Despite little botrytis, 2020 yielded some stunning noble-sweet wines including this Auslese by up-and-coming Weingut Loersch.
The 2020 growing season was hot and dry and the harvest season mostly cloudy and rainy: The result is a unique vintage with incredible lightness, filigreed precision, subtlety, and a dash of ripeness.
These conditions allowed a few growers to produce some mesmerizing noble-sweet wines, including Weingut Loersch: Its 2020er Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Auslese Alte Reben is one of the highlights of the vintage.
Chances are high that you will not have heard much from Weingut Loersch so far. This is hardly surprising. The Estate is not of the great grandees of past decades. But it has always been one of the fine Estates based in Leiwen. As many Estates in this neck of the Mosel, it holds some fine parcels in the best parts of the Trittenheimer Apotheke which it complemented with smaller holdings in the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen, Dhroner Hofberg, and Neumagener Rosengärtchen. The Estate extends over 8 ha, i.e. not small but not big either. It will be a member of the Bernkasteler Ring as of 2022.
Its transformation into one of the finest Estates of the region came at the hand of Alexander Loersch. He joined his father back in 2002 and gradually introduced more quality-minded winemaking approaches. This includes lower yields, fermentation with ambient yeast, better selections in the vineyards. As of 2015, he also started to go for more finesse and take the new challenges of climate change: “We started to bring the harvest forward and reduced the defoliation of the vines during the summer to get lower Oechsle degrees and fresher flavors. We also worked on our pressing program to retain more acidity.”
In parallel, Alex also put more focus on his dry wines. This includes relying on experiment with its oak aging, fermenting down to more bone-dry levels, and generally longer aging on its lees. Although this is a little-konwn fact, these are now among the finest of the region.
However, sweet wines have been a sweet spot of the Estate since years. The Estate outdid itself in 2020. Besides sheer perfection at TBA level, it dished up some superb Auslese and sweet Spätlese: “I am a huge fan of sweet wines. This is why, every year, I go the extra-mile to also produce some noble-sweet wines. In 2020, it was not easy to make some TBA – quantities are small – but we brought in some good quantities (by our standards) from high-end Auslese.”
The pride of the Estate is its prime holdings in the different sectors of the Trittenheimer Apotheke. These make out about half of the Estate total vineyards. It owns parcels in all the prime (and dark red) sectors of the vineyard. Parts of these vineyards are still planted with century-old un-grafted vines.
While Alex Loersch tends to bottle separately the wines (in particular dry ones) to respect the different sectors of the Apotheke, the Auslese Alte Reben proved a selection of shriveled and botrytis-affected grapes from all the steep terraced parts of the vineyard: “We were lucky in 2020 because the negative selection early on in the harvest (where one takes away the grapes affected by botrytis) gave us some superb material for Auslese … which we then complemented with further fruit picked along during the harvest.”
The wine was then fermented in stainless steel, as with all sweet wines at this Estate, and bottled in April 2021.
The result is one of the finest Auslese from the vintage which retains an incredible sense of playfulness and elegance, also thanks to the feather-light and delineated properties of the vintage. But the Auslese also has incredible depth.
Overall, the Estate produced a remarkably successful collection in 2020. Besides this amazing Auslese and a sheer perfect TBA, the Estate is now also among the finest growers for off-dry wines, Kabinett, and dry Riesling.
We can only encourage you to get hold of some bottles from this superb grower if you can … or, if not yet available, nag your importer to add this fine Estate in his portfolio.
The stunning 2020 collection of Loersch
was reviewed in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 58 (September 2021).
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Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Auslese Alte Reben
The 2020er Alte Reben Trittenheimer Apotheke, as it is referred to on the central part of the label (the reference to Auslese is only written in small on the right part of the label), was made from early harvested and botrytized (50%) fruit at a full 115° Oechsle on 50-100-year-old vines in the terraced Vogelsang, Mockenlay, Jungheld, Kaulsbohr, and Laurentiusberg parts of the vineyard and was fermented to noble-sweet levels of residual sugar (110 g/l). It offers a beautifully dramatic and subtly creamy nose made of almond cream, baked pineapple, coconut, laurel, dried fruits, and smoky elements. The wine develops the delicately viscous yet focused presence of a light BA on the palate and leaves a superb yet ripe and rich feel of dried fruits, smoke, almond cream, and earthy spices in the long finish. Citrusy elements add the necessary depth to the experience in the after-taste. What this stunning beauty now only needs is a little bit of patience for it to integrate its tail of sweetness and reveal its full glory: What a great success! 2030-2050
© 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.