There's a lot to be said about Ulrich Stein, which is kind of funny to think about when you consider how much has already been said (seriously, just Google his name). His passion for cultivating and winemaking in the Mosel region of Germany borders on the obsessive, which makes sense when you consider the backbreaking amount of work it takes to farm on some of the steepest slopes in the world. He's a polarizing figure too, at once a legendary icon of the region and a battle axe against the formidable traditions of an unwavering system of German wine laws. Although it should be noted that he successfully sued to repeal a ban on the planting and production of red wines, allowing for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Spätburgunder. So his legal standing is pretty legit on these issues.
His stewardship for the region, in the face of extreme climate challenges, is considerable. He's possessed of a deep understanding of the viticulture, the history and the path forward that requires trailblazing. The lower parts of the slopes in the Mosel are now forging ahead with red grape varietals that are better suited to the intense warmth and early ripening that results. Meanwhile, in the upper slopes, he continues to produce some of the most iconic Rieslings in all of the Mosel while facing some of the most challenging working conditions anywhere in the world. Some of the terraces are at slopes approaching 80 degrees, which is nearly beyond comprehension. But to help you conceptualize that, imagine you were farming 6.5 hectares, manually, with elevations of 400+ meters and a slope that's not too dissimilar to the angle your wall forms with your floor.
Unlike many of his colleagues in the region, Dr. Stein (pHd in Biology) is primarily known for dry wines and a small production of red wines and rosé. All grapes are hand picked, usually in multiple passes, and fermented in very old 1000L Mosel Fuders. The fruit in this "entry-level" Riesling is from younger parcels in the estate as well as fruit purchased from close friends in the area. The wine is aged in steel and large barrels for 6 months, on lees, and clocks in at a racy 11.1% ABV and 6g RS (or residual sugar).
There's a luscious quality on the palate, from the slight hint of RS, backed by a thorough rollicking of minerality and acidity. Soft notes of juicy peach, apricot and nectarine with very light white florality, brisk citrus and a touch of white pear. And it's all packed up in this convenient 1L format because a standard sized bottle would end with you saying "damn, I wish there was a little bit more!"
This has all the summer time, patio-sipping vibes you could hope for but you can also be assured that Riesling kicks so much ass as a food pairing. Have it with sushi, chicken wings, fried chicken, fish and chips, Indian takeout, Thai curries, medium-hot Pad Thai, grilled seafood, Kung Pao chicken, a sandwich, a bag of chips. Honestly, the opportunities are endless and with 1000ml at your disposal, why not try a bunch at the same time and find your favourite combo?