Steep cliffs of extrusive igneous rock (porphyry and melaphyre) rise directly from the banks of the River Nahe between Norheim and Niederhausen. Between those cliffs are small hollows, known in the local dialect as “Dellchen”. The slate soils here are mixed with the stony precipitate sedimentary rock of the adjacent volcanic cliffs. The extremely steep, perfectly south-facing slope is terraced by dry stone walls that demand a rigorous level of labor-intensive care. Protected by the surrounding cliffs, the Riesling grapes enjoy an extremely long hang time and year for year achieve perfect levels of ripeness.
The site is a conglomerate of slate and porphyry, sitting on little hollows between cliff faces; it’s very steep and terraced and remote, which may account for the riddlesome nature of its wines, more driven by umami than its more communicative neighbors. Which makes the ’18 all the more intriguing. The usually inscrutable Dellchen has been atypically “present” the day before at Schneider, and this one also seemed more “available” than it’s tended to be. A full-moon brightness, a blush of fruit and a crusty bite. Three registers of activity here; white meat, grains, dust – and who knows which will prevail or how the dialogue will alter? It made me think of the Kamptal’s Gaisberg without the white peach and blueberry.