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Top Wines From One of Rheinhessen's Finest Producers - Weingut Thörle

One tends to assume that everyone interested in wine will also, ipso facto, have an interest in Pinot Noir. This Burgundian grape is often held aloft as the ne plus ultra of dark-skinned varieties, in its homeland producing wines that encompass all the attributes one assigns to fine-ness in red wine i.e. elegance; complexity, and a ravishing beauty to top things off.

And limestone is the soil one most associates with this most noble of grapes, “argilo-calcaire” (clay-limestone) being the stock response of Burgundy vignerons to the enquiry of the specific soil in this or that vineyard. Depth of soil may change from place-to-place, and the volume of stones may vary (so affecting the drainage) from one vineyard to another, but clay-limestone is ubiquitous throughout the Côte and is, perhaps, the main contributor to the widespread fame of red  (and white, for that matter) burgundy. 

Pinot Noir is, of course, grown outside Burgundy and on a diversity of soils. Yet one always pricks up one’s ears when one hears that one is tasting a wine from a limestone slope. The expectation is of additional pleasure: an extra level of finesse and charm.

German Pinot Noirs 

Germany is increasingly famed for Pinot Noirs that can compete with Burgundy's best.Richard Hemming MW
One such place is the Rheinhessen in Germany. Where German red wines used to be a source of rather unkind humour, they are now being touted as some of the finest made anywhere. And prices are starting to reflect this (2016 Morstein Felix Spatburgunder GG from Keller at £3,050 in bond per 6 anyone??).
The estate of Thörle is based in Saulheim in the Rheinhessen and their recent Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder in German) vintages have been proclaimed as some of the finest reds produced in the country. 

Thörle has been run by brothers Johannes and Christoph since 2006. They work organically and are moving towards biodynamic culture. 

And, of course, besides Pinot Noir the brothers also grow Riesling. Yet this is Riesling from limestone: an altogether different and more Burgundian prospect to wines from elsewhere in Germany that might be grown on slate or loam. 

2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are all very highly regarded harvests in Germany, as the following tasting notes attest.

The Wines

***DISCLAIMER: I am not 100% certain that these German tasting notes translate very well! You will see what I mean as you read them.***

2017 Spätburgunder, Thörle
£66 in bond per 6   Drink 2020-2023
“Astringent, slightly chalky and a hint of tobacco, with red and a little black berries and bacony and earthy notes. Ripe, tangy-juicy fruit with dried vegetable to slightly tobacco and chalky-mineral notes, some acid bite, fine sandy tannin, peppery spice, lasting, somewhat deep, chalky-mineral tones, good to very good, firm, tart finish. Very much Pinot Noir for the money."

2017 Saulheim Spätburgunder Kalkstein, Thörle
£108 in bond per 6   Drink 2020-2025
"Slightly smoky and nutty scent of red and a little black berries with bacon, earthy-mineral and floral nuances. Clear, ripe, tangy-juicy, fresh and rather cool fruit with slightly nutty and smoky wood notes, a hint of bacon and chalky-mineral tones, fine, youthful tannin, some bite, salty notes, good persistence, a hint of tobacco and cocoa, very good, tangy-juicy, tight finish."

2016 Spatburgunder Hölle, Thörle
£180 in bond per 6   Drink 2020-2029
"More root and sous-bois character than the other 2016 Thorle pinot noirs. This is so fine and so deep, so cool and so elegant that you might easily assume it comes from the Côte d'Or! Great tannins build like a giant wave and sweep you through the super- long finish. Drink or hold. 96/100."

2017 Spatburgunder Hölle, Thörle
£198 in bond per 6   Drink 2020-2029
Opens with pure, ripe but wonderfully tart cherry aromas, expressed on the palate as pristine fruit. A vivid spine of freshness with concentrated fruit, enfolded by gossamer tannins that make this into a sinuous, seductive wine. That aromatic cherry freshness gets you in the end. From almost 50-year-old vines, this spent 22 months in used and new French oak." Anne Krebiehl MW

2019 Silvaner Probstey, Thörle
£165 in bond per 6   Drink 2020-2024
"What a beauty this dry white is! It has the stature of Premier Cru white burgundy. However, it's in the Cinderella corner, because the Silvaner has so few fans internationally. Stunning nose, with super-ripe pear and hints of shiso leaf and fresh coriander. And at the finish, it does what so many dry silvaners don't, it goes on tiptoe and gently leads you into the distance. Excellent aging potential. 95/100."

2019 Riesling Probstey, Thörle
£144 in bond per 6   Drink 2021-2026
"Slightly yeasty citrus stone fruit scent with herbaceous-vegetal aromas, hinted yellow spice, mushroomy traces and floral nuances. Firm, light fruit with present acidity, yeasty notes and herbal to herbaceous aromas, some grip, light minerality, persistent on the palate, good substance, first a bit repellent, with air umami is added, reminiscent of morels, some depth, very good, rather tart finish."

2019 Riesling Hölle, Thörle
£162 in bond per 6  Drink 2021-2026
"A near-perfect marriage of power and elegance gives this wine compelling presence and the precise interplay of lemon curd, nectarine, wild herb and leesy aromas, with the impressive concentration and racy acidity, is a beauty to behold. Excellent length. 96/100."



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