2016 Weingut Leitz, Riesling Trocken, Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland “Hinterhaus” Grosses Gewächs, Rheingau Germany.
Some wines are special and have a deep personal meaning and this one is one of those. I was in Rüdesheim at Harvest 2016 visiting Johannes Leitz and was there for the pick at Hinterhaus, a unique block in the Grand Cru of Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland, it is literally behind the houses above Rüdesheim, hence the name, it was a magical time with the vines and some of my favorite people. I had got up early, and Leitz’s vineyard manager, Markus Roll, took me for a spin around selected sites, one of those places shinning under a fall sunny morning was Hinterhaus, the grapes gleamed bright and as Markus made sure his crew was ready I blissfully wandered this block and snapped gorgeous photos of golden grape clusters and the village Rudesheim behind, it a moment in time I will not forget, and now it it saved in the bottle with the release of the Hinterhaus GG! Johannes Leitz’s estate vineyards are mostly all in the west part of the Rheingau, set on the Rüdesheimer Berg, arguably the greatest Riesling site on the Rhein, it’s a steep, south-facing hillside, made up of extremely old slate and quartzite, it holds the Grand Crus of Schlossberg, Rottland, Kaisersteinfels and Roseneck, all of which Leitz has distinct parcels, like this Hinterhaus at Rottland. In the cellar, the Cru wines get a gentile/clear pressing and extended lees aging in stuckfass, large German oak casks, to allow depth and complexity to develop in these wines. Leitz, starting in the 2011 vintage, began to designate the pre-1971 parcel names on select bottlings, and as the winery puts it, reviving the individual voices of “Hinterhaus” (Rottland), “Ehrenfels” (Schlossberg), and “Katerloch” (Roseneck) also he has also resurrected the once neglected site of Kaisersteinfels, leading in rebuilding the ancient terraces, it’s a singular expression of intense Riesling which has become one of the most sought-after wines of the Rheingau. Hinterhaus is more juicy and generous, but not less serious, it has Rottlands iron rich character and the slate driven mineral, though it shows rich texture and body, making it a joy to drink young as well as aged with this 2016 being wonderfully open knit with loads of dense fruit. The nose has white flowers, grilled citrus, rosewater and light stoniness that leads to a full palate of smooth layers of peaches, white cherry, tangerine and exotic fruits along with a delicate steely frame to hold this flamboyant Riesling in check as well as an array of tea spice, a hint of basil, tropical essences, verbena and lime zest. This golden dry Riesling is opulent, much more lush than the vividly severe Schlossberg and Kaisersteinfels, it’s a wine that has many facets and will certainly age with rewarding grace, mid term cellaring will likely see a firming up and it’s long term potential should bring treasures in detail and length, best from 2020-2030.
($47 Est.) 94-96 Points, grapelive

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