Karthäuserhof Riesling Kabinett Trocken Schieferkristall 2012
Winegrower: Sascha Dannhäuser
Region: Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany
From one of the greatest, oldest and most storied winegrowers in Germany we bring you the finest and possibly last classically styled Riesling Kabinett available. This delicious, dry, mineral driven wine is perfectly balanced and one of the best examples of Riesling to be found. If you’re not sold on the greatness of Riesling, today’s offer will make you a convert. This wine was crafted by an icon of Riesling - Karthäuserhof - and is a product of one of the few ‘monopole’ vineyards in the Mosel, one that dates back to the 1300s. And if you love German Riesling, then hold on to your seat, 2012 is one of the best vintages of our generation and has been compared to the Mosel’s legendary 1976. The ripeness and balance of 2012 resulted from an extremely warm, dry summer that ended with moderate temperatures and just enough rain to avoid drought. An Indian summer propelled the quality of the vintage even further where the heat of the day turned to cool and dry brisk nights. Winegrowers were treated to a harvest of unheralded perfection. Today’s Karthäuserhof Riesling Kabinett Trocken Schieferkristall is a wine of outstanding depth, perfect ripeness and bright, mouth-watering acidity. It is a wine of balance and concentration; rich and savoury, and utterly spellbinding in its depth; this is one of the most exciting Rieslings I’ve ever tasted. I cannot say enough about this wine. It is a singular expression of place and time that I will be enjoying for years to come. We are able to offer this wine for a remarkable price of $35.
Dramatic, historic and traditional, and let’s not forget cutting-edge; this is the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. Wines from this region are internationally acclaimed and exemplify the best of what Germany has to offer. The region is located on the northern limit of grape growing, but because it is the most western wine region in Germany, it is influenced by a maritime climate and experiences relatively mild winters and warm summers. Additionally, as part of the Rhineland massif, it is protected from cold north and easterly winter winds. The region grows fabulous dry Rieslings and finely nuanced Kabinett and Spatlese wines, as well as Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and ice wines.
The legendary Karthäuserhof estate produces some of Germany’s finest Rieslings and is the eighth oldest winegrowing estate in the world. Officially founded as a monastery in 1335, this “Farm of the Carthusians” was given as a gift to the monks of the Carthusian order by Prince-Elector Balduin of Luxembourg. It remained in monastic hands for nearly five centuries. In 1811, following the secularization by Napolean, the estate was auctioned off to Valentin Leonardy; his descendants own Karthäuserhof to this day. In 2013 Christoph Tyrell, who has no children and had managed the estate for over 30 years, passed ownership to his cousin Albert Behler, the 7th generation to own the estate. Winegrowing has been undertaken here since the Romans. This is serious history making serious wine.
Karthäuserhof is located near the confluence of the Ruwer and Mosel Rivers, nestled along a side valley adjacent to the small village of Eitelsbach just east of Germany’s oldest city Trier. The vineyard faces southeast and southwest, which gives it perfect sun exposure; given Germany’s northern latitude, every moment of sunshine counts. The estate makes wines exclusively from the Karthäuserhofberg vineyard, which they own in its entirety. This monopole is rare in German viticulture; estates normally have various plots in different vineyards that have multiple owners, similar to Burgundy. The Karthäuserhofberg is an amalgamation of five vineyards – Burgberg, Kronenberg, Orthsberg, Sang and Stirn – that were combined into one in the 1980s. Since then, they have labeled their wines simply as Karthäuserhofberg. The vineyard’s 19 hectares sits on a steep slope in a protected side valley of the Ruwer where it meets the Mosel. It’s almost exclusively planted with Riesling vines with their original rootstalks. No pesticides are used and only organic fertilizers are applied. The rose-red clay and slate soils impart a marked mineral character to the wines and act in tandem: the clay retains the necessary water whereas the slate retains the heat. All harvesting is done by hand with successive pickings for the estate's different Riesling classifications. The wines are aged in stainless steel. Since 2009 the Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP) has classified the Karthäuserhofberg as a VDP GROSSE LAGE (similar to Grand Cru status in Burgundy) making it one of Germany’s finest vineyards. This classification is reserved for sites capable of producing the finest German wines, marked by complex flavours, an unmistakable sense of place and exceptional aging potential. Karthäuserhof produces profound wines and we are proud to offer them.
The Karthäuserhof Riesling Kabinett Trocken Schieferkristall 2012 is a great, classic Riesling. Its pale straw yellow with green reflections throughout the glass, and the pure, fresh nose allures with a complex bouquet of floral minerality, green apple, white peach, honeysuckle, white flowers and wet slate. On the palate it is clean, dry and perfectly balanced with deep, juicy, expressive flavours supported by a backbone of bright acidity that winds to a long, almost never-ending slate driven, mineral finish. This is a wine with structure that displays incredible elegance and that will last for decades revealing more complexity and beauty with the each passing year. This is one of those wines that completely transcends its price point and should not be bought by the bottle; buy a case now for immediate pleasure and buy a case, no make that two cases, to enjoy in the decades ahead. Twenty years from now you’ll remember the moment you decided to go deep on 2012s, and you’ll smile from ear to ear. Serve this wine in white stems at 10˚. This wine pairs remarkably well with countless Asian and Western dishes but dazzles with this Vietnamese grilled lemongrass beef that can serve as a three course tasting menu for your guests.