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a wine of the year
2021 Müller-Ruprecht Silvaner Saumagen
* this wine will never exist again *

{ The concept of a "wine of the year" is obviously a bit preposterous - yet what it should aspire to, in its most honest form, is to honor a moment in time. }
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2021 Müller-Ruprecht Silvaner Saumagen 

That is, to some extent, all wine is an expression of: time. Thus the importance of vintages.

So we conclude a year of Source Material with a singular wine that will exist only once - only one time - from the rigorous vintage 2021 no less.

Already the vines have been ripped up; this wine will never be made again.

What existed, for a brief moment - for only a year in fact - was the ownership by Sabine and Philipp of Müller-Ruprecht of a cherry parcel of the Saumagen vineyard planted with old-vine Silvaner. Some of you might remember Müller-Ruprecht: We first met them in offer 002, "Keller's Golden Generation." Sabine and Philipp shape wines of extreme cut and clarity in the Pfalz. The energy and limestone influence in their wines reminds one, in fact, a bit of Keller.

The combination of such young talented winemakers, one of Germany's greatest sites, old-vine Silvaner and the rapier-like cut of the extraordinary vintage 2021, makes this one of the most epic wines we have had all year.

While the parcel of Saumagen is awesome, many of the Silvaner vines were dying and the trellising was beyond repair. At the end of the 2021 season, after the harvest, Sabine and Philipp made the decision that they had to pull up the old vines.

The fact that this is the only time this wine will ever exist makes it a wine of the year.

Silvaner is misunderstood. It is a grape of extreme sensitivity to soil; when it is sourced from cool-climate limestone you would be forgiven for mistaking it for Chablis. In many ways, Silvaner has something of the architecture of Chardonnay, yet with more rigor, more structure and cut. It does not have the fruit and the belly fat.

For those of you who missed the first offer - and the reactions of the online wine bulletin boards ("An absolute show stopper! is full of life, and moving..." "Load up your truck! This is amazing juice, so fresh, such purity and extremely sublime... tastes like Norwegian glacier water.") - the style at Müller-Ruprecht is hard to exactly place. The incisive yet grand GGs of Rebholz are perhaps the easiest comparison. Both estates somehow focus the power of the Pfalz, shape the sunshine-filled landscape into wines of delineation and lift. Yet the Müller-Ruprecht wines are somehow perhaps bouncier - airier? They feel a shade lighter?

In other ways the wines remind us of the Nahe Rieslings of Schäfer-Fröhlich: the artful use of reduction, the sense of both transparency and a coiled-up energy.

None of these comparisons exactly capture the energy here; the style feels unique.

Either way, Müller-Ruprecht is quickly becoming one of the more talked-about estates in Germany. The 2019ers were for sure a break-out vintage for Philipp and Sabine. The 2020 and 2021 collections add a further articulation of their style, it shows they are learning more about the dimensions and personalities of their vineyards.

There is going to be a lot to say about Müller-Ruprecht in the years to come, this much is certain. What's also certain is that there will never be anything said of a Silvaner from the Saumagen again.

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