Riesling Breathes, Part I: Weiser-Künstler "Grosse Eule"

Posted by Joe Salamone

Riesling Breathes: Part I
2010 Weiser-Künstler
Trabener Gaispfad "Grosse Eule"

This is a very different expression of Riesling.

The road to today's wine has been a long and meandering one (appropriate, perhaps, for a Mosel Riesling!).

Riesling made in a more oxidative fashion (meaning simply, that from vine to bottle, the juice sees more exposure to air than is typical) tends to be a bit more difficult. The wines can be a bit ornery when young; they tend to develop more slowly.

They need time.

However, for the curious, for those with patience, for those open to a fascinatingly different expression of Riesling, the experience can be nothing short of profound.

Konstantin Weiser & Alexandra Künstler

Today, we present the first of a two-part offer highlighting two such Rieslings that were mini-revelations to us.

Weiser-Künstler remains one of the most overlooked producers in the Mosel; an insider's estate that is turning out miniscule quantities of delicate, pristine, shimmering Rieslings (the total estate is 3 hectares - that's smaller than Willi Schaefer!). Driving up and down the Mosel, this is one of those estates you hear about from nearly every winemaker.

The Mosel Fine Wine Review, the insider's Mosel journal if there is one, has written: "These are consistently among the top wines produced anywhere in the Mosel..." We absolutely agree.

Weiser-Künstler's top dry Riesling, what they playfully refer to as their "Grosse Eule" (a take on the "Grosses Gewächs" of the VDP) is sourced from the Trabener Gaispfad, a wall of old, un-grafted vines with roots deep into a mix of red and gray slate.

The wine this small vineyard produces is a Riesling wrapped in an enigma; it is as cerebral a Riesling as exists, a wine that weaves into the common Riesling descriptors (peach, apricot, green apple, etc) a fascinating presentation of salty minerals, a slate-salad served up with watercress, dried herbs and even notes of hay and earth. Even the fruit seems to have a slight piquant touch, a dash of orange and meyer lemon. Schildknecht's review, reproduced below in full, is worth a read.

We've been following the 2010 "Grosse Eule" for many months and while it is just now coming into form, it is one of those wines that improves on day two, day three, day four and beyond. If the slight oxidative upbringing can confuse the picture early on, these wines also seem to last longer (and even improve) once the bottles are opened.

Nikolaihof's Vinotheks are a perfect example of this phenomena - there are countless tales of Vinotheks improving after being opened for weeks and longer.

There are a number of winemakers in Germany and Austria experimenting with more oxidative-styled Rieslings - Nikolaihof is only one of the more famous. We'll present one more favorite next week.

Until then, just note that Weiser-Künstler has only half a hectare of land in the Gaispfad, and the "Grosse Eule" has become something of a star in Germany - the wine could be sold out many times over in Germany alone.

As much as we recommend this wine, there is little to go around. Please give us your maximum order and keep in mind that by all logic, this should age well into the future.

To order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits