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2019 Twardowski
Grand Cru Pinot Noir
and the present-future Mosel

{ words fail and I wonder, earnestly, what can we write to make someone take a leap of faith on this wine, a not inexpensive Pinot Noir from the Mosel? }
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2019 Twardowski Pinot Noir "Ardoise"

We first introduced Daniel Twardowski's decidedly Burgundian Pinot Noirs to the U.S. in the spring of 2021.

While many estates in the Mosel make a bottle or two of red wine (there is in fact a long history of red wine production in the Mosel), this is the first estate in the Mosel in well over 100 years to focus solely on red wine, on Pinot Noir.

For this fact alone Twardowski is historic.

We've told the backstory before, but it's worth quickly recounting. Twardowski is a Burgundy fanatic with deep connections there. This project, something of his life's work, is a deep-dive into the potential of Mosel Pinot Noir, with vine material from Clos de la Roche, Richebourg and Romanée St. Vivant and top barrels from producers like DRC, Leroy and Rousseau.

Honestly it's a super curious project, both wildly ambitious with a bit of that "spare-no-expense" mentality, and yet it's also wildly personal and authentic. All the money - every damn Euro - being spent is focused on the vines, the vineyards, the barrels. There is no fancy estate, no designed tasting room. In fact, Daniel is operating out of the cellar of a small defunct estate; the scale and layout was perfect for the extreme focus of the project.

While he has obsessed about every single detail in how these Pinots are made, he has not even bothered to change the signage outside (the pictures above perhaps give you some sense of the aesthetic).

This myopic obsession has paid off: These Pinot Noirs are both stunning and singular.

For me personally I think Daniel's 2019ers are the best wines he has made. The 2018ers are more generous, more lavish, yet for the purists the 2019ers have something of the cool focus of 2017 with a little, just a little, more depth and meat. Yet the palate is so fresh and mineral, with great length and a sharp reverberation - not harsh - but incisive, crisp and elegant like the snap of a whip.

Today we offer the newest release, Daniel's absolutely brilliant 2019 Pinot Noir "Ardoise".

But words fail me and I wonder, earnestly, what can I write to make someone take the leap of faith on this wine? While $100 gets you only a good village-level Burgundy (or a very good Bourgogne Rouge?), this is still not a paltry sum of money and so few people have any real experience with Mosel Pinot Noir, either what it is or what it can be.

I could write something like: "We have blind tasted Twardowski's Pinot Noirs next to Rousseau's Clos de Bèze and most of us preferred the Twardowski!!!" And while this is absolutely true, ultimately these blind-tasting reveals are not so compelling, at least not for the reader not at the tasting.

There is also something of a reflexive instinct as a German wine merchant to try and explain or excuse pricing that isn't far, far below the obvious qualitative or market value. It's a sheepish, apologetic stance: "I know this is priced at a fraction of what a comparable French wine is priced at, but still I'm really sorry this isn't priced at 50% it's value - we'll do better next time!"

There is no question a wine renaissance is happening right now in Germany. It is a thrilling new Germany, but part of the contract of this new Germany is a fair increase in pricing.

I believe Twardowski's Pinots are well worth the tariff; if I did not we would not be offering them. It's really as simple as that.

If you are a Burgundy lover, taste for yourself. These Pinot Noirs are complex, transparent, supple, intense yet featherweight. They are everything, everything, that great Pinot Noir aspires to...

...and yet they are different too: Their stamp of slate marks them as different ("Ardoise" is French for slate). Their extreme finesse and high-toned energy, their cutting delineation marks them as different.

This is most certainly the greatest Pinot Noir in the Mosel; the restrained and scholarly tasters at Mosel Fine Wines have written as much. And while Baden is still perhaps the center and the soul of Pinot Noir in Germany, soon I think the conversation will have to expand to include not only the Pfalz and the Rheinhessen and the Nahe, but sooner than we think perhaps the Mosel as well.

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