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Heymann-Löwenstein, Röttgen, Riesling, 2008

Reinhard Löwenstein is a well known and, at least for some, controversial German wine figure. A communist in his youth, he is among the few writing winemakers (and not afraid to quote Marx) and also a vocal proponent of the idea of terroir in Germany. On his steep Mosel vineyards he almost exclusively grows Riesling, often substantial wines that need time to develop their potential.

I mention this because when the other day I wanted to introduce a friend to Löwenstein Riesling I only had a 2008 to hand and was a little concerned about opening the wine so early.

The colour certainly is already there, a shiny gold, pretty to look at. Immediately after I uncorked the bottle the aromas were shouting "I am a Riesling, get me out of here": crunchy mineral, petrol notes, wax and lovely lemon zest citrus mix with flowery and herbal notes, plus the odd addition of washing powder. On the tongue the Röttgen is tight, well structured and quite a presence. Dry at first, more sweet in the middle, this steely wine ends on a long mineral finish that is almost salty, yet blended with lemon-caramelised sweet fruit and spice.

A wine with character, not afraid to show moments of (light) sweetness because the steely core of mineral can take it. Already very good, I wonder what a few more years of ageing will do to it.

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