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  • Writer's pictureJohn Paul Kaminga

Most Improbable Cab: Stein Vom Berg 2019

The 2018 vintage of this wine was a real hit last year. When I saw that two cases of the 2019 were available, I did not hesitate to buy both of them, and I immediately set aside a few bottles for myself. Do you want any?

I haven't tasted the 2019 yet, but the 2019 vintage was warm and balanced, and it has already attained a legendary status with collectors. Savvy buyers will be chasing 2019 German wines for a long time. Although I haven't tasted the 2019 Stein Cabernet, I have the utmost faith in it. I'm also very pleased to note that the price has not gone up!

You can find a couple tasting notes on the 2018 below, and below the picture of a steep hillside populated by grapevines, please do read Stephen Bitterolf's words. He imports Ulli Stein's fabulous wines, and I don't think anyone's gonna tell the story of this bottle better than Stephen.

Stein Cabernet Sauvignon 'vom berg' 2019 - $55

Stein Cabernet Sauvignon 'vom berg' 2018 - N/A

Aromas of blackcurrant, blackberry, dark chocolate, spring flowers, thyme, graphite, poblano, petrichor, a little red cherry, lime juice, coriander, tobacco, paprika... medium-bodied, fresh and lively, fine tannins grip, plenty of acid, the fruit is tart and crunchy but not without a ripe perfume, speaking of perfumes it fills the mouth with beguiling floral and vegetable aromas to offset the buoyant dark fruit. Finish is fresh and lively, with tangy and juicy dark fruit accented by airy spice, herbs, flowers.... Really cool stuff, it is gorgeous today, and I would not advise saving it too long without following it closely, but I also feel that I would not be surprised to find it nailing the high notes in 20+ years. -jpk

Although it had not yet received any SO2 and was some months from first racking and (unfiltered) bottling when I tasted it in early September 2019, I might not get another crack at reviewing this wine, which represents the contents of just two (impeccably sourced but well-used) barriques. It demonstrates not just that – as Stein has long predicted – a completely satisfying Cabernet Sauvignon is possible from the Mosel, but also that you can look to these slopes if you want ripely expressive Cabernet that weighs in at a mere 12.6% alcohol. Black currant and dried herbs on the nose express themselves as invigoratingly seedy and pungent on a firm but remarkably polished as well as infectiously juicy palate. A touch of salinity lends saliva-inducement to the pure fruit and subtle herbal savor of an impressively lingering finish. This was picked on October 22, and, as usual, fruit from a few rows of Merlot was included. It was slated for unfiltered, early 2020 bottling. Freed from the drying wood tannins that have burdened previous Stein Cabernets, this one might well satisfy for longer than my conservative quantified prognosis suggests. (Stein’s 2017 Cabernet is considerably less successful. A 2018 Sangiovese picked just after this Cabernet was very much a work in progress, though not without appeal. “I need to make a wine from this forbidden variety,” quipped Stein apropos of Sangiovese, “so that the authorities can compare my Cabernet with wine from another red grape that genuinely does have to struggle to ripen on the Mosel!”) - David Schildknecht

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