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  • Richard Hemming MW
Written by
  • Richard Hemming MW
5 May 2017

From €8.50, 99.95 Danish krone, 1,716 yen, £13.20, 17.80 Swiss francs, NZ$30 

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As so many of us spend our lives online these days, the concept of unplugging becomes ever more appealing. Indeed, there exist companies who specialise entirely in providing 'digital detox retreats' such as Unplugged Weekend. About whom I found out about online, of course. 

A bottle of Martin Tesch's Unplugged Riesling therefore sounds like the ideal way to unwind. However, its name originates from a slightly different meaning - that of unplugged music recordings. In this case, as their website says, 'the term unplugged stands for acoustic musical performances that allow the performer to reach the audience in a personal and intimate manner. With the electronic amplification and distortion switched off, the musicians are forced to develop a pure sound.' (One of the most legendary such performances, for my generation at least, was by Nirvana for MTV back in 1993.)

The comparison with winemaking is explicit: by minimising accoutrements, the source material is given maximum chance to shine. So it proved with the 2014 vintage of Riesling Unplugged, which I tasted recently in London and enjoyed very much. It displayed all the deliciously pure citrus fruit that Riesling excels at, plus flavour complexity thanks to floral and slate flavours, plus an emerging oily note that betrayed its nascent bottle maturity. As a Nahe wine, it was reasonably full bodied, and has a bone-dry, extensive finish.

I scored it 17 out of 20, and see that Jancis and Julia gave it 16.5 and 16 respectively. They reversed their scores for the 2015 vintage, which I haven't tasted myself, but have no hesitation in recommending this excellent vintage based on such extracts from their notes as: 'super-dry, with searingly bright, mouth-watering acidity founded on a depth of fruit that is crystalline without being overtly fruit-flavoured except in the extremities of citrus. I defy anyone to sleep through this', and 'extremely opulent, come-hither nose of fully ripe Riesling. Finely chiselled with quite noticeable acidity on the palate. This is just the sort of wine you (I) would seize on in a wine bar.'

In Germany, it was apparently quite controversial to baptise this wine with an English name, but such innovations, modest though they may seem, are precisely what is needed to afford Riesling the renaissance that so many wine lovers have been rooting for. Unplugged Riesling has a smart bottle, user-friendly fruitiness and the type of crisp refreshing acidity that has made the likes of Sauvignon Blanc so popular. With delicious and well-branded examples such as Unplugged, it remains mysterious why Riesling hasn't become more popular. 

Here at JancisRobinson.com we will continue to plug away.

Martin Tesch was a pioneer of screwcaps in Germany. See A decade of Tesch Rieslings under screwcap.

Find the 2014

Find the 2015