2011 Dr. Burklin-Wolf Forster Pechstein Riesling Beerenauslese (375 ml) 伯克爾沃爾夫 - 佩克斯坦雷司令甜酒
A Burklin-Wolf 2011 Forster Pechstein Riesling Beerenauslese – picked out alongside the fruit that informed their corresponding dry wine – prominently features mango, papaya, and overripe Persian melon, while incorporating pungent accents of green tea and peppermint that point more characteristically toward its vineyard of origin. Penetrating overtones of distilled pear and apricot along with a very pure, ethereal note of sheer botrytis secretion add allure to a polished, glycerol-rich, subtly creamy and uncannily buoyant palate, leading to a lusciously lingering finish that combines lime sherbet, tropical fruit concentrate, honey, and liquefied floral as well as cooling herbal essences in kaleidoscopic interaction with crustacean and mineral elements including salivary gland-milking salinity. On those nowadays rare occasions when this estate essays a nobly sweet Riesling – even as they take pains to suggest that this happens only when it’s a necessary byproduct of capturing the best expression of a site in dry format – the results are as sensational as any scored during the decades-long period when such wines (and, indeed, residually sweet Rieslings generally) were abundant features of Burklin-Wolf collections. I see no reason to suspect that this masterpiece will prove any less long-lived than have Burklin Beerenauslesen of the 1970s or 1980s, none of which I have yet experienced in decline.
In August, 2012, Fritz Knorr – cellarmaster at Burklin-Wolf since 1990; in which capacity, incredibly, he was preceded by his father, grandfather and great grandfather! – died of a heart attack while on holiday. (His father had died under eerily similarly circumstances not to mention equally prematurely.) But Knorr had begun in 2010 grooming a very young successor, Italian-born Nicola Libelli, who is, amazingly, in charge of a cellar team as young, or younger, than his 27 years. (Alexander Strohschneider continues to take the lead in this estate’s biodynamically farmed vineyards.) Picking here in 2011 stretched from mid-September to October 8. That their 2011s were often so citric – and, at the low end of their price scale, almost stridently bright (with analytical acid levels to match) – amazed me, given the nature of this vintage and Burklin’s presumed unwillingness to acidify. A few lots were bottled already in winter – though seemingly without sacrificing quality – and the “grand cru” wines in July. If the 2011s here displayed unusual animation and brightness for their vintage, the 2010s – after slight disappointment in the two lower-level wines that were de-acidified and in a couple of the “PC” bottlings – managed to buffer out their high acids and achieve immediately engaging complexity without the austerity that characterizes so many dry Pfalz Rieslings of that vintage. Alcohol hovers around 13% in all of these 2010s so in that sense the “PC”s cannot be called lighter. Yet I find them out-performing in aggregate the “GC”s much in the way that a couple of instances a 2010 collection’s lighter wines out-performed its Grosse Gewachse. This left me wondering whether despite the challenge to sheer ripening of Riesling fruit in this vintage, the warmest and traditionally best sites were often not for some reason privileged. The 2010 vintage “PC” wines were not bottled until the end of June – several weeks later than usual at this address, though entirely consistent with the late harvest; whereas the “GC” wines were bottled in July as usual, lest they be in a state of shock when the annual flurry of late-summer presentations comes ‘round. Especially in 2011, this estate has once-again demonstrated that it is among the half dozen or so most consistently successful in Germany at rendering well-balanced, completely dry Rieslings capable of dancing, not to mention of distinctively evoking the top Pfalz vineyards in which they grew.
Christopher Cannan Europvin Selections (various importers), Bordeaux; fax 001-33-5 57-87-43-22