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Battenfeld Spanier’s ‘Liquid Earth’ tasted and rated as it launches on La Place

On 26 September, a dry Riesling from a German wine growing estate will be sold via la Place de Bordeaux for the first time in the history of Bordeaux‘s négociant system. Our Bordeaux correspondent Colin Hay has sampled the release to bring you his verdict. 

As already reported by db, that estate is Weingut Battenfeld Spanier, the négociant is one of Bordeaux’s finest, Maison Ginestet, and the wine is the exquisite 2017 vintage of “C.O. Liquid Earth” (tasting note below).

Ginestet’s general manager, Franck Lederer, expressed his excitement about the opportunity to distribute this rising star of German Riesling for the first time: “German white wine, and in particular the bio-dynamically cultivated terroir wines of H.O. Spanier, has earned its place in the finest restaurants and collections of passionate wine connoisseurs the world over. We are happy and proud to do our part bringing this wine on the famous table of the world.”

The respect is clearly mutual, with winemaker H. O. Spanier commenting on behalf of the property, “There‘s not a partner in the world from our point of view with a better understanding of our fine, uncompromising Rieslings and with better commercial connections worldwide. Maison Ginestet already distributes many of our absolute favourite wines and we‘re so thrilled to join their distinguished list with our own bottles”.

Winemaker H.O. Spanier

‘C.O.’ comes from the craggiest section of the Zellertal, situated between Frauenberg GC and Schwarzer Herrgott GC, and is harvested only as the last of the other fruit is coming in. C.O. is fully a creation of the Zellertal itself, with the fruit sourced entirely from a selection of the oldest vines and the finest parcels. The most important plots are owned solely by the estate and, as a consequence, were not classified in 1998. These are popularly known as “Bei den Felsen” in reference to the calcareous and rocky subsoil. They produce wine with an intense sense of minerality and great salinity – an effect likened to drinking pure stone, hence the ‘Liquid Earth by H.O.’ epithet.

As Carolin Spanier-Gillot explains, the wine is a Family Reserve “produced for our wedding in 2005 … Since then we have only shared it with our absolute closest friends.”

‘C.O.’ is released only after extended maturation spent in the estate’s dedicated, and purpose built, aging cellar. Only a few retailers and journalists have had the opportunity to taste this rare and exceptional wine. I am lucky enough to count myself amongst them, having tasted the wine at Ginestet’s hors Bordeaux tasting in Paris earlier in September.

Franck Ledered explains further. “With Battenfeld Spanier, we weren’t just deciding on another outstanding producer, we were taking on an estate like no other. One of the most renowned Riesling estates, holding one of the most fascinating micro-appellations, the Zellertal, with three decades of history working organically and bio-dynamically. That produces a wine of moderate alcohol content, depth, expression, and which is released onto the market at the perfect stage of maturation. An opportunity that even we would perhaps only encounter once and that we absolutely wanted to share with our best distributors in the world!

“H.O. and Carolin have a motto: ‘Nature guides our way. Only when we listen properly can we find the right solutions.’ We couldn‘t have said it better ourselves and look forward to joining in the effort,” he said.

Maison Ginestet will distribute Battenfeld Spanier ‘C.O. Liquid Earth’ worldwide, except in Germany and Austria, where the long-standing partners of the Spanier-Gillot family will retain their exclusive distribution.

Tasting note

  • Weingut Battenfeld Spanier C.O. Liquid Earth Riesling 2017 (100% Riesling; 12.5% alcohol; sweetness 2.5 g/l; total acidity 7.5 g/l; just 1500 bottles produced). An extraordinary wine. Subtle, elegant, refined, with amazing lift, brightness and vivacity – almost gravity defying in its calcaire verticality. Grapefruit pith, yuzu, lime, peach skin and tangerine oil, a hint of wild spring flowers and freshly picked mint. Very intellectual, slightly under-stated and with amazing purity, precision and finesse. Aromatically very expressive yet at the same time so subtle and delicate and with a beautiful intense fluid minerality (liquid terroir, I guess). This is well-named and very special indeed. I only wish there were more bottles made – but it wouldn’t be what it is if there were… ! 97+

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