JB Becker Martinsthaler Rodchen Spatlese Trocken 1990 750ML ($59.95) Buy Now: $49 special
My, how time flies! Much as I don’t want to make anyone feel old, I’d like to highlight the fact that Milli Vanilli were the biggest thing in the world at the time this wine was made. While the R&B duo from West Germany may have soared –peaked-crashed-and-burned, Hans-Joseph Becker from the Rheingau has only now begun to enjoy the spotlight. At 70!
I drew out Sunday night’s dinner with little tipples from this old bottle – a dark brown, star-stamped bottle from which copper-gold splashed out brilliantly. In the decanter, the wine caught candlelight in so gorgeous a way I literally sighed. Then came drinking! At once, a sense of energy and integration, yet I could easily sift through the layers to reveal essences which had been tucked away across the past quarter-century. Over time, orange rind and sea mist gave way to lime, rain-soaked stones, and a delicate hint of petrol. I’d describe it as charming, deliberate, and tangible; as fun as it is serious.
Mr. Becker farms organically and prefers native yeast fermentation, but seems to make no fuss of either. Fermentation takes place in pressurized tanks in order to achieve it quickly and steadily; Becker then racks the wine into barrel for at least two years of aging. Many bottlings are held back for years and years and years. As my comrades at Vom Boden – Becker’s US importer – phrase it, “go as quick as you can; then slam on the brakes and wait out all the others.” Not unlike Milli Vanilli, you could say, except that the voice is entirely Becker’s own.