2022 Weingut Carl Loewen, Riesling Feinherb, Longuicher Maximin Herrenberg “1896” VDP Grosse Lage, Mosel, Germany.
This is one of the wine world’s great unicorn wines, the Carl Loewen 1896 Riesling is from the oldest Riesling vines in Germany, and from a Grand Cru steep Mosel vineyard that transmits absolute purity of terroir, and while not a GG, it is maybe better. Christopher Loewen picks, for this bottling, the grapes at perfect ripeness and allowing the fermentation to go as nature demands, which in this case comes in just above (or outside) the legal limit to be called a Trocken, though with a higher must weight, it is more generous on the palate. Don’t fear, it’s still very much a dry drinking style Riesling, but with the texture and presence of something really special, as this 2022 vintage shows! This delicately aromatic and light pale greenish/gold, Riesling is slate intense with liquid rock, flinty smoky notes and a combination of white peach, green apple, citrusy key lime and quince fruits in the mouth, it opens up in the glass, adding accents of rosewater, apricot flesh, white blossoms, bitter almond, chamomile, candied spicy ginger and a hint of refreshing saltiness. This Carl Loewen 1896 Riesling Feinherb, dressed up in its special label and dark red wax capsule, is again a truly a profound wine, and again one of the absolute best of these modern non Grosses Gewächs cru style offerings, it is once again one of the top wines I’ve tasted this year. As per normal with this wine there is an impeccable balance between the pleasing residual sugar and the chiseled and steely precision, it is an expressive old vine Mosel Riesling that is worth every penny and more, again, bravo Christopher Loewen, not only for this masterpiece, but for the more collection of the Weingut Carl Loewen 2022s, all of which are stunning efforts that I highly recommend. Each of these Rieslings are stars in their own right and in their price class, see below for ones to look for besides this one, which is always a bit harder to find.

The Carl Loewen estate, as mentioned before, originally founded by the Catholic followers of the Maximin order was privately established during Napoleonic times around 1803 and the Loewen family purchased the famous Maximin Klosterlay in 1805, after which the family continued to pick up steep parcels in the area, with Christopher’s dad collecting some great plots in more recent times, including the second steepest site in Germany, they very smartly picked up historic vineyards that were difficult to farm, but produced awesome grapes. The Loewen the younger, Christopher, has taken over in the cellar and has set the world on fire with his wines since about the 2014 vintage, employing a more natural approach in the cellar and stricter organic practices in the vines, and as he puts it, he presses the grapes whole cluster and the pomace is never moved as to not break up the solids that leads to phenolic (bitter) flavors that can mire delicate wines and he browns the juice pre-ferment(s), which reduces reduction and he allows the wine to ferment sponti, using no yeast or enzyme additions with his single vineyard wines going directly into large fuder, oak casks. The Maximin Herrenberg 1896 Feinherb, as the name suggests comes from ungrafted vines planted back in 1896 and are on pure red slate closer to the Mosel River where it gets the reflection effect, meaning it has riper fruit and the iron rich broken slate soils influence the Riesling in the grandest way possible, with Loewen very careful picking only grapes that are non botrytis for his drier wines, which takes extreme attention to detail. This is a masterpiece in excellence, and while not easy to get, it is worth almost any price to get your hands on it, though, if you can’t get it, be sure to check out any and all of the Loewen offerings, they all are classy wines and great values in the more basic range, savvy choices are their Alte Reben (old vine) Trocken, the Premier Cru (Erste Lage) Maximin Klostelay Trocken, the Herrenberg Kabinett and the super tasty basic Estate Riesling, one to grab by the case.
($105 ESt.) 98 Points, grapelive

By admin