2018 Josef Walter Spätburgunder Centgrafenberg “J”
– His Clos St. Jacques
– Quality Has Been Improving for This Bottling
– Now it Is Right Behind Hundsruck in Quality
– Glorious and Nuanced Nose
– Off the Charts Complexity
– Spice, Tree Bark, Glorious Dark Black Cherries
– Insane Breadth
– Tea Leaves (Oolong?)
– Wet Earth, Roses
– Cloves, Cardamon, Menthol, Dried Herbs, Fresh Herbs, Mint
– Palate: smoke, Leather and Dark Dark Cherries
– Insanely Concentrated Tiny Berry Fruit Intensity
– A Gorgeous Hint of Licorice
– Grand Structure
– Explosive and Layered
– That Special “je ne sais quoi”
– “The 2nd Best Wine I Ever Made” Christoph Walter (This has Surpassed the 16 according to Christoph)
I don’t take writing the lead to this E-Mail lightly. Tasting with Christoph is almost hilarious. You taste the wines and you know that they are stunning. And he knows that they are stunning. And he is embarrassed to say “wow this is good” or pretty much anything. And then when I go absolutely insane, he gets almost more embarrassed. It’s almost a comedy sketch.
But brilliant, these wines are. I mean absolutely wonderful wines that are magnitudinally on a par with great Burgundy although, obviously, the terroir and flavor characteristics differ. If you do not own these in your cellar, you are going to absolutely weep one day. This will be the one that got away. If Christoph were a bit less modest and did any marketing, the wines would be at least triple these prices. I only “discovered” him because he and are both friends of the legendary Sebastien Furst.
As many of you know who bought the brilliant 2016 Josef Walter Hundsruck Centgrafenberg J as it’s the best wine Walter ever made. Well, Christoph Walter emailed me and asked if am I going to sell the 2016 Spätburgunder Centgrafenberg “J” which is the wine right below Hundsruck in quality. I said of course I am and then he said something so out of character I was floored. He said it’s the second best wine he’s ever made. It looks like my hyperbole has rubbed off on the very soft spoken Christoph Walter! But that story was two vintages ago and now Christoph is saying his 18s outpace his 16s and I see no reason to doubt him as he hit a grand slam home run in 2018 and he has surpassed 2016!
This wine is drinking so well now it’s just insanity. The fruit is so dark, crunchy and precise. The aromatic are off the charts right now and length is absurd. My goodness this wine is just all gas and no brakes now. There is a mouthfilling quality to the fruit that is positively thrilling.
The 2018 Josef Walter Spätburgunder Centgrafenberg “J” can be had for $39.99 a bottle on a 4-pack. This is like his Clos St. Jacques as the Hundsruck is his Chambertin. It is a barn burner in 2018 and it will only get better and better. One thing about Walter’s wines that differs from all of our other German Pinot producers is that these really need age. Yes they can be drunk young but age really transforms these into something that very few if any German Pinots get with age.
Such a glorious and nuanced nose of spice, tree bark, glorious dark black cherries, spicy oak and wonderful violets. It’s super clean, nuanced and multilayered. Gorgeous nose, wow. Stunning violets. Just sick sick violets. So expansive, vivid and clean. Unreal spice and has insane breadth. Just so so so good. Not sure when I had last but wow has it improved. Wow. Spices, tea leaves (oolong?) huge mint, wet earth, roses, black and red cherries, menthol and so much more! The mint seems to be a character of the terroir as I noticed it in other vintages of this wine as well. This is some nose. Endless and expansive. Now the wine is more open and so so generous. Cloves, cardamon, menthol, dried herbs, fresh herbs, mint, sour cherries, cherry flower, soil tones, black cherries, dried red cherries and all of this melds into such an intense perfume after 130 minutes or so. After 5-10 years these get perfumed like a switch goes off.
This is an amazing wine and there is no one this will not blow away. This is Grand Cru all the way (except it’s 1er Cru!). One of the best Grand Cru (but it’s a “1er Cru” in 2018) values I sell year in and year out. It then has the classic German Spatburgunder/Pinot Noir nose with a foot in Gevrey-Chambertin. This has amazing density and richness and the palate initially is all smoke, leather and dark dark cherries that are insanely concentrated and just explode with tiny berry fruit intensity. Wow does this echo. It has heft, volume and amplitude. The sweet black and cherry fruit is remarkable. How does he do it? There is incredibly powerfully intense concentrated fruit (like beat you in the head powerful) but balanced with great acidic freshness. The fruit is dark, more along the plum/black/red/cherry spectrum with a gorgeous hint of licorice. There is incredible, incredible complexity on the palate with soaring internal aromatics. Maybe even some sweet heirloom tomatoes. It is so elegant yet cuts such a deep swath on the palate. This wine is so serious.
The finish is long and very fresh. There is grand structure here. Explosive and layered. This wine reeks of high class terroir. Big tannins that are incredibly sweet and persistent and unreal freshness. Simply incredible. Despite the power of the wine, it is still very fresh. Energy and precision for days. Grand Cru Grip even though it’s 1er cru level but in 2018 it drinks like a Grand Cru wine and has grand cru structure but is also eminently drinkable I think today with a very long decant but I’m not going to lie this wine will be 50 times better with age. Yes it’s so good now but my goodness in 5-10 years I cannot imagine.
I must admit that when I started with Christoph Walter, I did not necessarily think that his wines would get the overwhelming reaction that they have among the list.
– Yes, he’s one of the top makers of pinot noir in Germany.
– Yes, he has stunning terroir with vineyards in Centgrafenberg and Hundstruck.
– Yes, he releases late and the wines are properly aged.
But he’s such a modest, almost bashful guy that I never thought of him becoming the next rock star at Fass Selections. Of course, this makes no sense as no one on the list has ever met him and only likes him because of the quality of his wines, but I think that this was my subconscious bias.
Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised with the massive fan love that the wines have gotten. Everyone seems to see in them what I see. These wines are amazingly fresh regardless of vintage or age, and they are ridiculous values. Maybe the best aged red wine values we offer. There are very few wines that I anticipate opening more than Christoph’s wines. Every one is beautiful and special. He really reminds me of a red Martin Muellen. The wines have that “je ne sais quoi” that makes them special.
Please call Cheryl at 949 378 5251 with your order if you are a first time customer (we prefer not to receive credit card numbers over E-Mail)
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I love drinking and selecting wines – but my passion for teaching people about wine is almost as big. I’m happy to announce a block of time each day where people can call me just to chat about wine in general. These blocks are NOT intended to sell wine (I do that all day). This is to talk to me about wine pairings or great producers or how long to age wines or styles of wine making or the latest wine controversy. My goal is to help people learn more about wine and enjoy it more. Call me at 917-912-4355 from 4-7EST Monday – Friday.
2018 Josef Walter Spätburgunder Centgrafenberg “J” – $41.99 ($159.96 4-pack) (VERY LIMITED)
This Offer is Not Available to Retailers, Wholesalers or Restaurants
Shipping will be charged when wine ships.
These will be shipped in the Fall of 2024
Previous Offers Still Open
NV Perseval Farge “Les Spectres” Extra Brut Chamery 1er Cru – $104.99 ($308.97 3-pack)
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