2013 Weiser-Künstler Enkircher Ellergrub Riesling Spätlese


Wine Advocate: 93/100

“Buy, but don’t touch it.”



Professional reviews:

Wine Advocate (Stephan Reinhardt): “The 7% 2013 Enkircher Ellergrub Riesling Spätlese ended up with 82 grams of residual sugar (and an acidity of 10.9%) and was bottled in April 2014. The wine offers a rich, dense and slightly milky bouquet of apricots that cries for a decanter. The palate is also rich and creamy but also very piquant and racy (10.9 grams per liter of acidity), which cuts the richness of this wine before finishing quite pure and extremely salty. This wine is bottled for the next generation, rich and concentrated as it is. Buy, but don’t touch it. Drink 2025 – 2040” 93/100 pts

“The small estate cultivates 3.4 hectares of old, mostly un-grafted vines in the steep and steepest slopes in Enkirch (Ellergrub), Traben (Gaispfad) and Wolf (Sonnenlay). Everything in the vineyard is done by hand and the musts are fermented spontaneously in stainless steel and traditional fuders. 2013 was a ‘very good’ vintage in terms of quality, says Alexandra Künstler but ‘disappointing in terms of quantity. We have high extracts and high acidity levels that make the 2013s classic Mosel wines.’ Konstantin and Alexandra have partly worked with skin contact from 8 up to 20 hours to moderate the acidity. Almost everything has fermented in fuders or 9- to 14-year-old barrels. The couple produced all predicates except of Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese in 2013. I had two attempts to taste their Ellergrub Auslese but the first wine was corked and the second bottle was broken in my rental car. The Weiser-Künstler 2013s are filigreed structured, light-footed and elegant wines that are rather discreet than forward.”

John Gilman (View from the cellar): “Weingut Weiser-Künstler is a new estate on the Mosel, having been established in 2005 by Konstantin Weiser and Alexandra Künstler in that year in the villages of Traben-Trarbach. Neither is a native resident of the Mosel, with Alexandra having been raised in Franconia and Konstantin originally Bavarian, but they arrived here in 2005 with a vision to make great, classic Mosel wines. The couple exploits 2.8 hectares of Riesling vines on long-term leases, and there arrival in Traben-Trarbach was particularly timely, as it is very likely that the parcels which they now exploit would have been abandoned and not cultivated if they had not arrived in the nick of time to lease them and take over the vineyard husbandry. Their parcels are in the vineyards of Ellergrub and Steffensberg in the village of Enkirch, and the Gaispfad in Traben, with nearly all of the plots planted with ungrafted rootstocks and several of the parcels in excess of one hundred years of age. The estate is part of a small, but very important group of growers, the ‘Der Klitzkleine Ring’, which is dedicated to help saving old vineyard parcels, planted on ungrafted rootstocks and steep slopes in this region of the Mosel, as amazingly, these parcels with great terroir are often abandoned, as they are far less desirable for the more commercially oriented estates in the area who wish to have flat vineyard land that can be worked and picked by machines to turn out every day, industrial plonk. Konstantin runs the cellars and Alexandra the business side of the estate, with both of them sharing the vineyard management, which is done as naturally as possible. As the couple likes to say, ‘the work in the vineyard is done in harmony with nature, not against it’ and no herbicides or pesticides are used in their increasingly organic style of viticulture. In the cellars, Konstantin uses only indigenous yeasts, and ferments in a variety of both stainless steel tanks and old fuders, with an occasional aged barrique also utilized as the need arises. Konstantin has done stages as winemaker at nearby Immich Batterieberg and Joseph Leitz in the Rheingau, as well as working abroad in New Zealand. The couple produces wines across the complete range of classic German Rieslings (including a very good example of sparkling wine), and they are happily not shy about producing traditional, noble sweet wines at the upper Prädikat levels and it is probably these off-dry and sweeter wines which are their primary focus. This is a welcome change from so many of the newer estates in the region, who choose to primarily focus on dry wines, as they are very much easier to sell in the German market at the present time, whereas the noble sweet wines are virtually dead as a category in Germany and must be sold on the export market. As this was my first visit to taste at the estate, where Alexandra Künstler graciously received us (as well as hosting Daniel Vollenweider, so that he could show some of his bottlings as well, and pouring a few wines from their friend, Gernot Kollmann over at Weingut C. A. Immich Batterieberg), I only tasted a fairly small sampling of their wines across the 2013, 2012 and 2011 vintages, but everything I tasted was very fine and I will be back in the future for a more in-depth visit and do not intend to leave a visit to Traben-Trarbach in the future without tasting through the entire roster of the couple’s exceptional wines. This is a terrific estate and I was very, very happy to have been talks into visiting here on this trip and will be back with great regularity in the future!”

Vinous: “Whether bone dry, off-dry or overtly sweet, the Weiser-Künstler wines are characterized by energy, levity and clarity. Gentle handling of the young wines with minimal filtration and modest levels of sulfur all no doubt play positive roles. But there can be little question that the decisive factors are meticulousness in the vineyards – featuring creative and labor-intensive variations on organic viticulture – and the choice of parcels, many of whose vines are nearly old enough to recall the Fin de Siecle era when this stretch of Mosel enjoyed a reputation rivaled by few others.”

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