Wine of the Year: Joe's Pick - 2012 Weiser-Kunstler Steffensberg Spatlese Trocken

Posted by Joe Salamone

Wine of the Year #2: Joe's Pick
2012 Weiser-Künstler
Steffensberg Spätlese Trocken
Pristine, Shimmering Riesling

"These are consistently among the top wines produced anywhere in the Mosel..." -The Mosel Fine Wine Review

Should you find yourself driving up and down the Mosel, this is one of the estates you would hear about from nearly every winemaker. Weiser-Künstler was founded in 2005 and they’ve wasted no time in rising to the region’s elite.

Today, Weiser-Künstler is often mentioned in the same breath as Willi Schaefer. This is an immediately apt comparison because, like Schaefer, Weiser-Künstler is tiny – they have just 3ha. The Schaefer parallel goes much deeper than mere hectares. Like Schaefer, these are wines that have a pristine rigor and blazing slate-inflected energy.

The estate’s size contributes to the fact that Weiser-Künstler remains one of the most overlooked producers in the Mosel: an insider’s estate that is turning out minuscule quantities of delicate, pristine, shimmering Rieslings.

Their 2012 Enkircher Steffensberg Spätlese Trocken shows why you should do anything you can to seek them out. Choosing Weiser-Künstler's Steffensberg as my wine of the year was an obvious one for a number of reasons: first, of course, is just how compelling the quality is; but beyond this is the double-edged sword that while the estate merits so much more attention than it's currently getting, once the wines do find their inevitable and much-deserved fame, the tiny size of the estate means an offer like this would be unimaginable. With the quality so high in 2012 and the clock ticking before the estate gets its recognition, now is definitely the time to check them out.

Steffensberg is an iron-stained vineyard of slightly weathered slate. The beautifully clear 2012 vintage is a perfect introduction to the beating heart of this site and the outrageously impressive wine this minuscule estate is turning out. Behind the peach and apricot comes a procession of smoke, crushed rock and sea spray with a wash of zingy ripe citrus trailing behind.

Steffenberg's weathered slate and south-facing exposition give the wines more of a textural dimension than Weiser-Kunstler's other sites. In the dry format, this extra textual element works really well. It takes the intricate and fine signature of the wines and endows it with more complexity, presence and overall gravitas.

In 2005, Konstantin Weiser and Alexandra Künstler founded Weiser-Künstler with just 1.8ha. They focused on the village of Enkirk and its surrounding areas. These vineyards had largely fallen into obscurity, but there was a time that they were considered some of the top sites in Mosel.

The ultra-clear, finely etched and deeply complex wines of Weiser-Künstler show both the pedigree of their origins and the über-conscientious winemaking that their size allows them to lavish on their vines and cellar.

We've watched attentively while Weiser-Künstler honed their skills with each passing vintage. In 2011, they clearly showed just how great the wines are. It was a tough vintage and they were one of the three or four producers that just killed it. In 2012, a more level vintage qualitatively, they were again on the short-list of the vintage's best. If you haven't heard of the wines by now, you will soon enough.

The 2012 Steffensberg Spätlese Trocken dramatizes just how thoughtfully composed, how chiseled and how pure these wines are. This is life-affirming juice.

To order, reply to or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits