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Van Volxem Saar Riesling 2017

Van Volxem Saar Riesling 2017

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"The 2017 Saar Riesling comes in with 12% alcohol and a ripe, concentrated, late-harvested fruit bouquet with tropical fruit aromas. On the palate, this is a powerful, juicy, very intense yet mineral and tightly woven dry Riesling with an intense fruit core on the tight and salty, beautifully crystalline finish. Terribly concentrated and with immense aging potential, I'd cellar the 2017 for at least 6 years before I start thinking about it again. Tasted from AP #35 in June 2019. Drink: 2025-2037. 89+ points

With the new, self-confident and just-opened building and state-of-the-art-winery far above the Saar channel, the wines from Van Volxem are obviously reaching new heights, at least the top wines. The 2017s were already made here, and the crus are excellent, with some outstanding highlights. Cellar master and managing director Dominik Völk guided me through a tasting of a total of 30 wines from two vintages, mostly from 2017 as the 2018 crus were still in tanks in June (and they tasted superb, amazingly clear and fresh). The predicates, however, are rather disappointing and apparently made with less love or passion. Also, the négociant wines—from the Weinmanufaktur van Volxem—lack the personality of the the estate wines. Buyers should concentrate on the crus here, especially those from the oldest vines: Scharzhofberger P, Gottesfuss Alte Reben and Altenberg Alte Reben.

2018 was an extremely ripe year with high sugar levels. Völk started harvesting earlier than ever before, on September 14. Consequently, no wine exceeds 12.5% alcohol, and the GG (Grosses Gewächs) wines come in at 12% alcohol. "The berries tasted ripe when we picked them, even though the leaves were still green," says Völk. The acidity levels are analytically moderate but refreshing due to moderate pH levels, which were controlled by canopy management and a very gentle pressing of slightly crushed grapes over three hours with 1.5 bar. The wines went into the fermentation relatively clear after two rackings within a period of 60 hours. No enzymes were added. The fermentations were done in stainless steel (70%) and large oak casks (30%) and went slowly at 18 to 20 degrees Celsius. By the end of January, everything was fermented "by the skin of one's teeth" to dry except for BA and TBA. When dry, the wines were straightly racked from the lees in January/February, blended and then bottled in April. The 2018 Alte Reben is very promising, but the crus were even more fascinating—I tasted some of them from the vats and will report about those soon after my tastings in September this year."

Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (244)