2017 Weingut Kunstler, Spatburgunder Trocken, Hochheim Reichestal, Grosses Gewächs, Rheingau Germany.
Known as one of the greatest dry Riesling estates of Germany Weingut Kunstler was founded in 1965 by Franz Kunstler when he re-established the Weingut Künstler in Hochheim Main/Rheingau after having to leave the east after WWII, but it wasn’t until In 1992 when his son Gunter took over the estate, that things started to happen and in 1994 the estate was admitted to the prestigious VDP with the wines beginning to show their true potential. Generally soils here nearer to Frankfurt in Hochheim am Main are loess, clay, sand, loam, marl and limestone and the climate more humid, which is not ideal for organic farming like Gunter prefers, but even so his wines are some of the most beautiful in Europe, and not just his Rieslings, and his wine like this GG Hochheim Reichestal Spatburgunder and his Assmannshausen GG are exceptional world class Pinots. In the last 15 years the quality of German Pinot Noir has risen to levels that has given the Burgundians something to think about, wines by F. Becker, Meyer-Nakel, Schlossgut Diel and Kunstler not only rival Grand Cru stuff, in some vintages they absolutely eclipse some of the legends of the Cote d’Or, I won’t name drop on big names that wish they were this good, but trust me this latest Kunstler is absolutely stunning! What stands out the most here is that it does have to try to hard and is not flashy at all it is just pure quality, that wonderfully transmits the soul of the vineyard, the VDP Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) Hochheim Reichestal, with its grace and seductive character, to near perfection.
This rich and silky Pinot is layered with delicacy and finesse showing pretty rose petals, subtle chalkiness and medium bodied palate of black cherry, crushed raspberry, strawberry and a hint of blueberry fruit along with a soft, almost, background smoky/toast, dried fig and earthy/loamy notes with everything seamless, but energetic and riveting throughout. Quite honestly, the savvy and gentle winemaking make this all the more impressive with the ever expanding mouth feel with its gorgeous fleshy red to black fruits and floral tones, with a touch of dried violets remind me of somewhere between Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne-Romanee, though distinctly German in its precision and controlled delivery. Though, I adore the slate driven Ahr and Assmannshausen versions with their more intense smoky sweet and flinty notes, this wine is just darn near perfect in its transparency and satiny lush form and the dreamy long finish, the care in the vineyard and the craftsmanship in the cellar really shines through and tells you a near perfect story of the vintage and the passion to make such a majestic wine. Kunstler’s cru Rieslings from 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are all tantalizing wines, but this is a regal stuff that will reward the true Pinot fan, especially those that can lay a few down for 7 to 10 years! While this wine is priced in the league it plays in, you can also check out the village version, Kunstler’s Spatburgunder Tradition, at $40, it is also well worth checking out, it is a pretty wine that gives hints, and insights on Gunter’s class in the cellar.
($120 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive