2012: Clemens Busch's Crossover Hit


Article written for Chambers Street Wines, view it here

Red, gray, and blue slate from Busch's Marienburg vineyard. (photo courtesy of Louis/Dressner Selections)

Clemens Busch is in many ways the conscience of the Mosel. He stopped using chemical pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers in the mid-1980s and began incorporating biodynamic practices in 2005. Those choices placed him at the forefront, if not making him the leader, of the growing cadre of Mosel winemakers moving towards more natural, ecological methods. Besides this noble distinction, he makes wines that mirror his personality, with a persistent sense of calm set against a mysterious, seeking, haunting nature that resounds with brilliant echoes of slate-ridden vineyards at nerve-racking heights. They are among the most intellectually engaging wines found anywhere. His experience and ability to keenly adjust for each season’s unique weather and complications make every vintage of his worth trying. He made brooding, wooly wines in 2011 that will continue to improve over the next decade. In 2012, conditions were far more fragile and Clemens shortened the harvest to about 3 weeks—half the length of the 2011 harvest. Despite the lower yields, we began hearing good things through the proverbial grapevine. In January of 2014, our own David Lillie was able to sample the wines first, and the news around the vintage began to escalate towards hushed, anticipatory buzz. The wines arrived, and the hype was deserved. They are stupendous.

The essential expression of slate is remains and the cerebral soul still forms the core of these wines as in years past. However, the 2012ers absolutely shimmer against this darker foundation. They are quite bright, and yet acids are in delicate proportion, allowing for nuance and beauty to come through. Since the wines impressed even the scrutinizing palates of those perennially inclined to praise subtle Muscadet over Mosel, perhaps this vintage is a ‘crossover hit’ for Clemens, as it were. It’s safe to say that not just the German wine geeks will be trying to get their hands on this mix.

As always, check Chambers Street Wines for availability.