potential–they’re capable of producing seven grand crus and an equal number of premier crus in any given vintage–this may well be the best and most consistent producer of great dry Riesling in the world.’
Joel B. Payne, Vinous, January 2013.
In 1990 Bürklin-Wolf began reviewing their vineyard holdings in the context of the 1828 Royal Bavarian Land Tax Classification and after years of exhaustive research they discovered that today’s top vineyards are exactly the same as those identified back in 1828. Today they have adopted a Burgundian model with four tiers: Estate, Village, PC (code for Premier Cru) and GC (for Grand Cru). Thus they are focussed on the production of dry, terroir-driven wines and no longer produce the Kabinett and Spätlese styles defined by the (still current) 1971 German Wine Law.
Kirchenstück – ‘The Montrachet of the Pfalz’
‘There is no Riesling of similar weight and complexity with comparable elegance and finesse. The finish of this liquid monument is almost infinite, as is, perhaps, its longevity. However, great vintages such as 2002 or 2008 need almost ten years over which to reveal their true potential. This cru, which is supposed to be the most expensive vineyard in Germany, is just 9.1 acres (3.7ha) and the 1985 replanted share of Burklin-Wolf is 1.3 acres (0.54ha). The wine is, therefore, not only very rare but also quite expensive. It is, however, worth every cent.’
Stephan Reinhardt, The Finest Wines of Germany.
WINE NOTES AND REVIEWS
2016 Riesling Dry (Stelvin)
‘Fine peach-apricot fruit and remarkable depth for an estate riesling, this is the real McCoy! Long, complete finish. Drink now or hold. There are roughly 120,000 bottles of this. Screw cap closure.’ 92 points, Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, November 2017.
2016 Riesling Wachenheimer (Stelvin)
‘Quite a cool and delicate wine for the Pfalz with fine floral notes and a long, lemony/chalky finish. From young vines, but considering that, it’s got excellent depth. Drink or hold. Screw cap closure.’ 91 points, Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, November 2017.
2016 Riesling Wachenheimer Altenburg P.C.
‘The lemon-curd freshness and the pronounced acidity could make you think this is a rather light wine, but there’s plenty of substance packed into this rather sleek silhouette. Long crisp and mineral finish. Drink or hold.’ 93 points, Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, November 2017.
2016 Riesling Wachenheimer Goldbächel P.C.
‘Fine mirabelle, lemon and fresh herbal aromas. Medium body and elegant acidity make this both charming and sophisticated. Drink or hold.’ 93 points, Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, November 2017.
2016 Riesling Ruppertsberger Hoheburg P.C.
‘A graceful dry riesling with moderate weight that makes it very easy to enjoy, but this impression is somewhat deceptive, because there’s a lot of depth here and this is certainly on a plane with Premier Cru whites from Burgundy. Drink or hold.’ 94 points, Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, November 2017.
2014 Riesling Gerümpel P.C.‘Still restrained and a little unsettled, but with an early promise of fine herbal and mineral aromas. The palate manages to impress already with concentrated stone fruit, a gentle rather than compact mineral contribution and invigorating acidity.’ 17.5/20, Michael Schmidt, JancisRobinson.com, April 2015.
2014 Riesling Altenburg P.C.
‘… shows a great intensity but also coolish purity on the nose; lemon flavors intermix with chalky sandstone flavors … enormously piquant and straight, revealing a stimulating salinity that … rejuvenates the power and complexity of this wine, which needs another five years to open up. It should still be fascinating in 20 years. There is so much power and finesse here, so much stimulating salinity – this is simply great Riesling. Drink 2019-2035.’ 94 points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, December 2015.
2015 Riesling Gaisböhl G.C.
‘Rich and mellow, but also deep and mysterious, this is complex and refined with a very long, intense mineral finish. Drink or hold.’ 95 points, Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, November 2017.
2014 Riesling Gaisböhl G.C.
‘The 2014 Ruppertsberger Gaisböhl Riesling Trocken GC shows deep, intense and lemon-scented fruit with good ripeness, concentration and some spicy, stony flavors. Full-bodied, very intense and concentrated on the palate, this is juicy and aromatic, very elegant and finesse-full Riesling; it has a vivacious acidity and a lovely stringent finish with some grippy phenols that will give this wine a great future. Drink 2018-2030.’ 92 points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, December 2015.
2013 Riesling Gaisböhl G.C.
‘[This] offers the unwound grandezza and aromatic depth of a great dry German Riesling. The wine is cool and precise … Full-bodied, dense and mineral on the palate … reveals a great complexity, vibrancy and persistence. Though firmly structured, the wine is already stunningly accessible but also very promising. Drink 2015-2028.’ 93 points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, December 2015.
