Heymann Lowenstein 'Kirchberg' Grosses Gewachs Riesling 2018
1 or more bottles$100.00
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Germany is fully capable of producing some of the world's great white wines. One hundred years ago the demand for and thus prices commanded for the wines from the finest vineyards in Piesport, Morcobrunn and Rudesheim rivalled the best wines from Bordeaux. Largely due to the lack of government regulation into the quality of wine output, Germany over the past century became known for producing sweet sugar-water wines at cheap costs, flooding the world market. This has had a negative effect on the perception of German wines worldwide, but rest assured we only choose to stock German wines of high quality.
The Riesling grape with all its versatility is the main grape variety, and whilst many countries make Riesling, none can match the mouth-watering freshness and supreme delicacy achieved in a Mosel Kabinett from a top producer. Germany's dry Rieslings as a rule tend to be very graceful and elegant as compared to Rieslings from other countries, with an emphasis on finesse, not power. Standout producers such as Robert Weil make the headlines, but Donnhoff, JL Wolf, A Christmann and Dr Loosen are too worth seeking out.
Another most interesting contribution from Germany was Eiswine (ice wine), which until the 1970s was a freak of nature, though is now carefully managed. To produce Eiswine, parcels of vines are left out exposed to the frost, and although the production cost is astronomical they remain very popular. Robust Pinot Blancs and Pinot Gris are also produced in the whites and Pinot Noir, referred to as Spätburgunder is also grown.
The climate in Germany is, for the most part, cool, the exception being in the Pfalz and in Baden. As a result, vineyards are carefully selected with good sunlight exposure a must. For example along the banks of the Mosel River, vines are only planted on one side, as there isn't enough sunlight exposure to ripen grapes on the north-facing side.
Key regions include Mosel and Nahe where extraordinary Rieslings are produced.
The wine region of Nahe in south-west of Germany has over 300 vineyards, and runs along the Nahe River, which helps moderate the temperate climate. The river Nahe runs parallel to the river Mosel and the two wine regions are only 40km apart, with Nahe to the southeast of Mosel.
The three main regions in Nahe are Upper Nahe (diverse soil types including sandstone, slate, melaphyre and porphyry), Bad Kreuznach (clay- and loess-based soils) and Lower Nahe (quartzite and slate soils). There is so much geological variation in Nahe that there is little uniformity in style, although Riesling tends to produce the finest wines. We tend to import a majority of Rieslings for this reason, although Pinot Gris, Sylvaner, Müller-Thurgau, Graue burgunder and more recently Kerner are also grown in the region.
Whites make up 75% of the vines, with Riesling the most widely planted. This was not always the case with Müller-Thurgau and Sylvaner each being the most widely planted at different times over the last century.
The region, as with Mosel can produce fantastic Eiswine (ice wine) though, due to the astronomical production costs, good examples will come at a considerable cost.
Top producers to keep an eye out for are Niederhauser, Oberhauser, Norheimer, Dr Loosen and Schlossbockelheimer.
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About the brand Dr. Loosen
Situated on Germany’s Mosel River among some of the world’s most treasured vineyards, the Dr. Loosen estate has been in the same family for more than 200 years. When Ernst Loosen (pronounced LOH-zen) assumed ownership in 1988, he realized that, with ungrafted vines averaging 60 years old in some of Germany’s top-rated vineyards, he had the raw materials to create stunningly intense, world-class Rieslings. To achieve this, Ernst immediately changed the estate’s vineyard practices to dramatically reduce crop size. He stopped all chemical fertilization, preferring only moderate use of organic fertilizers and soil amendments. He extended his commitment to sustainable practices beyond the vineyards and into the winery, implementing improvements in materials recycling, energy efficiency and water conservation. At harvest, he insisted on fully mature fruit that had been very strictly selected. And he turned to gentler cellar practices that would allow the wine to develop its full potential with a minimum of technological meddling. Today, Dr. Loosen wines are widely enjoyed around the globe and continue to receive awards and accolades from top reviewers.