This superb GG proved one of the highlights of our 2012 dry Riesling retrspective published in Issue 61. Here some background.
Our May Issue includes a comprehensive retrospective of the 2012 vintage including for dry Riesling from Germany and beyond.
The 2012er dry Riesling proved open and aromatic, but can often not hide some roundness and tartness. Only a few top wines were really magnificent. One of these was the 2012er Westhofener Morstein GG by Weingut Wittmann.
Weingut Wittmann can look back on over 350 years of winemaking in the Hügelland of the Rheinhessen, the hill country located a few kilometers away from the Rhine River. It turned to organic viticulture early on (as early as 1990).
Philipp Wittmann, the current owner and winemaker, finished his studies in Geisenheim in 2000 and directly joined his father at this family Estate, which had then 20 hectares (ha) of vines. He even went further to full biodynamic viticulture in 2004, which was a logical step to him after the scorching hot 2003 vintage. The Estate now tends 34 ha, which includes holdings in several Grand Cru sites in Westhofen.
The Estate produces mainly dry wines from Riesling as well as other usual grapes found in the region (Sylvaner and Burgundy varieties). It uses a mix of old wooden casks and stainless-steel tanks and has the particularity of separating even sub-plots during the élevage right up until bottling, when the blends are made.
The Morstein in Westhofen has been a renowned site since at least the 13th century thanks to its remarkable terroir composed of a marn-clay soil on a limestone rock. It is facing full south and has a slope gradient of 20-25%. It is a late ripening vineyard with good water retention.
Philipp Wittmann only relies on the central part of the vineyard for his GG: “We have the privilege to own more than 6 ha in this site. For the GG, I rely only on a selection of grapes and barrels from the core of the vineyard, namely a parcel of about 3 ha planted with 20 to 50-year-old vines. The grapes only see a short to medium pre-fermentation cold soak as I want to retain as much finesse as possible in my wines. I then keep each sub-plot separated during aging and taste these before choosing the final blend. The wine is not bottled before the summer of the following year as I have a deep and cool cellar where the wines age slowly on their lees.”
Philipp adds that “2012 was a captivating vintage. The vegetation cycle proved very long and the grapes remained healthy and beautifully clean right until the end of the harvest. I remember that there was a first frost on October 31 during our harvest and the leaves then fell. We were not yet finished in the Morstein at that time and continued right into November. The grapes were just so clean and healthy.”
The 2012er Morstein GG proved one of the super-stars of our extensive “10-Years-After” retrospective of the vintage. The finesse and precision were simply extraordinary, even by the high standards of this Estate!
This superb wine underlines the impeccable quality achieved year-in year-out by the Wittmann Estate, whose wines are among those which require time to show their full beauty. While the 2012er Morstein GG may not be available anymore, other recent successes may still be in your area (see our recent dry Riesling reports for further details).
The extensive 2012 dry Riesling retrospective
was reviewed in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 61 (May 2022).
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Westhofener Morstein Riesling Trocken GG
The 2012er Morstein Riesling GG, as it is referred to on the front label, has a gorgeously refined and magnificently complex nose of anise, smoke, flint, candied grapefruit, prune, thyme, rosemary, black tea, smoked herbs, splendid fine spices, and a dash of petrol. The wine has great presence yet also pure finesse and zest on the palate. The intensity is quite breathtaking and the finish is bone-dry and superbly playful as zesty, salty, and spicy elements interplay with subtle tartness. This is a stunning expression of dry Morstein! Now-2042
© 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.