Riesling Joern Schlossberg

Condrieu from Rheingau

Joern – Riesling Schlossberg 2015

Nobody makes wine like Joern Goziewski. Although I have written about this Rheingau insider tip par excellence several times before (here and as part of my work for the Eichelmann Wine Guide), I felt that this 2015 Schlossberg deserved its very own article. For me, no other wine from Joern’s small range summarizes his style as well as this slightly matured Riesling, which doesn’t want to taste like Riesling at all.

This is mainly due to the fact that Joern does things with his grapes no other Riesling winemaker would do. First of all, Joern relies on full ripeness and sometimes harvests well over 24 or 25 Brix for his dry wines. The wines then ferment on the skins for several months and spend 24 months on the lees in barriques. The combination of maceration and long ageing on the lees may sound ordinary at a time when so-called natural wine has become widespread in the industry. But unlike almost all natural wine hipsters, Joern uses new heavy toast barriques.

No doubt about it, the combination of lots of oak, lots of tannin and lots of alcohol makes for a full-bodied wine. But if you know how it is made, you are surprised that it is not even more brutal. In relative terms, it seems almost delicate. With its alcohol and aromas of orange peel, Joerns Schlossberg is less reminiscent of a Riesling than a Viognier from Condrieu. This is also more of an elephant on ice skates than an elegant ballerina. Even the alcohol content of 15 percent suits the Riesling here beautifully. Paradoxically, alcohol in wine often tastes less alcoholic in high doses because at some point the sweetness of the glycerine alcohol outweighs the heat of the ethanol alcohol. Alcoholic taste is therefore always a question of balance, not concentration. That’s why Joern’s Schlossberg is not a bit overpowering, but pleasant to drink with its aromas of citrus peel, bitter orange and its herbal note, almost like a vermouth. If Joern’s wines weren’t so rare and this one wasn’t priced so high at ~100 euros, I would even consider mixing a Negroni with it. And that’s meant as a compliment!

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