Blue Slate, in a Bottle: Stein's 2022 Blauschiefer Dry Riesling
Vintage 2022 feels to me like joy, in liquid form.
—Vom Boden, 2022 Vintage Report
Ulli Stein is a legend. For decades, this Mosel winemaker has been pushing every boundary he can find: growing illegal red grapes (shhh), producing sparkling rosé cheekily titled ‘Rosecco’, and focusing on dry wines well before most of his peers, just to name a few.
We love them all, and buy as much of his wines as we can. But there’s a special place in our hearts for his most traditional Rieslings, wines that deftly show off the Mosel’s trademark slate soils. And that’s just what we have for you today — Blauschiefer, sourced from 75+ year old vines, mostly ungrafted, from the 1er cru vineyard of St. Aldegunder Himmelreich.
Mosel Riesling is more traditional than, say, Mosel Cabernet Sauvignon, but Ulli still isn’t working like his neighbors. His vineyard sites have one unifying theme — they are incredibly hard to get to and hard to work. Sites like Graacher Himmelreich or Wehlener Sonnenuhr are well known to many wine lovers, thanks to the famous winemakers who source from them. Stein’s sites are famous because of Stein.
High-elevation sites like Himmelreich (humorously translated from old German to mean ‘heaven’s empire’) steadily produce fine, filigreed, and delicate wines, even as temperatures rise. And Ulli Stein is the master of racy, fresh Riesling with serious energy and tension.
Stein, Riesling Blauschiefer Trocken, 2022 $23.99
Vom Boden calls this vintage ‘epic’. They’re calling 2022 a year for fun, expressive wines on a lightweight frame (“pure energy, delicacy, lightness.”). It was a warm and dry vintage, conditions that spelled disaster for younger vines, but old vines, like Stein’s, fared better thanks to their ability to dig deep into the earth for moisture.