Huge congratulations to Eva Clüsserath!
She’s just become the latest CellarHand portfolio member to be crowned Winemaker of the Year. The accolade is further confirmation that this humble estate in the Mosel Valley is a force to be reckoned with on the global Riesling scene.
Eva, who is married to Rheinhessen winemaker Philipp Wittmann, juggles the running of her estate with bringing up their two children among the goings-on at the stellar Wittmann winery.
She is, in short, a superwoman.
It’s great to have a new set of her pure, tense, engrossing wines arrive on the back of this richly deserved win.
Falstaff magazine said the verdict, the result of a blind vote by 150 judges, was almost unanimous.
“When the certificate was handed over, the winner insisted on presenting her current wines,” the editor reported, “from a remarkably precise and dense Gutsriesling to the profound dry single-vineyard wine from the Apotheke to the wonderfully firm, ideally juicy Kabinett.”
It’s time to enjoy the spoils of Eva’s success!
2020 Ansgar Clüsserath Vom Schiefer Riesling $40
The dry Riesling “Vom Schiefer” (literally, from slate) provides an introduction to the world of steep-site Rieslings from the Middle Mosel. The grapes for this wine are sourced from two individual sites. Trittenheimer Altärchen, on the left bank of the Mosel, with weathered, shale-based soils, brings forth Rieslings with aromas of citrus, grapefruit and orange peel. Neumagener Rosengärtchen, located north of Trittenheim, has loamy, weathered, shale-based soils. This cuvée is a sleek, sophisticated Riesling with a delicate minerality born of the internal dance between its two vineyards of origin. A spectrum of fruit flavours is on display here, from green apple to peach to grapefruit.
Excellent herbal, apple and lime freshness, married to impressive substance and very bright acidity that lifts this beautifully. Super-clean finish. Drink now. Screw cap.92 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com
2020 Ansgar Clüsserath Apotheke Trocken Riesling $100
This is Eva Clüsserath’s top dry bottling from this grand cru site. Trittenheim’s finest individual vineyard, Apotheke, lies on the right bank of the Mosel, opposite the village of Trittenheim.
Although Apotheke literally means pharmacy, the vineyard’s name does not refer to medicinal/healthful properties of its wines, but rather derives from a foundation established by the “Abtsberg” Abbey of Trier. It numbers among the top sites on the Mosel, not least due to its extreme slope of up to 78%. The southwest-facing hillside benefits from direct solar radiation well into late evening, a lengthy time during which the slate soils store heat – warmth that lengthens the ripening period. Weathered slate slopes with subterranean water veins ensure an optimal supply of nutrients and enable the vines to develop deep roots. Single-stake training is practiced in the family’s oldest parcels in this site planted with 60- to 80-year-old vines.
The grapes yield wines that have great aging potential and reflect complex minerality. In their youth, the wines show finesse; as they mature, rich fruitiness reminiscent of apricot and peach. 12% alcohol.
An astonishing nose that spans the range from fresh basil to persimmon and bergamot. Very concentrated and precise, but this retains the Mosel lightness in every fibre of its sleek and lithe body. Super-clean, long finish. Drink or hold.95 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com
2020 Ansgar Clüsserath Trittenheimer Kabinett $43
The fruit for this village-designated Kabinett comes from the Apotheke grand cru, Trittenheim’s finest individual vineyard site. It lies on the right bank of the Mosel, opposite the village of Trittenheim. ‘Apotheke’ literally means ‘pharmacy’ but the vineyard’s name doesn’t refer to the medicinal properties of its wines. It in fact derives from a foundation established by the “Abtsberg” Abbey of Trier.
With its extreme slope of up to 78%, Apotheke ranks among the top sites on the Mosel. The southwest-facing hillside benefits from direct sunlight well into late evening, a lengthy time during which the slate soils store heat, which extends the ripening period. Weathered slate slopes with subterranean water veins ensure an optimal supply of nutrients and allow the vines to develop deep roots.
The grapes yield wines with great aging potential and complex minerality. In their youth, the wines show finesse; as they mature, they display rich fruitiness reminiscent of apricot and peach. 8% alcohol.
A shining jewel of a Mosel Riesling with the sleek, racy and filigree personality that you associate with this category. What power there is behind this playful exterior! Drink or hold. Screw cap.93 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com
2020 Ansgar Clüsserath Trittenheimer Apotheke Spätlese $64
The Spätlese grapes are harvested after the Kabinett in order to achieve greater ripeness. It’s challenging acidity and minerality brilliantly counterbalance the ripe fruit and subtle fresh herbs of this naturally sweet beauty. As befits a premium wine, the grapes are always hand-harvested and gently pressed. The must is then fermented with native yeasts in traditional Mosel fuder barrels and left on the lees until May. 8% alcohol.
A ripe, concentrated and very polished Spätlese with fine mirabelle and lemon-zest aromas. Very elegant harmony on the medium-bodied palate with a long, clean and silky finish. Drink or hold.94 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com
2020 Ansgar Clüsserath Trittenheimer Apotheke Auslese $89
The handpicked grapes are gently pressed and then fermented with indigenous yeasts in traditional Mosel Fuder barrels. The wine is left on lees till May.
The Apotheke Auslese is a traditional dessert wine. The almost creamy texture and ripe fruit flavours on the palate are balanced with a complex slaty minerality and marked acidity in its youth. The sophisticated interplay of sweetness and acidity is enhanced with ripe, concentrated notes of exotic fruits, blackberry and fine herbs.
A cornucopia of vibrant, exotic-fruit and floral aromas are married to a rather luscious yet lively body that has so much to say about slate, the Mosel river and the clouds above this narrow valley. Very clean finish. Drink or hold.95 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com