2018 Weingut Künstler, Spätburgunder Rosé, Rheingau Germany.
When thinking back on the last year and celebrating my birthday, I wanted to reflect on some fun times and fun wines, less serious, but well crafted, so I reviewed my notes and found this one staring at me, it is perfect for this occasion and a sublime Pinot Noir Rosé with fresh details and a lively nature. Gunter Künstler, one of Germany’s best winemakers and world renown for his stunning Rieslings, is based the famous Rheingau village of Hochheim, on the banks of the Main river, which flows west from Frankfurt, meeting the Rhein here and is a place of unique conditions with a warm and somewhat humid climate and a mix of loess, clay, sand, loam, marl and limestone soils that allows for ripe and dense dry wines, when farmed with the passion and hard work like Künstler, with even his basic bottlings like this one being solidly crafted. The 2018 Rosé, a limited and hard to find pink, is full of wild strawberry, bright and sour cherry and plum water, it is fruity in a refreshing dynamic way and has good full Pinot character along with hints of spice, crushed wet stones, delicate rosewater and zingy citrus. Impressive for the cut of acidity and mineral tones as well as the wonderful round textured palate, it’s a wine for sunshine, laughter and friends.
Künstler, who has moved with great care and respect for his vines to organic practices, also takes a pragmatic approach in the cellar, which according to Riesling guru and importer Terry Theise, is in line with the elite producers in Germany with a focus on dry wines. The musts settle by gravity, to save the wine from bitter phenolics and are gently pressed clear with fermentation done with cultured yeast, because, as Gunter notes, it’s often still warm when grapes are being picked and to work sponti would mean a greater risk of volatile acidity. The winery, as Theise adds, orients toward cask as opposed to steel, though each is used, and the Spätburgunder Rosé is, I believe, mostly stainless fermented and aged to preserve fresh vibrancy and its purity. The latest set of wines from Künstler includes an amazing set of Riesling Trockens from the home village Crus to the fabled Rudesheimer Berg as well as a fabulous couple of Pinot Noirs, these are absolutely on par with Burgundies twice of three times the price! The Kirchenstück and Hölle Grosses Gewachs, no matter the vintage, are some of the greatest Rieslings you’ll ever taste and should be in your collection if you are into that sort of thing, of course you are! Keep an eye out for all the Weingut Künstler offering, and for instant smiles grab the Rosé when or if you see it!
($25 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive