The GHB Philosophy and the 2018 Vintage
Although 2018 vintage at Gut Hermannsberg (GHB) was exceptional in every sense, it is nonetheless a perfect example of how the estate’s philosophy actually works. Our goal is to produce dry white wines from the Riesling grape that reflect their place of origin to the highest degree and with the greatest precision. This shapes everything done in GHB’s 30 hectares of VDP Grosse Lage (GG / Grand Cru) vineyards and in the estate cellars. At GHB there is no sharp division between the work of vineyard manager Philipp Wolf and that of winemaker Karsten Peter, rather they pursue our great goal together.
This was particularly clear in 2018 because of the uninterrupted drought and considerable heat from the last spring rains in Mid-June until the harvest a good three months later. As Karsten Peter says, “if we hadn’t brought straw into the vineyards and encouraged the growth of ground cover plants over the last years the vines wouldn’t have come through the drought.” The other crucial factor was the precise judging of picking dates. All our top sites were harvested shortly after the nights turned cool in Mid-September leading to a leap in aromatic development of the Riesling grapes, These were primarily responsible for the exceptional quality of the 2018 vintage GHB wines.
Although in 2018 the ripeness of the Riesling grapes was high and their acidity content was low compared with the long-term average, the alcohol levels of the finished dry wines from GHB’s vineyards lies almost exclusively within the 12.5% to 13% range that is our goal. Although the acidity level is “only” around 7 grams per litre, the wines have a strikingly low pH of around 3.0. That results in them retaining the vitality and sleekness traditionally associated with the Rieslings from the Middle Nahe Valley. Best of all, they are intensely mineral in character and that’s what really excites us at GHB. This combination should give them a similarly long life to the great 1976 and 1959 wines from the estate.
By Stuart Pigott