2005 Weingut von Hövel, Riesling Auslese, Kanzemer Hörecker **, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany.
The gorgeous and mature, beautifully golden hued 2005 two star (not gold capsule) Kanzemer Hörecker Auslese, by von Hövel, has lost the baby fat and overt sweetness and is exceptionally delicious, well fruited and lush, but with a stony mineral sense and with some exotic tropical notes and spice, making for an awesome table, meal friendly wine that is just starting to add tertiary earthy elements, to go with its dense fruit and what seems like some botrytis sexiness. This 2005, from a warmer than normal vintage, still has a bright core of acidity, but radiant in its density with layers of apricot, lemon curd, honeyed apple and dried pineapple fruits, as well as crystalized ginger, lychee, hints of creme brûlée, flinty stones, seeped rose petal and a touch of earthiness that cuts into the sweetness nicely. This wine, now, would be very exciting with hot and spicy Asian cuisine, though it can go with Holiday meals and roast ham too. Great wines take great vineyards, and von Hövel has an impressive set of vineyards, it has ownership in the following Crus, all of which are planted exclusively to riesling, with select parcels in Oberemmeler Hütte, the famed Scharzhofberg. Kanzemer Hörecker, as seen here, Oberemmeler Rosenberg and Rosenkamm, Krettnach Silberberg and Niedermenniger Euchariusberg. The Hütte, Herrenberg and Hörecker sites are all in fact now monopoles of the von Hövel estate, making those even more unique and distinct wines within this stellar collection. All of the von Hövel wines, the winery explains, ferment spontaneously with indigenous yeasts, with the Riesling seeing a combination of stainless steel tanks or classic neutral wooden 1000 liter Mosel fuder casks used for fermentation and aging here.

Though historically solid, since taking over this historic estate in 2010 Max von Kunow has taken von Hövel, located in Oberemmel, in a side valley of the Saar, as mentioned to new heights, and into a new era with organic farming and a tweaking of the lineup and winemaking, especially noticeable with the efforts in the 2012 wines, which I really enjoyed young. Though really taking it to the next level with the monumental 2015 vintage, this has always a winery to follow, even if its recent years look like some of best, I recommend their older wines too, such as this one. The winery has a long history and come into the von Kunow family hands back in 1806 when it was purchased by Emmerich Grach, who turned out be the great-great grandfather of current owner Max von Kunow. Von Hövel’s importer, Schatzi Wines, says Max has nearly doubled von Hövel’s vineyard holdings, converted the estate, as mentioned, to organic practices (including an intensive compost program) and he is in the process of transforming not only the viticulture, but also the style of the wines here, adding Trockens to the lineup. Max’s father, Eberhard, preferred swift pressing of the grapes.as was the way, while now Max is working with some skin maceration, especially for the drier range of Rieslings, and a slower, gentler crush for the fruity range. Weingut von Hövel wines highlight the Saar’s soulful and even earthy elements, rather than the vivid slate influences of the middle Mosel, not far away, as noted in prior notes, this estate provides a wonderful contrast in terroir characteristics. There is a lot of value in these Saar offerings, von Hovel especially is using this terroir not too far off the Mosel to produce classic style Rieslings of exceptional quality for the price, this is a great and underrated region to explore, in particular look for Maximin Grunhaus, Selbach’s Saar bottlings, Peter Lauer and von Hövel, to name a few excellent wineries to look for.
($100 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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