When the cork screw slowly works its way down, you probably have quite a good idea of what is in the bottle. Probably one of your favourite wines from a trusted producer, or at times, a recommendation from a wine friend. But how often do you totally leave your comfort zone? Sybille and her husband, Markus Kuntz-Riedlin, visited Stockholm last November 2018. Then, just like now, a range of high-quality rieslings was on the table from the Mosel and exciting spätburgunders from Baden. But this time, early summer 2019, two new and very exciting bottles were included.
In Sweden Kuntz is present with eight products. From 2016 Trocken to more mature things such as 2003 Auslese Goldkapsel. If you are several people around the table there is also a 2012 Spätlese in magnum. Mosel’s magnum bottles must be the wine world’s most beautiful bottles to serve from with their long graceful form.
When I compared the notes from today’s tasting with the notes from November 2018, I note that once again Kuntz Mosel Riesling Spätlese Trocken 2012 won everyone’s appreciation. The 2012 harvest did not get any botrytis at all, so nothing sweeter than this was produced. That is, no Auslese, Beerenauslese and so on. A wonderfully clean, stony and fresh start with subtle citrus notes. Pleasant mouth-feel with a soft-and refreshing acidity and a delightfully long aftertaste. A good match to the magical bits to eat that restaurant Videgård served.
Spätburgunder from Baden toils in a seemingly endless uphill struggle on the Swedish market. An undeserved battle it may seem when one gets the opportunity to taste well-made wines from the region. Riedlin Rosé 2018 is a good example of how your guests can get a dignified accompaniment to summer food. Riedlin Rosé is made by Sybille Kuntz husband Markus Riedlin under his own name at Weingut Riedlin. Energetic, clean, red berries with distinct fresh tones of strawberries. The reference to strawberries is made very reluctantly, since parallels can be drawn to some form of jam or sweetness, which is not at all the case. Relatively solid mouth-feel that fills the mouth. A lovely food wine with budding intensity that, and now I am guessing highly subjectively, will gain from one or two years in the cellar.
After the rosé came a glass with the 2014 Riedlin Rot which was visually similar to the dark hues of the rosé. A dark rosé next to a very bright spätburgunder gave a first impression of weak muscles. But don’t judge a book by its cover. The wine offers much more power than the colour suggests. Cold-climate notes, I found some spices, herbs and a hint of barrels. Neat and well-made.
But the tastings most intense ah:s and oh:s came with the following two wines.
Nowhere else do you find two so separated camps. You have the traditionalists who dislike it and you have the hip and trendy ones who unquestioningly slurp everything they come across with a loud sigh of gratification. We talk about orange wines or natural wines. Sybille Kuntz grows organically since 1990 and is biodynamically certified since 2016, but produced her first wine in this genre as late as 2015. Markus smiles and chuckles and says that it is “really spooky” to adjust to the phases of the moon and the positions of the stars.
At our table, no one had any previous experience of Kuntz’s experimentation with the much-talked-about wine style. Not unexpectedly, a poorly concealed muttering was heard from one of our most renowned wine writers … before he had tasted the wine! For my own part, I admit that I thought something in the same direction although I chose to choke my preconceived ideas. Sybille Kuntz Riesling Natural 2018, now a three-fold increased production since the wine was first introduced in 2015. In 2018, 17,000 bottles were bottled, half of which were reserved immediately and a large part was exported to Sweden closely followed by Norway. The nose directs makes you think of tutti-frutti on a quality foundation of riesling topped with tones of varnish. Soft and long acid, completely different mouth feel. Dry, unfiltered, mineral and orange peel notes. I have understood that the wine has a great commercial success and I am very curious to know what the fans serve to go with the wine?
To finish, Sibylle Kuntz Riesling Orange 2018. A rich and crispy nose. Caramel, fudge, toffee. Soft and lovely notes towards orange peel. High-strung and rather hard acidity, appley and a touch unripe fruit. To me, this belongs to a whole new generation of orange wines where the producer has managed to shake off the wildest tones and replaced them with a clean and really stylish taste experience. The muttering wine writer opposite me stopped in any case with the noises, which I interpret as that it was not only I who was pleasantly surprised.
Sven-Olof Johansson is a wine enthusiast in Stockholm with a long history of wine tasting experiences.
This post is also available in: Swedish