2015 Weingut Kunstler, Riesling Trocken, Rheingau, Germany.
One of Germany’s best wineries and elite winemaker, Gunter Künstler, comes from the famous village of Hochheim am Main, in the eastern most portion of the Rheingau. In 17th century Britain the term ‘Hock’ was used to describe all Rhinegau wines, because of the quality of the wine coming from this area. At that time, wines from Hochheim were much more famous than the Mosel wines and were more expensive than some of the finest Bordeaux, in fact Thomas Jefferson toured the region in 1788 and described Rheingau Riesling as some of the finest white wines in the world writing about what he found as “small and delicate Rhysslin which grows only from Hochheim to Rudesheim”. He was so impressed with the Rieslings that he found here, he took 100 cuttings of Rheingau Riesling back to Monticello. Weingut Künstler in Hochheim Main/Rheingau is more recent to the region and is for Germany a really young winery, it was started back in 1965 by Franz Kunstler, who had been in the former German part of the Czech Republic for generations, and it was only back In 1992 his son Gunter took over the estate, and turned it into one of the finest producers in the country, and in 1994 the estate was admitted to the prodigious VDP. The estate has plots in many parts of the Rheingau from the slate of the famed Rudesheimer Berg to the loess, clay, sand, loam, marl and limestone soils of Hochheimer’s great Crus of Domdechaney, Kirchenstück and Hölle. Kunstler is moving toward all organic, it’s a tough process in this humid area of the Rheingau near the Main River, but he is committed, In the future he will move step by step to 100% organic, plus he ferments with cultured yeast, because it’s often still warm when grapes are being picked and to work sponti (native) would mean a greater risk of volatile acidity. Gunter does most (wines) in Stuckfass, large old German oak, though some is done in stainless as well, he does everything to promote intensity and purity of flavors, he has become a leading light in dry styles and his Rieslings are full of energy and finesse. This Riesling comes from multiple Rheingau sites and is an entry into Kunstler’s lineup of amazing Rieslings, it is a perfect sushi and or picnic wine with zesty acidity, lighter body and a crunchy mineral tone. White peaches, pure steely coolness and roses lead the way on Kunstler’s Trocken along with vibrant lime and tangerine, wet river rocks, lively herbs, kumquat and dry salinity. Not as concentrated as the Holle cru, but this base dry Riesling is beautifully balanced, fresh and an absolute study in place and varietal, this stuff is fantastic for the price, it’s going to be a pleasing white for many years to come, but best in the near term with it’s crisp detail and vivid mouth watering charm.
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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