2009 Matthias Dostert Elbling Alva

Elbling? Heard of it? It was believed to have been originally planted in Germany by the Roman’s around the first century and remained widely so until well into the 20th century before becoming the afterthought it is today. There are still something on the order of 1,500 acres grown along the Upper Mosel and a quarter more of that across the border in Luxembourg. Now most know that this is Riesling territory and there would likely be even less Elbling planted if not for the formers inability to grow in chalk based soils. That said the majority that is grown is used as a base for Sekt (the German version of sparkling wine) and little of the rest is exported so in remains an obscure varietal to the vast majority of those outside of (and potentially within) Germany. As an interesting aside this varietal was part of the first ever release of Gundlach Bundschu in 1976 under the name of Kleinberger (pdf) which is but just one of many synonyms for this one. From what I can tell they last bottled this as part of the 2000 vintage. Wonder if they are still making it…but I digress. Elbling is known to produce “wines high in acid and fairly neutral in character”. In fact Jancis Robinson described it as being “distinguished for its searing acidity”. What did I think? Read on…

2009 Matthias Dostert Elbling AlvaPrice: $12.99 @ Cheese Plus imported by Savio Soares

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “It’s hard to classify this wine since Elbling is the grape varietal and no one has every really heard of it. It is an ancient Roman varietal that still has a very small, very hidden following in Germany’s Mosel region. It is dry, it is aromatic and it is extraordinarily unique. The grape shows floral nuances not dissimilar to viognier but the flavors are not as honeyed or over the top. There is also a wonderful streak of acidity that keeps it focused. Finally, the wine has such an intriguing earthy finish you can’t help but be enchanted by its subtle hint of musk. Yes, it is a little geeky (okay maybe a lot geeky) but you can definitely be one of the few elite to experience this unique grape varietal.”

What I Think:

(12%) 100% Elbling – My first Elbling and I’ll just cut to the chase by letting you know I want more. Citrus, tropical and floral on the nose this one starts dry and crisp on the palate with loads of peaches (perhaps just a hair underripe). From there a tangy acidity emerges which is joined by lemon flavors on a crisp, refreshing finish. This one is pure, vibrant goodness and worth stocking up on for the summer (and winter too)…

Rating: Wow!

Special thanks to Greg Borden who is the wine buyer at Cheese Plus for turning me onto this one. How about all of you? Discovered any new varietals lately?