The first thing to tell you is: the wines are stellar. That’s not a word I casually throw around. Schlossgut Diel belongs in the class of the elite. The wines will wow you. Armin occupies an unprecedented position in the wine world. He is proprietor of his estate on the Nahe, and he is perhaps the most influential wine writer in Germany. Imagine if Bob Parker owned one of the 1st-Growth Bordeaux: just like that. Needless to say neither Armin nor his colleagues writing for the same books or magazines review the wines of Schlossgut Diel, which is why the name doesn’t appear on the various lists of estate “classifications.” But of course there’s a meta-message: “The man is such an expert, imagine how good his own wines must be.” The ethics of the situation are quite sophisticated to American sensibilities, yet behind it all are the wines themselves. The rieslings hail most importantly from a trio of contiguous Grand Crus: Goldloch on thin loam and gravel over a rocky subsoil, Burgberg on quartzite, and Pittermännchen on Hunsrück slate. “The age of the vines are similar in the three sites, the microclimates are similar in the three sites, only a few meters separate them from one another, yet they are entirely different based on terroir,” say Armin and his cellar-master Christoph Friedrich.
Elite blue-chip estate on the lower Nahe, producing scintillating terroir-driven rieslings ranging from tingly slatey to baroque. Attentive viticulture and intelligent craftsmanship in the cellar make this one of Germany’s leading estates.
Wine Advocate (R. Parker) 92
Cooler, more complex and overtly mineral than the baroque apricotty Kabinett. There’s talc and pear here, and the salt-crystal richness of aged Comté; it was in fact picked earlier than the Kabinett—remember, though “Spätlese” means “late-picked,” in reality it’s all about the must-weight, and a Kabinett from marginal land could well be harvested later than Spät or even Auslesen from the sirloin plots. This wine’s still ample, as Goldloch always is, but with greater refinement and composure. Aristocratic, in short. Goldloch With nearly ten acres (4 ha) Schlossgut Diel is by far the largest owner of this legendary steep site. One explanation of the name is that miners searched for gold here in the 17th century. Another is that the wines made from this site are worth their weight in gold. The key to success is in the soil. A thin layer of clay over bedrock provides power, elegance and depth to the wines.
A virtually perfect estate Riesling; highly aromatic, cox-orange and lemon blossom; the palate is dry and spicy with a charming note of honey, though honey from which the sweetness has somehow been removed; zippy and salty and in the ideal food-zone. ~Terry Theise
Sommelier Alert! Core List Wine. A delicious and (again) perfectly balanced Riesling; glorious fragrance, talc and golden-delicious apples; I don’t remember a better edition of this wine; it’s the perfect classic not-hardly-sweet Kabinett. “Great drinkyness,” as Caroline says. Stretched taut but neither austere nor lean. A Riesling Ideal. ~Terry Theise
Rose rose rose! Stylish and sleek with vinosity, as always, but determined by the vintage. Years like ’12 will be “fuller” and years like ’14 will be “slimmer.” But they all have class. ~Terry Theise
Markedly accessible at this stage, showing the talc, white flowers and key lime profile of Goldloch, not the sometimes baroque pitted fruit facets. The palate is aerial yet stern, delicate yet intense, kelpy, a dashi of Riesling—ginger, tapioca, coconut… and the alcohol?? What Federspiel is in the same universe as something like this?
Pungently slatey; ostensibly lighter but curiously lingering and stubborn; a wine of twigs and shoots and small bones, Riesling with no concessions; intricate trigonometry of gravelly mineral, lacy hoar-frost tracings of delicate little threads of Riesling love.
Shimmering and brilliant to an almost ludicrous degree; reminds me of the 1-star Auslese from Christoffel, the buzzing slate, para-slate, the lashing gorgeousness of naked slate; a parfait of green apple.