From €7, £9.95, $TBC
If you are yet to be converted to the thrill and sheer pleasure of dry-tasting Riesling, this wine should do the trick. If you are already a fan, this is a little gem of Riesling intensity at a great price.
I say dry-tasting because it is not technically bone dry, having 5 g/l residual sugar and just 11.5% alcohol, but with fully integrated acidity of 8.9 g/l, what you taste is not sweetness but deliciously intense, zesty and racy lemon fruit combined with the finesse of beautifully balanced Riesling.
Eighty per cent of Alex Pflüger's vineyards are farmed biodynamically, the rest organically, and this wine comes from a selection of those vineyards, the vines aged between 5 and 15 years, around Bad Dürkheim and Wachenheim in the Pfalz. The label carries the EU organic wine logo because the fruit would have to be 100% biodynamic for the wine to be Demeter certified.
The fruit is harvested by hand, then allowed a short time on the skins (about eight hours) before pressing, without fining. Fermentation in stainless-steel tanks takes around three weeks. At the moment about half of the juice is fermented using ambient yeasts, the other half using selected dried yeast, but Pflüger plans to increase the percentage of spontaneous fermentation.
Pflüger means 'ploughman', hence the label illustration, and Buntsandstein means 'coloured sandstone'. When I asked Alex if he thought the Buntsandstein gave the wine its particularly deep fruit flavour, which is both lemony and almost exotic, his reply was to send me a bottle of his Fuchsmantel Riesling 2013. Made in smaller volumes and with greater concentration and additional complexity, with herbal, smoky notes, this more expensive wine, not yet available in the UK or US, confirms Pflüger's view that the site really does give the wine its particular character. The Fuchsmantel is already impressive but is almost too primary now and will benefit from some time in bottle.
What I particularly loved about the Pflüger, Buntsandstein 2013 was its purity, energy and intense Riesling-ness in a style that is both approachable and refined, not to mention seriously well priced. Even though I am sure it will develop well in the bottle, I'd happily enjoy all that fine fruit right now.
It is imported into the UK by David Dudley-Jones, who enlisted the help of wine writers Stuart Pigott and Ursula Heinzelmann, based in Berlin, to scout out a tip-top dry Riesling that he could sell for under £10. You can buy it direct from Dudley-Jones Fine Wine at £9.75, with a 10% discount on a case of 12. If you want to buy a single bottle and live in Cirencester or Dorchester, go to Oeno (£12) or the Dorset Wine Company (£11.45) respectively.
As from late May or early June, the wine will be available in the US via importers Valckenberg (contact Michael.Therrien@Valckenberg.com), and it is already to be found in the Netherlands (Smaragd Wijnen), Belgium (Allied Vintners International) and Austria (Weinzeit).
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