By: Brian Fogarty
K&L Staff Member
Any French House dedicating themselves solely to Grand Cru wines must have extraordinarily high standards in the vineyards and the cellar while maintaining a clear understanding of their stylistic goals in the bottle. Julien Schaal indeed does work with the whos-who of vineyard sights, has built a state of the art new cellar in 2011, and proudly proclaims their signature style of terroir driven, Grand Cru expressions in full bodied tones. If I were to taste the Kastelberg Riesling blind (I did not) I would have guesses Pinot Blanc with the first sniff; deep round tones of yellow plumb, brine and lemon peel come rolling out of the glass in a wave. The floral tones that build are also bolder and richer than the typical white flowers you see in the familiar, sharp, tense Rieslings of Germany (or Alsace). This wine belongs with the main course at dinner not just the seafood appetizer! On the palate I am of course re-convinced that yes this is indeed Riesling, but a more muscular, palate filling, unconscious version. This is the essence of why Grand Cru’s are isolated and exalted; they are uniquely expressive in their own poetic way! White flowers, defined precision, ripe apple and white pepper all come out of hiding to greet you on the first sip in a gentle, lower acid environment that has a very strong mid-palate and a long mineral finish.