The Bürklin-Wolf estate is based in the Mittelhaardt, the quality core of Germany’s world-renowned Pfalz, around the towns of Wachenheim, Forst, Deidesheim and Ruppertsberg. Here with 85ha under vine they have the largest family owned wine estate in all of Germany, with a treasure-trove of superb vineyards, at the centre of which lies the great Kirchenstück. Here in the tiny village of Forst, Kirchenstück and its neighbours Jesuitengarten, Ungeheuer and Pechstein, have for centuries been recognised as producing not only some of the world’s greatest dry Rieslings, but simply some of the world’s greatest wines. In the nineteenth century, prices for these wines exceeded the prices paid for 1st Growth Bordeaux and Grand Cru Burgundy.
In 1990 Bürklin-Wolf began reviewing their vineyard holdings in the context of the 1828 Royal Bavarian Land Tax Classification and after years of exhaustive research they discovered that today’s top vineyards are exactly the same as those identified back in 1828. Today they have adopted a Burgundian model with four tiers: Estate, Village, PC (code for Premier Cru) and GC (for Grand Cru). Thus they are focussed on the production of dry, terroir-driven wines and no longer produce the Kabinett and Spätlese styles defined by the (still current) 1971 German Wine Law.
Kirchenstück – ‘The Montrachet of the Pfalz’ ‘There is no Riesling of similar weight and complexity with comparable elegance and finesse. The finish of this liquid monument is almost infinite, as is, perhaps, its longevity. However, great vintages such as 2002 or 2008 need almost ten years over which to reveal their true potential. This cru, which is supposed to be the most expensive vineyard in Germany, is just 9.1 acres (3.7ha) and the 1985 replanted share of Burklin-Wolf is 1.3 acres (0.54ha). The wine is, therefore, not only very rare but also quite expensive. It is, however, worth every cent.’Stephan Reinhardt, The Finest Wines of Germany.
WINE NOTES AND REVIEWS
2017 Riesling Dry (Stelvin)
Pristine citric and stone-fruit aromas with a touch of mineral on the nose, ample body and texture with fresh acidity in the mouth, a crisp middle and long dry finish, with a hint of spice. The perfect introduction to dry Pfalz Riesling.
‘Very fine, peachy nose with hints of herbs and fresh almonds. Ripe yet racy with a long, clean, mineral finish. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink now. Screw cap.’ 92 points, Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, September 2018.
2017 Riesling Wachenheimer (Stelvin)
Benefiting from de-classification of several of Burklin-Wolf's most prestigious sites, this is a classic Pfalz Riesling with depth of flavor, aromatic spice and a soft, voluptuous dry finish. Originates from de-classified G.C. + P.C. vineyards including young vines from GC Goldbachel.
‘Slightly funky (from wild ferment) but also great citrus, pear and peach aromas. Good concentration for a village wine with quite a linear profile. Very clean finish. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink or hold. Screw cap.’ 91 points, Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, September 2018.
2016 Riesling Wachenheimer Altenburg P.C.
This tiny 0.4 hectare vineyard holding was planted in 1991 and is located high on the slope in the village of Wachenheim above Gerumpel. The vineyard has very meagre and stony soil and excellent drainage giving a wine of real density with fine acidity giving structure and finesse and great ageing capacity. Wonderful acidity giving a seemingly endless finish.
‘The lemon-curd freshness and the pronounced acidity could make you think this is a rather light wine, but there's plenty of substance packed into this rather sleek silhouette. Long crisp and mineral finish. Drink or hold.’ 93 points, Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, November 2017.
2016 Riesling Wachenheimer Goldbächel P.C.
‘Fine mirabelle, lemon and fresh herbal aromas. Medium body and elegant acidity make this both charming and sophisticated. Drink or hold.’93 points, Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, November 2017.
2016 Riesling Ruppertsberger Hoheburg P.C.
‘A graceful dry riesling with moderate weight that makes it very easy to enjoy, but this impression is somewhat deceptive, because there's a lot of depth here and this is certainly on a plane with Premier Cru whites from Burgundy. Drink or hold.’94 points, Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, November 2017.
2014 Riesling Gerümpel P.C.
‘Still restrained and a little unsettled, but with an early promise of fine herbal and mineral aromas. The palate manages to impress already with concentrated stone fruit, a gentle rather than compact mineral contribution and invigorating acidity.’ 17.5/20, Michael Schmidt, JancisRobinson.com, April 2015.
2014 Riesling Altenburg P.C.
‘… shows a great intensity but also coolish purity on the nose; lemon flavors intermix with chalky sandstone flavors … enormously piquant and straight, revealing a stimulating salinity that … rejuvenates the power and complexity of this wine, which needs another five years to open up. It should still be fascinating in 20 years. There is so much power and finesse here, so much stimulating salinity – this is simply great Riesling. Drink 2019-2035.’94 points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, December 2015.
2015 Riesling Gaisböhl G.C.
Located in the village of Ruppertsberg, Burklin-Wolf own a remarkable 7.55 hectares of this superb site which was replanted in 1977. ‘Rich and mellow, but also deep and mysterious, this is complex and refined with a very long, intense mineral finish. Drink or hold.’95 points, Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, November 2017.
2011 Riesling Kirchenstück G.C.
‘Rich apricot pit, persimmon and pine nuts on the nose. The palate offers a full-bodied papaya flavor that's framed and deepened by a ripe juiciness. This rich, succulent wine is the most ample of all the dry rieslings here. Finishes with excellent length and a hint of lemon oil.’92 points, Joel B. Payne, Vinous, January 2013.
'This estate has consistently produced some of the finest dry rieslings of any given vintage from an incredible arsenal of excellent vineyards. One of the first estates in Germany to embrace biodynamic viticulture, Burklin-Wolf is now able give each wine its own voice, and in 2007 they all sang in perfect tune. There are few estates in the world that could match this performance-and then throw in excellent TBAs for good measure.'Steve Tanzer Jan/Feb ‘09