The New German Elite - Dynamite, Slate, Old Vines and Magic

Posted by Joe Salamone

2011 Immich-Batterieberg
The New Elite in the Mosel
Two years ago we reintroduced this historic Mosel estate to the United States.

Gernot Kollmann has to be one of the most thoughtful, most intellectual winemakers in the Mosel. He has, with astounding rapidity, (re)established the historic estate of Immich-Batterieberg as one of the true elites in the Mosel.

It's great to see retailers and restaurants in the U.S. catch on - these are simply astounding dry Rieslings and the terroir they present is among the greatest in the Mosel.

As we wrote over two years ago introducing the 2009 vintage, these are "some of the most exciting new dry Rieslings to enter the scene in a long time."

The "Starkenberger hang" is a profound wall of vines, running from the beautiful twin villages of Traben-Trarbach down to Enkirch. Lars Carlberg, the author/editor of the encyclopedic online German wine resource, was one of the first to re-identify this slope as truly special terroir, importing both Weiser-Künstler and Immich-Batterieberg before starting his online site. Drive the twisting distance between these two villages and you'll pass vineyards that even serious Riesling lovers haven't heard of: Gaispfad, Ellergrub, Zeppwingert and the small Batterieberg.

The magic here is, of course, the terroir, that combination of soil, exposure and more. But what really puts this area on a different level is the quality of the vines - the slope is simply awash in old, un-grafted vines.

Estates such as Weiser-Künstler and Immich are putting this famed terrroir back on the map. If this place, if these producers were insiders' secrets, this is quickly changing.

"Batterieberg" roughly translates to "demolition hill," because, as Lars Carlberg also points out, "each winter from 1841 to 1845, Carl August Immich used repeated and controlled demolitions with Sprengbatterien (a battery of demolition charges filled with gunpowder, as dynamite didn’t exist until around 1867) in order to shatter apart a slate crag and create an Alleinbesitz, or monopole, which he called Batterieberg."

As such, there is a boggling minerality to the wine, though with Gernot's wines, somehow the minerality seems perfectly integrated, not at all jagged or cut. Make no mistake, even in the riper 2011 vintage this is a ruthless bottle of dry Riesling - it calls to mind the more delineated and austere wines of the Saar. Yet, Gernot somehow rounds out this mineral-density, given the wines a profoundly elegant and seamless architecture.

We have not been as excited about a single German producer since we introduced Florian Lauer back in 2008; we expect Immich to follow a similar ascendency.

These wines will arrive early 2013 and are already limited, the increased awareness has done nothing to make them easier to get. Please give us your maximum order and we'll do our best.

To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463. Keep in mind you may not hear back from us until Monday!

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits