It has been a while since my last encounter with this beautiful bold little ode to Riesling. I suppose it was the vintage 2007 or 2008. Then and today I was and am impressed by the heavy lushness and determined density of this Riesling from Slovakia. Well, of course there is the influence of Egon Müller from Germany's prominent winery Scharzhof in Wiltingen to guarantee quality in the vineyards and the cellar. Putting this fact aside there is a unique character to this Riesling which you probably cannot find in other regions or other Rieslings in this very wine world! I mean a certain close to brachial rich glazy boldness combined with refined elegant flowery impressions. Sounds contradictiv? Well, fair enough! Anyway, I start blathering lyrical wine-speak. We really don't want to read this! Don't we? Let's drop some rudimentary knowledge about Château Béla first! Château Belá is a joint venture of Egon Müller, as already mentioned, and family Krokow(-Ullman), Egon Müller's wife is a born Krokow, as well as the local vintner Miroslav Petrech. Since 2001 they produce Riesling (and some Cabernet Sauvignon and even Pinot Noir – well that would be a treat for a Pinot lover like me - for quite a while) from a few calcerous hectares in Štúrovo region in the south-west of Slovakia.
The colour of Belá 2012 seemed for a "young gun" Riesling like this one relativly lush and quite golden, however overall juvenile radiant. Its nose showed fragrances of ripe lemons, a whiff of tart orange marmelade and very present honeysuckle right from the beginning. These aromas were escorted by mild white flowers, hints of not too sweet biscuits, incinerated meadow (so to write: hay) and a trace of white pepper. After a couple of hours I was under the impression to sniff complementing aromas which reminded me of Limoncello and neutral English tea. Anyway, it was a very straightforward and bold nasal expirience with a certain amount of subdued refinement. During the first hour this Belá seemed rather edgy and rough - palatalwise. There was plenty of petrol and of green grapefruit as well as other diffuse green'ish flavours. Its very serious bite and structure was very evident from the beginning. Same counts for its very destinct and „crunchy“ limstone imprint, which I very much liked. Later all those already mentioned nasal aromas started to arrive on my tongue. Perhaps there was a little bit more honey, more green than white pepper and sage on the palate. Its beefy body and outfit of slightly punchy alcohol was tremendous for a mostly off-dry Riesling. This tremendousness seemed a bit complicated in the first hours. Especially on a preceived befuddlement base. After some hours these slightly stressful – well, not really stressful - feelings leveled in a balanced and already rather harmonious picture. I enjoyed this big Belá with plenty of muscles, very respectable length and character. Perhaps a bit crisper acid touch might have provided this Riesling with a little bit more cunning structure. Anyway, to me a very unique, stimulating and very decent ***** Riesling adventure which is calling for more time on the bottle. At least two to three years.