We put the spotlight on a highlight of a 1990-2018 vertical of the mythical R/RR bottlings by Koehler-Ruprecht which will be released soon.
A stunning 2018-1990 vertical of the Saumagen Trocken R / RR from Weingut Koehler-Ruprecht homed in on the amazing high quality of these mythical bottlings (see Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 55 for a detailed report)
The tasting was littered with great wines, among which this beauty: The 2017er Kallstadter Saumagen Riesling Spätlese Trocken R to be released later this year.
Weingut Koehler-Ruprecht is a rather small Estate (with no more than 11 ha of vineyards) located in Kallstadt, in the northern part of the Pfalz (Palatinate) region. The Estate can look back at a long history but its ascent to fame only came in the 1980s, under the impulse of Bernd Philippi. He spent a lot of focus on vineyard management and relied, among others, on spontaneous fermentation and extended lees contact. As a result, by the early 1990s, Koehler-Ruprecht had already established itself as a leading producer of great dry Riesling in the world, alongside his friend Bernhard Breuer from Weingut Georg Breuer in the Rheingau.
The Estate was eventually sold in 2009, and Bernd Philippi slowly handed over its management to Dominik Sona, who joined in 2010, and Franziska Schmitt. The Estate stuck to its key principles of commercializing dry wines with Prädikat, including its rare R and RR bottlings. Consequently, it decided to leave the VDP in 2014, when it felt that the new vineyard classification would have put its historic portfolio of wines into jeopardy.
This change of hands did not affect quality in any way, on the contrary. The wines have seen a huge increase in quality lately, something which was underlined by the stunning 2016, 2017 and 2018 collections. We featured, among others the Estate’s 2016er Kallstadter Saumagen Riesling Spätlese Trocken as Issue highlight in March 2018.
The pride and central vineyard of the Estate is the Kallstadter Saumagen (literally meaning “pig stomach”). As Dominik Sona explained, “this vineyard benefits from a privileged terroir made of limestone and loess in its southern part, which is essentially facing full south. When you look at the grapes, they are no different than those from other vineyards in Kallstadt. But the resulting wines from the Saumagen have always something special, something more: More complexity, more presence, and more elegance. In addition, the vineyard has no special problem with humidity or fog, so the grapes remain clean and botrytis-free right up to the harvesting time, which is perfect for the production of dry Riesling!”
The Estate does not rely on any set rules to produce its coveted R:RR bottlings: “We pick the grapes for the R and RR bottlings late from particular selection of Spätlese and Auslese level fruit. After that, all grapes, be them for R / RR bottlings or not, undergo the same treatment. They see some pre-fermentation maceration before being crushed and the juice transferred for fermentation and aging into old oak barrels (600 and 1,200-liter Stück, as well as some 300 and 1,500-liter). The wines are then all bottled at roughly the same time.”
This formula obviously worked its magic as the 2017er Kallstadter Saumagen Riesling Spätlese Trocken R underlines. This wine shines through intensity delivered with precision and finesse. It ranks easily among the finest R/RR bottlings ever produced by the Estate.
The good news is that this bottling will only be released later this year. Wine lovers with an eye of high-end dry Riesling should plunge on it: Happy hunting!
This wine was reviewed as part of the 2018-1990 vertical of Saumagen R/RR
on which we reported in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 55 (Jan 2021).
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Kallstader Saumagen Spätlese Trocken R
The 2017er Kallstadter Saumagen Riesling Spätlese Trocken R (to be released in 2021, i.e. later this year) only gradually reveals its most exquisite nose of herbs, thyme, tar, dried fruits, yellow peach, and candied grapefruit, all enhanced with a stunningly refreshing touch of mint with further airing. The wine develops great presence and a nice sense of grip on the gorgeously engaging palate driven by ripe acidity, spices, salty elements, grapefruit, and citrusy elements. It proves gorgeously focused, fully dry, and youthful in the racy and hugely appealing finish. This little jewel of a dry Riesling still needs many years to fully shine. But the potential is truly immense here. What a great success in the making! 2027-2047
© 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.