2017 Weingut Dr. Loosen, Riesling Trocken, Graacher Himmelreich, Alte Reben, VDP Grosses Gewächs, Mosel, Germany.
The 2017 Dr. Loosen Graacher Himmelreich Old Vine GG is wonderfully pure and generous, absolutely a Grand Cru dry Riesling with brilliant clarity of terroir influence and depth showing awesome vintage concentration and dry powerful extract, this is classic Loosen at their impeccable best. Ernst Loosen, who took control of his family’s over 200 hundred year old Mosel estate in 1988, with incredible steep slate vineyards of un-grafted old Riesling vines, set in some of Germany’s most historic and prestigious sites, has elevated the reputation of this grape maybe more than any other person and his wines are always a fabulous treat to experience, especially his Cru offerings, like this gorgeous Graacher Himmelreich Alte Reben GG. This crystalline and steely Riesling opens gracefully in the glass with slate driven intensity on full display, pumping out layers of crisp green apple, tangerine/kumquat, lime sorbet and tart apricot, all accented by verbena, wet shale, spearmint and chamomile. With air this impactful Riesling gains leesy richness without losing its chiseled detail and adds a smoky flinty element and peachy fleshiness, everything follows nicely into place and makes for a seriously joyous wine that goes insanely well with crab cakes, sushi and or baked ham.
The Graacher Himmelriech, what Loosen calls the “Kingdom of Heaven”, is located above the small village of Graach, which that lies between Bernkastel and Wehlen. This vineyard’s steep, southwest-facing slopes and deep soils produce wines that the winery says combines the elegance of Wehlen with the rustic strength of Bernkastel with Loosen’s parcels being all well over 100 years old. This vineyard, one of the world’s greatest Riesling sites gives these wines their signature minerality, born of the abundance Devonian blue slate here, these profound wines from Graach have, as Loosen notes, excellent aging potential and will improve in the bottle for many decades, which I certainly have no doubt of and this open knit vintage has the benefit of early enjoyment as this bottle proved. The 2017 Loosen Graacher Himmelreich Grosses Gewachs was fermented with indigenous yeasts, or “sponti” in traditional old 1,000-liter Fuder casks of German oak and matured on the full lees for close to 12 months, sans bâtonnage (not stirred) to preserve its sharp transparency. Loosen farms with sustainable methods and handles the wines with extreme, gentle care in the cellar and their lineup of Dry Rieslings are the result of the careful attention to detail from the vine to bottle and should not be missed, while the classic Prädikat stuff, from Kabinett to Auslese remain some of the standards of their class, with the Ürziger Würzgarten Kabinett being one of my favorites and one of the greatest Riesling values ever made! I can’t wait to see the 2019s, which I hear are going to be legendary!
($50 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive