2012 Weingut Heymann-Löwenstein, Riesling, Uhlen L, Terrior Laubach, VDP Grosse Lage, Mosel Germany.
Though the Heymann-Löwenstein, based in Winningen on the famous Mosel River in Germany, is relatively new, Reinhard Löwenstein’s family have been growing grapes in the Mosel from 1520 and the winery is now well regarded and known for the wines exceptional quality, with a focus on the denser and drier style of Riesling. Reinhard and his wife Cornelia Heymann launched Weingut Heymann-Löwenstein back in 1980 with a collection of plots on the difficult-to-farm steep slate terraces in the prestigious crus of Winninigen in the Uhlen Grand Cru, with some prime parcels like Roth Lay set on Iron-bearing red slate and Laubach, where this wine comes from that has a calcareous overlay with a base of grey slate soils. Heymann-Löwenstein is also all about sustainable practices and is now all biodynamic, this and with the traditional methods used in the cellars make these wines natural and full of terroir purity, as this sexy 2012 Uhlen L shows. Now, this wine is not labeled a Grosses Gewachs or GG, but it in fact is and you’ll see it called as much with more recent vintages getting the famous GG marketing. The profile is lush, but still with the classic energy from natural acidity along with the striking mineral intensity with crisp citrus, peach, quince and apricot fruits all with an orange like character as well as flinty wet stone, saline, chamomile, gingery spices, liquid flowers/rosewater and a touch of tropical elements. This wine really excels in the glass and is ever changing with each sip, gaining a regal like elegance in texture and refinement, this is brilliant and heady stuff.
The Heymann-Löwenstein wines are as per normal here 100% hand tended and harvested and Reinhard and his family ferment their Riesling in historical fashion slowly with natural yeasts or “sponti” until they reach a point of balanced dryness, as he puts it through a harmonious integration of sugar and acidity that once characterized the famous Mosel Rieslings of the 19th century, when they were the most valuable wines in the world. Löwenstein adds, that his grapes are harvested late in the season, often with between 10-20% botrytis-infected (noble rot) clusters, and treated to extended lees contact, usually in the traditional Mosel fuder 2400L German oak, as this wine saw or smaller 1000-liter casks, all of which give the wines a fuller bodied feel and richness with a degree of honey tones. The Uhlen L Riesling also saw a fermentation with 12 hours of maceration on the skins and was aged a total of 10 months in the used wood, again this style is somewhat unique and this wine is a stand out bottle, in fact with the attention to detail here, every vintage is fabulous, especially years like 2012, one of my favorites, but be sure to look for 2015 and 2016 too, and I can’t wait to try the 2018s! It was a pleasure to once have tasted with Löwenstein when Reinhard visited San Francisco on a trade tasting tour of the state and his lineup absolutely thrilled me with the stunning flavors achieved and the class throughout the lineup from his base Slate Terraces or Schiefertarressen to the stunning set of small lot Grosse Lagen bottlings, so it was great to revisit this 2012 Uhlen L, sourced from vines that average 55 years old, and see its form is still getting even better with secondary expression now showing!
($60 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive