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Karthäuserhof, Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg, Riesling Auslese Nr. 33, 2002

Karthäuserhofberg. Nothing demonstrates the place vineyards occupy in german wine culture like wineries that are synonymous with the vineyards that surround them. This must put some pressure on the staff, must it not? If you work at a place called Karthäuserhof and produce wine from a site that has been called Karthäuserhofberg from time out of mind, you better not screw it up. Not to worry. They never do.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. We need to talk a bit about the Ruwer valley first. The Ruwer is a southern tributary that flows into the Mosel just downstream from the town of Trier. When you try to trace it on google earth (which is a great occupation when you're too tipsy on wine to do anything more productive, but can't quite bring yourself to go to bed), you will find it hard to make out the river at all. That is because it is much smaller than the Mosel or even the Saar, and because vineyards take a distant second place to woods and fields. There is a woodland coolness there which actually seems to translate into the wines. With the best sweet Rieslings from the middle Mosel valley, you can imagine yourself sitting in the slate as under a magnifying glass and being baked by the sun. A Ruwer Auslese is more like sitting in the shade at the crest of the hill, where the cool woods begin, or on the mossy bank of a brook. You get the idea.

This Auslese is classic ruwer. Slatey and gorgeously sweet, make no mistake, mosel territory so far, but with a wonderful herbal coolness to go with the candied pineapple fruit, and iced tea, particularly the variety made with lemon balm. Noble balance and cleansing freshness in this wonderful wine. Required drinking.

(*) Photo by alcately, licensed CC 2.0

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