2011 Riesling Gaisböhl G.C.
‘Firm, spicy nose. Broad yet tense. Quite a big, uncompromising wine. Well made and confident but needs to be matched, carefully, to food. Big.’ 17.5/20, Jancis Robinson MW.
2011 Riesling Kirchenstück G.C.
‘Rich apricot pit, persimmon and pine nuts on the nose. The palate offers a full-bodied papaya flavor that’s framed and deepened by a ripe juiciness. This rich, succulent wine is the most ample of all the dry rieslings here. Finishes with excellent length and a hint of lemon oil.’ 92 points, Joel B. Payne, Vinous, January 2013.
Dry White Wines
2013 Riesling Dry Stelvin closure
Pristine citric and stone‐fruit aromas with a touch of mineral on the nose, ample body and texture with fresh acidity in the mouth, a crisp middle and long dry finish, with a hint of spice. The perfect introduction to dry Pfalz Riesling.
2013 Riesling ‘Wachenheimer’ Stelvin Closure
Benefiting from de‐classification of several of Burklin‐Wolf’s most prestigious sites, this is a classic Pfalz Riesling with depth of flavor, aromatic spice
and a soft, voluptuous dry finish. Originates from de‐classified P.C. vineyards.
2013 Riesling ‘Altenburg’ P.C.
This vineyard is located high on the slope with very little soil and excellent drainage giving a wine of real density with wonderful structure and finesse and great ageing capacity. Wonderful acidity giving a seemingly endless finish.
2013 Riesling ‘Gerumpel’ P.C. Very limited (i.e. less than 3 dozen available)
Located right beside the fabulous GC Pechstein vineyard, in fact part of Gerumpel was rated at the very highest level in the Royal Bavarian land tax laws of 1828. “Lemon, lime and a hint of flint on the fresh nose. Ample on the palate, with white fruit flavors joined by a saline quality on the persistently brisk finish.” Vinous Media March 2015
2012 Riesling ‘Gaisbohl’ G.C.
“Traditionally Forst and Deidesheim may have a bit more of a ring to their name than Ruppertsberg, but the Gaisböhl shows no signs of an inferiority complex. The fruit on the nose comes across as a little greener with notions of gooseberry and melon, but the palate exhibits substance and opulence. This impressive demonstration of power is completed by more than just a hint of salty minerality.” 17.5/20 JancisRobinson.com
‘This estate has consistently produced some of the finest dry rieslings of any given vintage from an incredible arsenal of excellent vineyards. One of the first estates in Germany to embrace biodynamic viticulture, Burklin-Wolf is now able give each wine its own voice, and in 2007 they all sang in perfect tune. There are few estates in the world that could match this performance-and then throw in excellent TBAs for good measure.’
Steve Tanzer Jan/Feb ‘09
2011 Riesling ‘Gaisbohl’ G.C.
“Hints of fennel and basil accent fresh apple and grapefruit in a lusciously fruited, silken-textured Burklin-Wolf 2011 Ruppertsberger Gaisbohl Riesling trocken GC that despite its low residual sugar in no way comes off as too-dry let alone austere. Smokiness of black tea and piquancy of apple and citrus pips add to the stimulation of a succulent and superbly sustained finish. This beauty should prove delightful to follow through at least 2020. 92” eRobertParker.com March 2014
2008 Riesling ‘Gaisbohl’ G.C. Very limited
“The tiny volume of 2008 Ruppertsberger Gaisbohl Riesling GC smells of green tea, fresh lime, and peach kernel. This displays palpable density with buoyancy in the best vintage man ner. A rather severe back-end concentration of citrus rind, crushed stone, and dusty pungency may partly reflect the legacy of hail that ravaged Ruppertsberg vineyards twice in a single season, but these characteristics are part and parcel of the wine’s formidable persistence. 90” Wine Advocate #Februaru 2010
2007 Riesling ‘Gaisbohl’ G.C. Very limited
“Features brown-spiced persimmon and peach, with pronouncedly chewy phenolics, herbal pungency, and fruit pit piquancy carrying into its finish. Fresh lime adds liveliness to this rather plushly-textured Riesling and palpably dense Riesling that ought to a decade or more of cellaring. 91” eRobertParker.com October 2009
2011 Riesling ‘Kirchenstuck’ G.C. Very limited
‘2011 Forster Kirchenstuck Riesling trocken GC proves surprisingly herbal and pungent as well as brightly citric. At 13% alcohol, it’s also – contrary to what I’d expect from this site – lower in alcohol than other wines of its collection. The decadence here is by way of faded iris and lily-of-the-valley and the animality by way of mouthwatering urchin roe shading toward a sweet-saline and otherwise mineral savor. Black tea smokiness, bite of white pepper, crushed stone and sizzling lemon rind combine for a piquantly gripping though still also refreshing finish. This should merit following through at least 2022 and hopefully well beyond. 92’ eRobertParker.com March 2014