2016 Weingut Künstler, Alvarinho Trocken, Rheingau Germany.
The famous Hochheimer estate of Gunter Kunstler produces some of Germany’s finest Riesling wines, he leans toward the drier styles and is trying to go organic offering many Grand Cru (Grosses Gewachs) from the regions best sites, the estate is in between or close to both the Main and Rhein rivers, it is set on a mix of soils including clay, sand, loam and loess as well as marl (limestone) that makes this place unique. Gunter’s wines are powerful, but extremely elegant, pure and refined, he uses large stuckfass (German oak ovals) for his cru wines, though he also uses stainless as well, he prefers cask as opposed to steel, though each is used, the wood gives the ideal low-tech micro-oxygenation, and he goes for his musts settled by gravity and are pressed clear, the fermentation is done with cultured yeast, because it’s often still warm when grapes are harvested, to work sponti (native) would risk volatile acidity. The Kunstler’s have been making wine and farming grapes since 1648, but only started the Rheingau estate in 1965 with Gunter taking over in 1992, helping it get admitted to the VDP and rising it’s reputation to one of the region’s most prized wineries, his top Rieslings come from the village are Domdechaney (pronounced Dom-Dey-Sha-Nay), Kirchenstück and Hölle, though his also gets grapes from the famed Rudesheimer Berg Schlossberg, as well as Pinot Noir from Assmannshausen. But the wine I had recently was Kunstler’s rare Albarino, known here as his Alvarinho Trocken from the marl soils of Kostheimer St. Kiliansberg, it’s an awesome white wine that has it’s Galician-Portuguese soul shining through, though with a German style and character, it’s steely and cooly crisp with an expressive nature. This brilliant 2016 Weingut Künstler, Alvarinho Trocken has a fresh vibrancy, but has extract and substance with an underlying stony charm with vivid green apple, white flowers, minty herbs and layers of white peach and citrus intensity, wet chalk rock, saline and melon notes. Wonderfully textured for such an acid driven wine, it shows the varietals similar side to Riesling, but with less severity and restraint, this is lovely and delightful stuff, it can provide wonderful summer quaffing and it should prove magic with sea food, sadly it looks like an almost impossible get in the states, but I did see a few bottles online, if you happen upon this stuff buy it!
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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