2007 Weingut Kunstler, Riesling Trocken, Hochheim Holle VDP Erstes Gewächs, Rheingau Germany.
The gorgeous 2007 Kunstler Hochheim Holle, technically a GG (Grosses Gewächs), is drinking fantastic and has taken on a Montrachet level of class and distinction, it is stunning stuff from Gunter Kunstler and a wine that while showing the purity of terroir, but transcends grape perceptions! Kunstler, who’s family has been involved in winemaking since 1648, is one of Rheingau’s greatest producers based at the confluence of the Main and Rhein rivers in the “Hoch” sub zone, which along with Rudesheim one of the most historic winemaking villages in Germany. This area takes heroic farming effort to overcome the humid conditions to produce crystalline dry Rieslings without Botrytis and Kunstler is working these amazing sites with organic practices and his wines are some of the most elegant and monumental dry wines in Europe, this is especially true here in his 2007 Hochheim Holle, which is showing unbelievable finesse and a dreamy textural mouth feel. This Grand Cru vineyard, Holle, is set on a dense/hardened clay and Marl, which gives the core yellow fruits and subtle minerallity and allows a seductive perfume and refined acidity to shine through, and with this wine, Gunter employed a gentle hand, allowing gravity to settle the must at cool temperatures using a special yeast strain that brings out the delicacy in the Riesling grown here. Aged in Stuckfass and or stainless depending on the vintage, Kunstler’s wines are a reflection of the year and always show fabulous detail and focus with this 2007 showing a touch of wood with a toasty creme brûlée note. This wine would provide joyous companionship to hedonistic cuisine choices, in particular, lobster and sweet crab dishes as well, but can easily go with traditional German fare, it’s richness of form and opulent character make this a thrill in the glass no matter what you pair it with.
Imported by Riesling guru Terry Theise at Skurnik Wines, Gunter Künstler’s family winery founded in Hochheim am Main, in 1965 by Gunter’s father Franz, and In 1992 Gunter took over the estate, and in 1994 the estate was admitted to the VDP, and since has become the most iconic grower of the “Hoch” zone. Kunstler success really took off under Gunter in recent times, but as noted by Theise, back in 17th century England the term ‘Hock’ was used to describe all Rhinegau wines. At that time, in fact, these wines were much more famous than Mosel wines and were in some cases much more expensive than some of the finest Bordeaux including the First Growths! When our third US President Thomas Jefferson visited Germany in 1788 he described and noted in his writings Rheingau Riesling as “small and delicate Rhysslin (his spelling of Riesling) which grows only from Hochheim to Rudesheim”. He was so impressed with the quality that he found here, he took 100 cuttings of Rheingau Riesling back to Monticello. Kunstler has a vast collection of Cru plots from Hochheim to Assmannshausen, where he has an amazing parcel in the fabled Hollenberg Vineyard where he gets some his Pinot Noir, and Gunter has some Rudesheimer Berg vines in Rottland and Schlossberg which are serve and intense with slate vigor, as well as some quartzite influenced Drachenstein, making his lineup one of the most intriguing and varied lineup in the world. With layers of lemon curd, peach, kumquat, dried pineapple, crisp apple and quinces the 2007 Holle has a remarkably complex and full palate with added dimension and sublime length, this lightly golden dry Rieslings also has lime blossom, rosewater, chamomile, brioche and saline infused wet stones. Everything is immaculate and seamless with the ripe fruit held together with Riesling’s natural acidity and extract, this beauty will age another 15 to 20 years easy, even though it is close to perfection as is.
($80+ Est.) 96 Points, grapelive