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Stuart Pigott on jamessuckling.com: “The lost world of Riesling – Nahe”

Some weeks ago Stuart Pigott travelled the Nahe to pick and rate his favourite wine producers and wines for the acclaimed international wine critic James Suckling. In his special “The lost world of Riesling: Nahe” Pigott is full of praise for our wines. The icing on the cake: 97 points for our 2015 Kupfergrube GG “Late Release” … and further 14 ratings 90+!



The lost world of Riesling: Nahe
– relevant excerpts –

“Beyond Bad Kreuznach lies a lost world of wine,” was how winemaker Tim Fröhlich […] described the rugged landscape studded with massive volcanic cliffs in the valley of Germany’s Nahe River upstream from the region’s capital, the spa town of Bad Kreuznach. Here, the vineyards cling to narrow terraces or run down precipitous slopes.

[…] there are […] a slew of […] compellingly racy and mineral dry rieslings from the top vineyards of Bockenau […], Niederhausen, Schlossböckelheim and Norheim with 95+ ratings in this report. This is truly the lost world of riesling!

Maybe its very un-German, but this unique region, with 4,200 hectares of vineyards in the valley of the river Nahe, a tributary of the Rhine, was only officially delimited in 1971; prior to that, most of its crop was bottled and sold as Rhine wines. The map of the Nahe vineyards resembles an octopus with tentacles stretch along the twisting valley of the river Nahe and its tributaries. If you then look at the geological map, then that impression is confirmed by another level of complexity. ” […] vineyards [are, SB] planted on numerous different soil types and that’s normal for the Nahe.

The vineyard names are frequently tongue twisters, or do Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle and Schlossböckelheimer Kupfergrube roll effortlessly off your tongue? They may be hard names to master, but if you’re interested in mineral-driven whites, then they are worth learning as two of the most important sites of the region. […]  [Two 100 point rated 2015 Riesling TBAs from the top sites Kupfergrube (Gut Hermannsberg) and Hermannshöhle (Helmut Dönnhoff)] make the Nahe a serious candidate for Germany’s top-performing wine region. Paradoxically, few consumers around Planet Wine know the name yet.

The extreme stony soils are primarily what set Nahe’s top wines apart and they are very diverse. The most important rock types for riesling are volcanic porphyry and melaphry plus red sandstone and slate. At first glance, soils of these kinds often look like a barren pile of rocks; however, beneath the surface is some finer-grained material recognizable as soil that maintains some moisture. This is important as the Nahe is much drier than other German wine regions such as the Mosel. It’s also the reason why grape yields in the Nahe are typically lower than others.

This special geology and the cool, dry climate are merely the foundations of the Nahe’s uniqueness. The other side of the equation is the willingness of winemakers to let the wines shape themselves to a very large degree. This has nothing to do with so-called “natural” wines though. […]

[…] leading Nahe winemakers such as Tim Fröhlich and Karsten Peter at Gut Hermannsberg […], [accept] more or less funk in their young wines. For them, this is the right basis for the very long ageing capacity that is an essential part of their goal alongside radically authentic site character.

Because dry wines on a quality level with the best contemporary wines weren’t made for an entire generation — the years 1960-1990 — it’s difficult to predict the ageing potential of contemporary, top dry Nahe rieslings. However, a 1914 Schlossböckelheimer Kupfergrube from the former State Domaine, renamed Gut Hermannsberg when it passed into the current ownership in 2010, was still so fresh that I’d have guessed it to be less than half its 103 years of age. […] – Stuart Pigott, Contributing Editor.


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