Our 2010 retrospective underlined the off-the-chart character of the vintage. Some wines, such as this Spätlese, are simply brilliant
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. Not all are great, but the finest are simply remarkable and among the most exciting fruity-styled Riesling ever, especially for lovers of acid-prone wines.
One such wine is the stunning 2010er Thörnicher Ritsch Spätlese Alte Reben by the still completely under-rated Weingut Hermann Ludes.
Chances are high that you will not have heard of this little gem of an Estate tucked in the lesser-known part of the Mosel situated between Trittenheim and Trier. Yet, it can look back to quite a history: Until the 1970s, It was a member of the Naturwein-Versteigerungsgesellschaft Trier, one of the predecessor organization to the Bernkasteler Ring, selling its wines at high prices.
As so many other Estates from less-famed part of the Mosel, it suffered from the downturn of the 1970s and 1980s and fell somewhat below the radar.
Most of the Estate’s holdings are situated in the under-rated Thörnicher Ritsch (more on this later), where Hermann Ludes painstakingly acquired some of the finest vineyards over the years. Only a few weeks ago, it was able to add the prime vineyard previously held by the Parish of Ensch and whose reputation goes to at least the 19th century.
The Estate relies on spontaneous fermentation in tank from fruit picked at moderate but not extremely low yields. Year-year-out, this allows it to produce elegant wines with great intensity yet light-footed structure as well as quite some reduction stink in their youth, much as one finds it at the famous Weingut Joh. Jos. Prüm. Our attention was drawn to this fine Estate in the 2014 vintage. We featured its 2014er Thörnicher Ritsch Spätlese, one of the finest Spätlese of the vintage, as an Issue Highlight back in 2015.
In 2017, young Julian Ludes, a nephew of Hermann Ludes, joined the family Estate. After some stints at Immich-Batterieberg and Maximin Grünhaus, he completed his winemaking studies in Geisenheim a few weeks ago and will now devote himself to the family Estate full-time.
Not only does the Ludes family own a total of 4 ha in the Thörnicher Ritsch, all of its holdings are situated in the prime, almost fully south-facing wall overseeing the Mosel. Their vines are all over 60-70-year-old and still planted on single pole.
The 2010 vintage was quite special at the Estate, as Julian explains: “It was a very small and concentrated vintage with little more than 30 hl/ha. The sugar levels were very high but so were the acidity levels. 13 g/l and more was not unusual for us. Others decided to de-acidify. Not so my uncle Hermann, who wanted to respect the nature of the vintage. What is remarkable is that there was a lot of botrytis in 2010. Yet, except for the Auslese, our fruity-styled wines do not really reflect this character. We love this vintage!”
The Estate's 2010er Thörnicher Ritsch Spätlese Alte Reben underlines this nicely: This superb wine exhibits all the flavors of a bright and engaging Auslese GK. Yet, the inherently light style of the Estate, paired with old vines and the zing of 2010, yielded a simply stunning sweet wine with incredible juicy properties.
But we kept the possibly best part of this article for the end: This wine is still commercially available at the Estate!
Our full retrospective of the 2010 vintage
was published in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 50 (Apr 2020).
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Thörnicher Ritsch Riesling Spätlese Alte Reben
The 2010er Thörnicher Ritsch Riesling Spätlese Alte Reben was made from fruit harvested at 107° Oechsle on 70-year-old and partially still un-grafted vines in the historic part of the vineyard, and was fermented down to fully sweet levels of residual sugar (90 g/l). This bright yellow colored wine offers a beautifully engaging nose made of starfruit, grapefruit sorbet, apricot, almond, and citrusy elements. The wine is superbly pure and elegant on the palate, where a searing expression of zest is nicely buffered off by some waxy sweetness. The finish is long and vibrant. The after-taste proves multi-layered and gorgeously persistent. This may be a tad heavy to fit the mold of a classic Spätlese, but it is a terrific expression of racy Auslese. Now-2035
© 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.