About This Wine
This cuvée is a blend of fruit from high altitude estate vineyards – including the wonderfully named Sandgrub vineyard – dotted around the village. There’s a good dollop of wine from Wasseros also, a steep, southwest-facing vineyard that abuts the Gräfenberg vines. The soils here are composed of stony, fragmented phyllite interlaced with loess and loam. Fun terms for the soil nerds out there! The fruit for this 2017 was picked at Spätlese level, bringing good depth and flesh for this level that really is necessary to complement the wine’s vibrant, tangy, quenching acidity and mineral intensity. This may be Robert Weil’s first rung on the ladder, but it is simply far too good to be called ‘entry-level’. A wonderfully crystalline and vibrant Riesling from this high altitude Estate.
“…this is much a much better wine than anything some of the famous but underperforming Rheingau producers have to offer.” Stuart Pigott, Best White Wine on Earth: The Riesling Story
About German Wines
Germany is the world’s northernmost fine wine producing region and thus requires its vines to endure some of the coldest temperatures. Fortunately, the country’s start variety, Riesling, does well in cooler climates and can survive even these freezing winters.
Germany Riesling is classified by ripeness at harvest which is also used to indicate the wine’s level of residual sugar. Picking earlier means the grapes have less time to ripen and the corresponding wines will be on the drier side; while picking later gives the grapes the opportunity full ripen and produce a lusciously sweet Riesling. The classifications from driest to sweetest: Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein (ice wine). While not as common to age white wines outside of Chardonnay, top tier German Rieslings can be aged for decades.
Other notable white grape varieties produced in Germany include Müller-Thurgau (a cross between Riesling and Madelaine Royale in the search for varieties that could withstand the extreme temperatures), Grauburguner (Pinot Gris) and Weissburguner (Pinot Blanc). The cooler German climate leads to earlier harvesting in general and gives German wines a distinctive character of higher acidity.
Historically red wine has always been harder to produce in the German climate. However, Pinot Noir grown in slightly warmer pockets of the country, has been highly successful in recent times. Going by the German name, Spätburgunder, German Pinot Noir can be elegant, structured and have vibrant acidity.