From the Importer: Hans-Joseph’s (call him “HaJo”) winemaking has less to do with a condemnation or critique of the noble establishment and more to do with a vision that is so singular that it feels irrelevant whether you or I or anyone thinks Becker’s “aesthetic” is genius or folly. It just is.
The wines have an in-your-face, love-it-or-hate-it sensibility. They are unfailingly honest. They present a bizarre vocabulary: dried earth and rocks, herbs, something vaguely subterranean, a savory, briny, smoky atmosphere that slowly reveals delicate layers of bright citrus. For all this depth and mysteriousness, Becker’s white wines are like Becker himself: angular, tensile with awkward elbows and muscle and sinew pulled tightly over a lean frame. They flaunt a rather prominent acidity that recalls the more nervy wines of the Mosel, Saar, and Ruwer, though there is a weight, a density that speaks of the Rheingau. They seem to have more to do with great Chablis than with what we often think of as German Riesling. Becker prefers to use pressurized tanks for fermentation, relishing a quick, warm fermentation (a similar method is used at places like J.J. Prüm, Keller, etc.). Then he racks the juice into the traditional barrels of the Rheingau for at least two years of barrel age before bottling. In other words: Gun the shit out of it, slam on the breaks, and wait out all the others.As with 2019, again the Spätlese “Alte Reben” is where the magic is – this is the best wine of the collection. For as gregarious and outward-looking as the normalé is, the old-vine bottling is exactly the opposite: stern, strict, defined, inward and incisive. There is more density, as you’d expect, but it doesn’t feel heavier (or even wider or hotter or bigger) – it just feels deeper. Superb structure, that saline-rocky-gravelly Becker acidity. Truly magical wine – showcasing just how damn classic (meaning good), classic (meaning classic) can be.