Gut Hermannsberg’s royal sparklings
The crowned Prussian spread eagle is the clue to the fact that this substantial Nahe estate began life as a royal Prussian state property in 1902.
The estate’s vineyards are cultivated sustainably, producing their own compost with the aim of reducing to zero use of herbicides.
Located on the site of an old copper mine on the steep, rugged hillsides of the Nahe Valley, Gut Hermannsberg’s three major vineyard sites, Hermannsberg, Kupfergrube (copper mine) and Steinberg were created by blasting the volcanic terrain and shaping it into south-facing terraced hillsides suitable for planting riesling.
The heyday of the domain was in the three decades after WW2 from 1949 onwards, but by 1990 it was on a downhill slope until the current owners, Jens Reidel and his wife Christine Dinse, bought it in 2009 and set about renovating the property and its vineyards.
Since Reidel and Dinse renamed it Gut Hermannsberg after its impressive monopole, the wines have been made by the talented winemaker, Karsten Peter. The estate’s 30 hectares (ha) of vineyards are split between seven Grosse Lagen, three of which are located around the GHB buildings.
The estate’s vineyards are cultivated sustainably, producing their own compost with the aim of reducing to zero use of herbicides. Six of the seven vineyard sites have shallow and stony volcanic soils. The Hermannsberg is the exception with slate bedrock and a shallow layer of loess on top.
Harvesting of each parcel is kept separate and all single vineyard wines fermented in 600 litre neutral Stockinger barrels and 625-litre stainless steel tanks. The village wines and 7 Terroirs are made only in stainless steel tanks.
The Grosses Gewächs (grand cru) rieslings are Kupfergrube (12 ha), Hermannsberg (5.23 ha), Bastei, Felsenberg (less than 1 hectare each), Steinberg GG (5.5 ha) and Rotenberg GG (3 ha in production, plus 1 ha planted 2019).
Sparkling wine for Gut Hermannsberg started as a hobby in 2013 with Gut Hermannsberg drawing its riesling, chardonnay and weissburgunder fruit mainly from Bad Kreuznach contract growers and leased vineyards, but fizz has become more serious since.
The base wines are transported by tanker to a small sektkellerei in Bad Dürkheim for secondary fermentation in the bottle. Apart from a refreshingly crisp Sekt which benefits from 20 months ageing on the lees, Karsten Peter recently showed that the Kupfergrube has great ageing potential as a sparkling wine when he created 880 bottles of a 2013 Kupfergrube Extra Brut fizz.
The initial fermentation was made with indigenous yeasts, and, after five years on the lees, the wine was disgorged in July 2019 with no added dosage in order to maintain the expression of the terroir. Nearly 500 bottles were sold at the Nahe wine auction for around €62.50 Euros plus VAT and commission each.
The state’s historic buildings were renovated by the Reidel family in 2010-11 with the addition of a copper-clad press house and there is now a charming small hotel and restaurant with wonderful views over the Nahe River towards Oberhausen.