This was a present from my wife to mark a significant birthday late last year, although I was allowed to buy the actual bottle myself at a wine shop in Freiburg, Germany. Whenever I enter the store, situated on the edge of the old town, I’m like a child in a sweet shop. So many lovely bottles to look at. But this time my mind was already made up.
Rings, Spätburgunder trocken, Saumagen, 2011, Pfalz
I’d been wanting to sample this wine for ages. The Rings brothers were responsible for one of our wedding wines, so this is a property we’re particularly fond of. We also stayed a couple of nights at the wine estate itself back in 2009. As far as I know, there is no B&B anymore, just a modern winery – Andreas and Steffen Rings have gone on to bigger and better things in the meantime, although they were already on a lot of people’s radars back then.
Typical Pinot ruby in appearance. This is expressive as soon as I open the bottle. Raspberry, chalk, mint leaves and a suggestion of cherry pralines on the nose. Sounds fairly banal, I know, but the aroma is extremely imposing and detailed. Some 24 hours later, the impression is more restrained – even reticent – and veers more in a lactic, or chocolatey, direction.
An initial surge of refreshing, almost sour acidity on the palate lends grip and urgency. Utterly crystalline in the mouth, with beautiful structure – quite ethereal. Or, as my wife succinctly remarks, “Heavy but light.” Mints notes emerge, becoming increasingly distinct. This is very complex. Only medium-bodied, satisfyingly dry, but dense and succulent. It goes without saying that the finish is long. A day later, the above impressions strangely feel a little more diffuse with less overall expression, but this isn’t really a quibble as such.
Exceedingly fine and up there with my most memorable Pinot Noir experiences.