Like something out of Laurel and Hardy, Maria Becker sloshed some Riesling out of the window anointing a surprised postman – and so the crazy world of the Beckers continued to unfold around us. They are one of the best double-acts we have encountered in Germany, complete with an excitable dog and the moustachioed brother Hans-Josef, the winemaker who looks suspiciously like a circus ringmaster, who has a spring in his step following his recent marriage to Eva Engel, a woman 30 years his junior.
Brother and sister team, Hans-Josef and Maria Becker, have made distinctive Riesling for decades in their maze-like buildings and cellar by the Rhine at Walluf. Although they were the first in the world to use the cutting-edge glass closure, their wines are made in the traditional way; “the way our Grandfather made wine”, with a long, slow fermentation in huge, old wooden barrels called Fuders. The style is utterly traditional and utterly distinctive, untouched by fashion. Maria often turns up beautifully mature bottles from the darkest recesses of their dark, damp cellar for us; dry Rieslings from 1989, 1997, 2001 and 2004, mature fruity Spatlese from 1990 and the 1976 that we drank over a decade ago with enormous enjoyment at Zum Krug and that brought us knocking at their door.