The dry-tasting Der Altenberg by the recently set-up Weingut Cantzheim completely defies the ripe and round DNA of the 2018 vintage.
2018 is a ripe and consumer-friendly vintage characterized by fruit and mild acidity. For lovers of racy Mosel, is there therefore little to cheer? Not really, as we explain in the Part I of our 2018 vintage report: A few growers completely defied the ripe DNA of the vintage and produced some truly stunningly fresh and racy wines.
One Estate which managed to transcend the vintage is the recently set-up Weingut Cantzheim. It produced, among others, a remarkable 2018er Saar Riesling Der Altenberg.
You have not heard about Weingut Cantzheim yet? This is hardly surprising: The Estate was only formally set up with the 2016 vintage.
The driving force behind the project is Anna Reimann, who fell in love with wine during an internship and consequently studied winemaking in Montpellier (France). She worked in various positions in wine around the world, before joining Weingut Markus Molitor and later the Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier in the Mosel.
She wanted however to have her own project: “It was the logical next step, doing my own thing.” This started when she saw the then derelict former winemaking Estate of the Priesterseminar in Kanzem. She convinced her father, who has a passion for architecture, to acquire and completely renovate it.
Together with her husband, Stephan Reimann (also active in wine), she took over some prime vineyards in the Saarburger Fuchs (a lesser known very steep hill vineyard just downriver from Saarburg) and in the Kanzemer Sonnenberg. The latter is another forgotten vineyard which had been tended by various founding members of the VDP over the years. Here, she engaged in a long-term replanting program as much of the vineyard had been abandoned.
She did a few trials in 2015 but the first commercial vintage was 2016: We reported on it in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 36 (July 2017).
In 2017, the Reimanns were able to take over the facilities and some 4 ha of vineyards of the historical Weingut Johann Peter Reinert, thereby immediately tripling the size of the Estate to approx. 7 ha. This includes now also parcels in the original parts of the Wiltinger Klosterberg, Kanzemer Altenberg, and Wiltinger Schlossberg.
Right from the start, it was clear that this Estate was onto something: The wines were focused, precise, yet also deep and packed with flavors. In 2018, it continued to refine its style and outdid the ripe and round nature of the vintage in all style directions, be it dry, off-dry, fruity-styled or sweet.
One of the Estate’s prides is its 0.2 ha parcel still planted for half with over 80 year-old un-grafted vines in the Kanzemer Altenberg.
In 2017, the low yields led the Estate to blend the fruit from this vineyard into its Village bottling, called Der Kanzemer.
The good yields of 2018 allowed Anna Reimann to produce its first dry-styled Riesling from this holding As many Mosel growers, Anna Reimann prefers to have wines with natural balance, even if it means that the wines may sometimes stop their fermentation above legally dry levels, as it was the case for the 2018er Der Altenberg.
The result is a roaring success. The wine has good presence and the complexity conferred by a true Grand Cru vineyard. But all these great flavors are delivered with superb elegance and finesse. The zest adds a great dry feel to this classy effort.
Whoever likes wines with finesse and subtlety should put Weingut Cantzheim on his or her radar. Happy hunting!
The superb 2018 collection by Weingut Cantzheim
was reviewed in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 47 (August 2019).
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Saar Riesling Der Altenberg
The 2018er Saar Riesling Der Altenberg comes from the steep hill part of the Kanzemer Altenberg, and stopped its fermented just above legally dry levels of residual sugar (10.5 g/l). It offers a gorgeous nose of cassis, herbs and spices. The wine is beautifully zesty and elegant on the palate and leaves a superbly citrusy feel in the long and fully dry-tasting finish. The after-taste is stunningly refined, being both focused and multi-layered. Do not expect a big beast here, this magnificent dry-tasting Riesling is all about refinement and subtlety. 2023-2038
© 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.