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While Dr. Ulrich "Ulli" Stein’s wines are not widely known in the U.S., he has nothing less than a fanatical following in Europe. He could likely sell every last bottle to his friends in Germany alone, yet there are places of some importance, like Noma in Copenhagen, that put in sizable orders for Stein wine. He farms meaningful parcels of land that have a few important things in common: They are not easy to work. They are commercially unknown. And, most importantly, Ulli loves them. In fact, Stein is more than a winemaker – he is a passionate advocate for the traditional, steep, slate vineyards of the Mosel. In 2010, Ulli published a manifesto warning of the threats to the region’s 2000-year-old viticultural tradition. Winemaking with Ulli is refreshingly light on “style,” instead focusing on what the vineyards say to him. Certainly there is a focus on wines that are dry; lightness and zip are more important than gobs of fruit. Complexity is good, but not at the expense of the whole – better to be simple and well done than overdone and, well, a mess. Cut is more important than size.
This rosé is singular. Literally.
In an ocean of rosés from the warmest wine making regions on earth (Italy, Spain, CA, Provence), the Mosel’s joyful rebel Ulrich “Ulli” Stein makes what is one of the few Mosel rosés.
The Mosel, one of the world’s coolest-climate wine growing regions, is about finesse, about minerality, about delicacy and intensity.
Sounds like the perfect recipe for profound rosé? It is.
Yeah, it’s counter-intuitive, sorta. We love to romanticize the southern regions – the sun-drenched hills of Provence and Tuscany. But intense sunshine leads to intensely ripe grapes, which lead to high levels of alcohol and low levels of acidity.
Rosé, however, requires a whip-smart acidity, that refreshing crackle. That’s what a cool-climate delivers: the snap, crackle and refreshing pop.
Does it make sense to use some of the greatest, most labor-intensive vineyards in the world to make a rosé? In financial terms, absolutely not. It’s ridiculous, which is probably what Stein cherishes most from the whole exercise. That and the fact the wine is bonkers-good.
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