2018 Weingut Carl Loewen, Riesling Trocken “Alte Reben” Mosel Germany.
These 2018s by Christopher Loewen are something very special and maybe even a step up on the last few outstanding vintages produced here at Weingut Carl Loewen with exceptional wines throughout the lineup, especially the top Feinherb and GG bottlings, but his entry level wines are stunning too and, at the price, are Rieslings to stock up on, in particular look for this gorgeous and seriously bone dry Old Vine “Alte Reben” Trocken. It was great seeing Christopher again and taste his latest finished bottlings, like this one as well as his amazing barrel samples of the top wines, like his monumental 1896 Feinherb from the Maximin Herrenberg and the mighty Ritsch Riesling Trocken “GG”, both wines I’ve fallen in love with in recent years and written about. As Loewen’s famous Riesling guru and evangelist Terry Theise notes, this is a cuvée from old ungrafted parcels in Loewen’s collection of steep plots which are on this part of the Mosel’s classic grey slate soils, though Loewen says there are veins of red volcanic deposits here too, that are now being worked only using organic methods and harvested by hand. Loewen farms mostly in three VDP Grosse Lage sites, Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg, Thörnicher Ritsch and Leiwener Laurentiuslay and is now considered one of the region’s superstars, the rise from solid to stellar has come recently with the generational shift from father to son, as has happened all over the world, and the praise here is incredibly well deserved.
Like all the wines Christopher makes, the grapes are all pressed whole cluster and pomace is never moved as to not break the stems, which, as Loewen notes, leads to phenolic flavors and bitterness that he wants to avoid. The juice, he adds, is “browned” or oxidized pre- fermentation, a practice common in Burgundy, and his ferments are completely natural without addition of yeast known here as Sponti, plus absolutely no enzymes or nutrition is used. This wine, one step up from the entry level estate, is an all stainless wine and while severely dry it manages to be complex and textural, it is a serious Riesling for those that want pure minerallity and racy acidity above all else. This 2018 shows a bit more fullness of form without losing any energy with exciting layers of zesty citrus and orchard stone fruits along with a hint of tropical essences and flinty/stony spiciness with lime, green melon, white peach, tart apricot and tangerine as well as crystalized ginger, wet shale, salty sea shore, white lavender/rose, chamomile and crisp apple skin. Tart and mouth watering, this Alte Reben is still concentrated and has loads of structural extract, making for a complete Riesling that is zippy and refreshing, but one that can deliver a world class performance with food, it is a sleeper in the latest set from the talented Loewen, but one well worth seeking out! If wine is a story of people and place, it’s wines like this that are a celebration of that image and it is a joy to drink.
($30 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive