Reichsrat von Buhl

Monstrously Good Pfalz—Piercing, Earthy dry Riesling from one of the Great Estates of Germany

Talk about an embarrassment of riches. To give you an idea of how blessed this Estate is with its terroir, under the VDP’s Grosses Gewächs (Great Growth or Grand Cru) classification, Von Buhl ended up with seven Grosses Lage vineyards! Many of Germany’s other great Estates ended up with one or two.

At the heart of the Estate lies Von Buhl’s mighty quartet of basaltic vineyards, based around the tiny wine village of Forst; Kirchenstück (the most revered vineyard in the Pfalz), the Jesuitengarten (Garden of the Jesuits), Ungeheuer (The Monster) and Pechstein (Pitchstone). Then, there’s the beautiful ensemble of Erste Lage vineyards surrounding the village of Deidesheim—which includes holdings in Paradiesgarten, Herrgottsacker and Mäushöhle—not to mention a series of fine, unclassified sites spread across the hillside of the Mittelhaardt.

Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl has been regarded as one of Germany’s most renowned wineries since its founding in 1849 by Franz Peter Buhl. After a period of instability, under a series of absentee landlords and overseas investors, this iconic Pfalz estate is now under the stable ownership of the forward-thinking Niederberger-Seeger family. And, thanks to a series of talented winemakers at the helm, the quality at this Estate has roared back to life.

Stephan Weber got the ball rolling. Weber’s refocus on producing full-bodied, site-specific, dry Rieslings—via a medium of low yields, low input and organic viticulture—clearly had the modern-era, Von Buhl, playing to its greatest strengths.

At the turn of the 20th century this Estate’s wines fetched higher prices than top Bordeaux and Burgundy bottlings—thank heavens the same cannot be said today!

The arrival of the high-profile ex-Bollinger winemaker Matthieu Kauffmann, in 2012, alongside managing director Richard Groche, took things to an explosive new level. Kauffmann was brought in not only to reform the structure of the Estate but also to take Von Buhl’s sparkling program to another level. He did both, all the while assisted by Groche’s outward-looking and energetic management style. When Kauffmann arrived, he immediately set new parameters with a bone-dry, less ‘exotic’ style of Riesling.

Some of the keys to the Estate’s Kauffmann-era were a preference to ferment in large, 2400-litre dopplestück ovals, the practice of natural yeast fermentations, and his wine’s long, texture enriching élevage on full lees. Kauffman would also reduce the use of sulphur dioxide during vinification to the bare minimum, throw out the pumps (the wines are now moved by gravity alone) and the wines are no longer fined. All these factors, and more, would add up to a stunning rebirth for this storied Estate.

Following seven years of Kauffman-fuelled progress, Simone Frigerio took over as winemaker in 2019. Born and raised in Italy, Simone lived and breathed wine since childhood, assisting his grandparents in the family vineyard. If our recent tasting in Germany (2022) is anything to go by, the next chapter of Von Buhl’s history is in very safe hands.

Whichever wine you choose, know that Von Buhl’s Rieslings are wines that seemingly suck the minerals right out of their rocky soils. Despite their textural abundance and sheer mass of diamond-cut fruit, these tension-rich wines remain incredibly precise. Our core offering is a pulpy (and pourable) dry Riesling bottled exclusively for Bibendum. It’s a pithy, minerally value, with superb rocky texture providing a perfect foil for the mouth-watering, citrus-edged acidity and near bone-dry finish.

The Range

Reichsrat von Buhl Pfalz Riesling Trocken 2022
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Reichsrat von Buhl Pfalz Riesling Trocken 2022

Von Buhl’s entry-level wine is drawn from the estate’s great sandstone-rich vineyards around the villages of Deidesheim, Forst and Ruppertsberg. All the vineyards are certified organic. In the cellars, most of the juice is naturally fermented in tank, with some parcels fermented in Von Buhl's oval dopplestück oak casks. Even at this level, the wine’s upbringing includes extended lees aging (six months on gross lees). There is no pumping, and very low sulphur additions. This is a juicy, mineral-rich Riesling, with the extra palate weight of the vintage proving a perfect foil for the rocky texture, mouth-watering, citrus-edged acidity and near-absolute-dry finish. It will, as always, work wonders by the glass (and bottle).

This is a juicy, mineral-rich Riesling, with the extra palate-weight of the vintage proving a perfect foil for the rocky texture, mouth-watering, citrus-edged acidity and near-absolute-dry finish. It will, as always, work wonders by the glass (and bottle).

Reichsrat von Buhl Pfalz Riesling Trocken 2022
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“When the Wine Advocate's Italy reviewer Monica Larner, Robert M. Parker Jr. and others of the larger team met up at Hedonism Wines in London earlier this year for the launch of the 100 Points magazine everybody was asked to select a wine for the night. I chose the 2002 Riesling Kirchenstück from Reichsrat von Buhl and, youthful and vibrant as it still was, it became the star of the evening (in a hard competition with iconic white Burgundies and other well-known wines).” Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate

 “This beautiful old estate in the center of Deidesheim has just released its first vintage under new leadership and given their label a makeover to make the change in style more readily apparent... The first results, though, speak volumes. Bone-dry, yes, and with no fear of bracing acidity, which is nonetheless well integrated.” Joel B. Payne, vinousmedia.com

“… the new regime is nailing it: these were truly brilliant wines. The vineyards are now being managed biodynamically, and the cellar is just amazing. Mathieu has had to start again, buying new large oak (2400 litre dopplestücks, which differ markedly by manufacturer, he says) each year to repopulate the stunning underground facility so that he can make the wines he likes. He favours large oak, minimal use of sulfur dioxide during vinification, long lees ageing and minimal movement of the wine.” Jamie Goode, wineanorak.com

Country

Germany

Primary Region

Pfalz

People

Winemaker: Simone Frigerio

Availability

National

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