2018 Weingut Keller, Riesling Trocken, Rheinhessen, Germany.
The baby wine in Keller’s magical collection of dry Rieslings is the entry level Rheinhessen Trocken, but don’t let that fool you, this is outstanding stuff that is totally guilt free, when compared to ultra expressive single Cru offering here! Klaus-Peter Keller, who took charge of Weingut Keller about 20 years in 2001 is one of Germany’s Riesling gurus and best winemakers and his G-Max cuvée is the world’s most expensive dry Riesling on release. This 2018 Trocken is like drinking liquid rock showing the pure limestone terroir with chiseled stony detail and excellent dry fruit extract, showing lime, muskmelon, tangerine, tart nectarine (peachiness) with exciting citrus blossoms delicately hiding in the background It’s well reported and not new that Keller is one of gems of the Rheinhessen along with Weingut Wittmann and that Klaus-Peter, who trained abroad in South Africa and in Burgundy at Domaines Hubert Lignier and the famed Armand Rousseau prior to taking his degree in oenology and viticulture in Geisenheim brought this experience to his father’s little known estate that had been around since 1789 and turned into one of the most coveted in Europe. Much of the credit, Klaus-Peter claims comes from hard work in the vineyards and allowing the vines to make these great wines, but Keller has employed a special regime in the cellar with barrel fermentation, and uniquely Klaus-Peter has adopted a program allowing the grapes to macerate on their skins for thirty or forty hours prior to pressing the juice to fuder for fermentation.
While the basic bottling of the white wines are fermented at slightly lower temperatures than the Grosses Gewächs, and bottled earlier they are meant for youthful enjoyment rather than being aged as his top cuvees were designed to be. Keller’s top wines have been compared to Montrachet by famed English Master of Wine Jancis Robinson and I can see why and though I haven’t had many of the upper end stuff, this Trocken is absolutely fabulous. This part of the Rheinhessen is influenced by its limestone soils and warmer climate, where the wines have more generosity and richness than other areas, hence the greatest in the drier style Rieslings that are found here and of course, especially those of Keller, which show incredible depth, density and stony personality. Keller’s main holdings have always been in the famous Dalsheimer Hubacker, and if you get a chance to have a Hubacker Grosses Gewachs (Grand Cru) don’t pass it up, it will probably change your life! Look for Keller’s RR and Kirchspiel, as well as Klaus-Peter’s Riesling “Von der Fels” as they tend to still be reasonably priced for the ethereal quality they deliver, but to get started on Keller this is a great value priced option and I’m glad I got some. Again, this 2018 basic Trocken is steely delicious and really opens up nicely with air adding depth, texture and a seductive earthy character, giving even more to enjoy here, this is a Riesling that you can admire in isolation, but certainly it will be much more fun with matching cuisine, also I state, this is a Riesling for Chablis lovers.
($28 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive