2008 Keller: The Greatest Dry Rieslings in Germany?

Posted by CrushWine

2008 Keller Riesling Kirchspiel GG
This is a serious question: Is anyone making a better dry Riesling in Germany?

"If I had to choose one wine to show how great dry German Riesling can be I would choose a Keller Riesling. Those wines are the German Montrachets."
- Jancis Robinson, MW

Keller's "Grand Cru" Rieslings are larger-than-life wines of incredible density and power; they are thoroughbreds.

Yet what no one does better than Keller is to shape this considerable intensity into a form that is elegant, finessed - beautiful. Yes, a Keller GG is incredibly concentrated, lavish with detailed fruit, yet the minerality, the clarity, the form is what makes these wines unforgettable.

Trimbach's Clos St. Hune is the oft-used comparison, though I rather prefer to think of a comet, brazen, yet with that beautifully elegant lingering tail...

In July we offered Keller's quiet cult Riesling, the Von der Fels. Today we step up to the impossible-to-find "Grand Crus," with a focus on what we consider the greatest value in Keller's formidable arsenal of Grosses Gewächs vineyards: The Westhofener Kirchspiel at only $58.78.

Keller's wines transcend their category. They are bigger than just Riesling, bigger than just a German wine, these are among the great white wines of the world - as Jancis Robinson suggests above. If the Keller address was in Burgundy, there's no doubt that his top wines would fetch 3-5x (or more) than today's offer.

Among his top wines, why is the Kirchspiel the greatest Keller GG value? One word: Mineral. If the Hubacker is broad and luxurious, the Kirchspiel is razor sharp, with a form that is so agile and seamless. Beautiful high-toned fruit (lemon, lime zest), astounding clarity (you can smell the limestone) and incredible grip. The Kirchspiel feels more the little brother of the already-legendary Abtserde. No, it does not have the force or focus of the Abtserde - but it also doesn't have the $100+ price tag. The 2008s at Keller are extraordinary wines, precision Rieslings for the purists yet with more than enough concentration. See below for full write-up.

While we encourage collectors (or should we say fanatics?) to give us your maximum request, we seriously encourage everyone to try at least one bottle. This is an experience not to be missed. Please note, while we will take all requests, due to expected demand all orders will be subject to confirmation.

Weingut Keller has, in less than a decade, become one of the country's greatest addresses. What makes this even more intriguing is that Keller is located in the Rheinhessen, one of the most maligned German winemaking regions. What's more, they are located in what is usually considered the worst part of the Rheinhessen, the "Hügelland" - a double whammy if ever there was one.

John Gilman, in an excellent profile of Keller in his journal View from the Cellar, explains this paradox as a matter of forgotten terroirs. (Click here to read more and for a special offer from View from the Cellar.) The (now) famous Keller Grosses Gewächs (Kirchspiel, Hubacker, Morstein and Abtserde) were among the most renowned sites in the Rheinhessen, owned by the church and its powerful members in nearby Worms. With the Dark Ages and the decline of the church's power the legacy of these vineyards was forgotten...

...until the Kellers began doing some research, going through old documents to find the exact locations of these sites. This is a winemaking cloak-and-dagger story, with a hunt for (literally) the buried treasure. And so began a strategic buying spree; the Kellers' parcels in the Abtserde were purchased in 1996, Kirchspiel in 1999, Morstein in 2001. The family is extremely hesitant to discuss what other sites they are looking at. One has the sense the German winemaking scene follows the Kellers' activities the way that real estate magnates watch Donald Trump, or investors keep sharp eyes on Warren Buffet. The assumption, of course, is that they know something we don't.

And at least for the Kellers, they do. Gilman reports that the Kellers have drilled more than 60 thousand holes into their vineyards, mapping out with a fanatical precision the soil composition of the various sites. They know exactly what lies where, and how.

This striking curiosity, this rigor and thoughtfulness in the vineyard and in the cellar, and of course the astounding quality in the bottle, has earned the Kellers a fanatical following the likes of which we have never encountered in German winemaking. Currently, there is a thread on the Robert Parker eBulletin board, began on May 24th 2009, entitled "The Keller Report - Threatening the Established 100 Point Scale." Over the past four months this thread has had nearly 80 responses with (at this moment) a staggering 7,408 views. The majority of the comments fall into two catagories: 1) "Where do I find these wines???" and 2) "Stop talking about these wines; they are already too hard to find!!!"

Today we present the answer to the former question, with apologies to those with the latter sentiment. Some things are just too good to try and hide. To order, email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Stephen Bitterolf
Joe Salamone
Wine Buyers
Crush Wine & Spirits

2008 Keller

Riesling Kirchspiel Grosses Gewächs (dry)

Special Email Price: $58.78
Compare at up to $75


John Gilman, View from the Cellar: "The 2008 Kirchspiel Grosses Gewächs is a stellar bottle in the making, that offers up magical complexity on both the nose and palate. The superb bouquet delivers scents of grapefruit, lemon, green apple, petrol, hard limestone, wild yeasts and lime zest in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very, very pure and seamless, with a rock solid core of fruit, bright acids, superb focus and a classic shape on the very long, racy and laser-like finish. Just a superb bottle in the making."

Net / No further discount