I didn’t expect that I speak Japanese in this winery. A couple of Japanese wife and German husband, fans of their wine, were waiting for me as interprets. Thanks for them, I could have a great talk with Mr. Böhme at the long tasting table, where wine and Sushi were placed.
According to him, maximum private holding of land was limited to only 0.25ha. Everybody gave a lot of chemical fertilizer and the crop level reached 90 hl/ha. The centralized people’s winery fermented white wine at unbelievably high temperature, 30 degree. I wonder how awful it tastes. After that long and painful period, reunification was achieved and he immediately created his own high quality winery. Now he owns 9 ha of vineyard which are divided to 2 ha of Riesling, 3 ha of Weissburgunder, 1 ha of Sylvaner, 2 ha of Müller-Thurgau, 1 ha of others such as Bacchus or Gutedel.
I was surprised by Bacchus. I appreciate its beautiful nose and smooth texture but I usually give Bacchus wine a lower priority in my tasting list ( I wish I could taste all but the wine list of any winery of this country is too extensive! ) because it tends to be superficial and doesn’t have sufficient body or weight. But Mr. Böhme insisted `Bacchus is a very important wine in this region. You must try`. So I tried. He was right. Shell limestone soil gives this wine pleasantly tight, strong minerality and crisp acidity. He calls this wine ` Sauvignon Blanc of Saale-Unstrut` and it makes sense. His Bacchus has the nose of cassis bud, muscat, and herbal nose which is certainly similar to Sauvignon Blanc. It has 7 grams of residual sugar which not only is well-balanced to other elements but also adds a touch of Sylvaner-like creaminess. He also called this taste `For young generation`. If 20 years something old people encounter his Bacchus as the first wine, they can become very happy supporters of wine. And I just hope this kind of wine reaches the Japanese shore. Then many young people who are not accustomed with German wine discover the beauty of it from different perspectives. Now hundreds of Riesling from limited regions are on the shelf. Why do we need so many different Rieslings and virtually see no others? Who wants to dominate the market only with Riesling and who has gain from it? Think.
Gutedel, a variety very often underrated despite of the fancy name, is also impressive here. Baden is legitimately famous ( still far less from the ideal, though! ) for this grape, and there, it shows mild, smooth fruitiness. Here, it is more tense and quite minerally and keeps typically Saale-Unstrut, crisp acidity. Nevertheless, this Gutedel never loose discreet and humble beauty and the alcohol level is quite low. Those are two of the main characteristics of Gutedel wine which I admire a lot.
The indisputably prestigious wine here is Bergstein Weissburgunder Auslese Trocken。Its residual sugar is 6 to 7 grams and there is no sweet version of it. Mr. Böhme said, `The wine is almost always dry here`. This intensively flavoured masterpiece has distinctively noble panache and long, stable finish. This is an unquestionably the taste of Grand Cru. If there is a competition of Pinot Blanc from all over the world, I would recommend this as a candidate.
From the same vineyard, he makes Riesling. Even if I take the fact that Riesling was planted quite recently in 2003 into account, this wine shows unmistakable characters of imcompatibility between grape and soil, in short, it is rustic, awkwardly distorted, and solid. You can call this character a typicity of the terroir and it may be true, but it is, at least to my sense, a waste of time and money to make Riesling here since there are much better, suitable grape varieties such as Weissburgunder. Many people in the world still believe that Riesling is always great in Germany, I guess. Then if they try this Riesling and judge the quality of the winery and the place, it will be a huge loss for everybody. I hope Mr. Böhme believes in the potential of Weissburgunder and concentrates his effort to it more effectively.