Our 2010 retrospective underlined the off-the-chart character of the vintage. Some wines, such as this dry Riesling, proved utterly amazing.
Our extensive 2010 retrospective based on 150 wines re-tasted underlined the off-the-chart character of this vintage packed with both acidity and ripeness. The vintage was certainly not an easy one as botrytis and rot give many dry Riesling an exotic side and sometimes a seemingly unclean aromatic profile.
However, at the top, the vintage’s bright acidity produced some utterly amazing wines, such as the stunning 2010er Idig GG by Weingut A. Christmann.
Weingut A. Christmann is one of the old classic Estates of the Pfalz region. As so many of the grand Estates, its history starts in the aftermaths of the French revolution, when an ancestor was able to acquire some fine vineyards from secularized goods. The sizeable Estate passed on to the Christmann family at the turn to the 20th century. Their son Arnold would add his initial to the Estate’s current name: A. Christmann.
Steffen Christmann first studied law before eventually taking over the family Estate in 1996. He was instrumental to engage a conversion to organic and biodynamic principles already in 2001: “My father and I were very much convinced of the need to put our great terroirs more to the forefront. We were among the first in the Pfalz to use a classification for our vineyards. For me, going over to organic and biodynamic vineyard management was just a consequent next step. A Great terroir needs to live and be in sync with its environment. Sustainability aspects played a role but I was also guided by colleagues in Alsace and Burgundy, which took this step also (and possibly primarily) out of quality reasons.”
Winemaking is driven by two principles: Make filigreed wines and treat all terroirs equally, Steffen Christmann explains: “We do not rely on an extensive pre-fermentation soak as we don’t need additional power in our wines. We also work at comparatively higher temperatures to get our fermentations going and avoid any malolactic one. All our wines, be there from grand or smaller terroir, are then made the same way, without any additive, except for a little sulfur at key moments.”
Over the years, the Estate has refined its style and its wines are regularly among the finest of the region. They shine through a combination of presence and underlying finesse.
The pride of the Estate is its solely-owned Königsbacher Idig, a vineyard which was already highly regarded in the old books of the 19th century, but which had somehow got a bit forgotten by the 1970s: “The vineyard is among the finest in the region with a history going back to at least the 14th century. After the secularization around 1800, it was sold off and eventually landed in the hands of the von Buhl family. In the 1980s, the heirs decided to downsize, and this gave us the unique chance to take over the vineyard. At the time, the vineyard was not in a good state and we had to replant parts. But this has proven worth it!”
The vineyard is situated on a gentle south-facing slope and a bedrock of limestone terroir with a topsoil made of chalk, clay, and red sandstone: “The hill may be gentle by Mosel standards,” Steffen Christmann said with a smile, “but it is comparatively steep for the Pfalz. Besides its unique soil, the structure of the woods above the vineyard make for a constant cold wind. This cools down the worse of the heat and also dries the grapes and keeps them clean.”
The 2010er Idig was not an easy birth, as Steffen Christmann remembers all too vividly: “2010 was a difficult vintage and it was not easy to get ripe grapes. We delayed the harvest to early November in order to get the necessary ripeness. The fermentation happened at 21°C and it only finished in January, which is very unusual at our Estate. But the efforts were worth it: It is certainly one of our finest Idig GG bottlings to date!”
Steffen Christmann has all reasons to be proud of his 2010er Idig: It came through as one of the highlights in our extensive horizontal of leading dry Riesling from Germany, France, and Austria.
The 2010er Idig proves remarkably bright, elegant, and refined. The zesty nature of the vintage adds a layer of sharpness and gives additional cut to the wine. It is one of only a handful truly classic Riesling made in this vintage and a tribute to the quality of this fine Estate.
Our full retrospective of the 2010 vintage
was published in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 50 (Apr 2020).
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Königsbacher Idig Riesling Trocken GG
The 2010er Idig GG, as it is referred to on the consumer label, still proves on the backward side and requires a few moments to reveal a deep, complex and remarkably pure set of aromatics which includes grapefruit, fruit sorbet, spices, mint, lanoline, and honeysuckle. The wine proves superbly creamy and marked by almond on the palate, and significantly gains in presence as it unfolds. Some bracing zesty flavors packed into juicy fruits and an almost Burgundian touch of almond come through and add to the dry, long, and pure beauty of the finish. This dry Riesling is not devoid presence and even a touch of power, but this presence is stunningly well framed by some refreshing acidity. What a great success! Now-2030+
© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling ... and beyond!"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.