My nickname for Jochen Clemens is "the Alchemist" from the magic he creates out of his small batch fermenters that produce some of the most fully flavored Mosel wines that I have ever tasted. With vineyards in the prime central Mosel area between Bernkastel and Piesport, Jochen's vineyards also have their own very attractive characteristics as well.
During the afternoon of my visit, the winery also was having an "open house" in their courtyard and patio areas that included extensive food pairings along with every wine being served (over 25 wines!). Initially, when looking at the menu, the food pairings seemed a bit random and maybe even a bit odd but as you will see in my tasting notes below, these wines are incredibly versatile and every food pairing at the open house was actually perfect. Out of all of those wines, which were all well made, I have made an initial selection of five of his wines to introduce an interesting range displaying Jochen's very talented and inspired wine making skills.
Jochen tempting fate on his customized tractor
A side view of the vineyards showing the steep slopes
Jochen working down the vineyard slope. Note the cable running downhill attached to the back of the tractor for safety.
Small batch fermentation tanks for producing very concentrated flavors
Riesling QbA Trocken 2017
This is an incredibly refreshing and really beautiful wine. Initial aromas are of honey and white flowers which then evolve into flavors of apples and white peaches along with hints of lemon and coconut. There is perfect acidity and balance along with a very satisfying medium to full mouthfeel.
Food pairings are both extensive and very broad. My ideas included shrimp, scallops, sole, crab, halibut, sea bass, lobster bisque, veal chops, roast pork, pork tenderloin, grilled and baked chicken, salads, grilled vegetables, cream soups, quiche Lorraine, vegetable stir fry, Indian Tandoori dishes, Asian noodles, and a variety of hard and rich cheeses.
Wintricher Riesling Trocken 2017
This is a really interesting wine but maybe a bit of an anomaly for me. I will normally only select wines that I feel are "perfectly balanced" (if you are wondering why you read that so much in my notes!) but this doesn't yet feel quite "integrated" yet. The vineyard site itself, with a mineral mixture of quartz and iron, may contribute a bit to "a lot of things going on" with this wine but the overall qualities also result in a broad range of interesting food pairings.
Initial aromatics seem minimal but there is a slight saline hint of a good Chablis. Initial flavors are of white peaches and honeydew melon. But then, after a slightly curious beginning, things begin to get pretty interesting. The medium to full mouthfeel definitely makes an impression along with an additional feeling of the wine fully saturating your entire palate. Balancing the fuller body, "weight" and saturation of the wine, however, there is also very refreshing acidity and a perception that the wine is dancing across your tongue.
Food pairings are very versatile and would include grilled tuna, salmon, lobster, veal chops, veal cutlets, veal parmesan, grilled and baked chicken, pork sausages, salads, vegetable casseroles, pasta with cream sauces, vegetable stir fry, creamy vegetable curries, beef dishes with noodles, and hard cheeses.
Wintricher Grosser Herrgott Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2017
This wine picks up more of the quartz and iron produced aromatics of Wintricher vineyards by having some interesting "earthy" and "seashore" aromas. Tropical fruit flavors of pineapple and lychee then follow along with a lush and rich mouthfeel. There is perfect balance and acidity and overall this is a very refreshing and interesting wine.
Food pairings are quite varied and would include veal, pork tenderloin, venison, grilled chicken, sea bass, pasta with cream sauces, grilled vegetables, potato casserole, stir fry with beef, pork, chicken, or vegetables, Indian Paneer dishes, beef with noodles, rich and soft cheese, or, it is delightful to just sip on as well without any food at all.
Dhron Hoffberger Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2017
This wine has a really impressive entry with lush rich aromas of tropical fruits along with more prominent notes of pineapple. Flavors are interesting as there are some notes of tropical spices along with Meyer lemon and candied cherries. This is very smooth and balanced across the palate and also "dances across your tongue" as does the Wintricher Trocken above but it then finishes with an impression of a very satisfying medium to full mouthfeel. Overall, this is delightful to taste and a beautiful wine with a hint of residual sugar.
As with the other Clemens wines, there continues to be a broad range of food pairings. My ideas include pork tenderloin, veal, wienerschnitzel, baked chicken, chicken cordon bleu, sole, crab, scallops, shrimp, sea bass, lobster bisque, cream soups, vegetable casseroles, vegetable stir fry, and rich and hard cheeses.
Dhron Hoffberger Riesling Spatlese Fruchtsusse 2016
Initial aromas are of camellias, white flowers, and honey but I also noted hints of the aromas of a rich cheese sauce. Prominent flavor notes are of honeydew melon, pineapple, and cantaloupe. There is a rich lush mouthfeel and also very refreshing with perfect balance and acidity. Although the Clemens wines chosen all are medium to full bodied, this wine also has the qualities of "dancing across your tongue" that I have mentioned for some of the other wines. The additional sweetness of this "Fruchtsusse" also then makes it seem like you are drinking a delightfully honeyed nectar.
The complex and concentrated flavors of the Clemens wines also continue to result in interesting and broad food pairings. My ideas for this Spatlese are pork tenderloin, grilled pork, veal chops, lamb, venison, wild boar, grilled chicken, grilled tuna, Asian beef dishes, Indian food, pasta with cream sauces, vegetable casseroles, and rich and hard cheeses.