The Palmberg is Stein’s “Grand Cru” and a vineyard to measure against any other vineyard in the Mosel, period. It is an awesome site, an ancient wall of vines filled with ungrafted plantings that are 90+ years old. The Palmberg is cut on one side by a stream, so the vineyard angles away from the Mosel. In former times this was likely a liability, the cool wind pouring down the valley and the distance from the river keeping optimum ripeness in all but the top vintages just beyond grasp. This is no longer an issue and these cooler vineyards, especially when they have old vines, are a massive asset. This wine is ruthless, cut, mineral, fresh and phenolic. It is quite simply one of the favorite wines of this vintage and it will age, easily, for 10-20+ years.
Ulli (and now his young protégé Philip Lardot) farms meaningful parcels of land that have a few important things in common: They are not easy to work. They are commercially unknown and therefore (most likely) barely financially viable. Finally, and most importantly: Ulli has to love them. 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. It’s perhaps difficult to speak of an overarching “style” at Stein; or maybe it’s that the word, the concept, just doesn’t feel right. Winemaking with Ulli is refreshingly light on “style,” on some idea projected into the vineyards, and more about 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. One last note of importance, due to his belief in the importance of old vines the family never grafted to phylloxera-resistant rootstock in the 70s when this practice was the norm. So Ulli now has a profound collection of ungrafted vines, farming around 10% of the ungrafted vines in all of Germany.
Katie and Denny
Your friendly neighborhood wine shop, focused on small production, organic and biodynamic, natural wines. Connect with us on Instagram for suggestions on your next bottle and to follow along in our downtown Lafayette wine journey.
Visit us to shop in person or order online and pick up in the shop.
210 E. Vermilion Street, Lafayette, LA 70501
Friday & Saturday
Closed Sunday & Monday