And while we’re at it. Here’s the second Künstler wine we had over the holidays. This time, true to the region’s traditions: a Riesling. Precisely, it was a dry Auslese from the acclaimed Hochheimer Hölle vineyard which somehow represents the ancestor to Künstler’s Erstes Gewächs of the same site.
2003, as we all know, was the year of the heat-wave that brought us many ultra-ripe wines that the press often criticized as lacking finesse and flat. Indeed, sugar levels tend to be high and acidity quite low in these very hot vintages and so of course I knew there was a risk in buying this bottle. But as often, curiosity wins.
The wine has a super-ripe yellow to golden color. In this case, the color gives an unmistakable first impression. The nose plays on the same strings and appears very expressive on ripe fruit, mostly yellow fruit but also with overripe apples, nearly reminding apple compote. There is a rather sweet touch to it that made me think a bit of raw short-pastry, but a slight smoky, earthy mineral note is also part of the game. The palate reminds the nose a lot. Here we can tell from the start that acidity feels a little lower than average and that the wine probably doesn’t have its optimal balance. Nevertheless, there is this typical powerful vein that the wines from the Hölle usually have, which feels as if something was pushing your tongue. Also, the very ripe fruit is present here as well and is carried by the very earthy minerality that made this site famous. Interesting also that there’s no real age note to be sensed in this wine, not even the slightest hint of petrol. Last, finish is powerful and long, and reminding the aforementioned earth-notes.
It was totally worth trying out this 2003 vintage. It is for sure not the best Hölle made, but somehow nature has brought us a different personality of this vineyard, flattering the palate with more fruit than usual, and in my opinion variation of pleasures is key.
PS: Price of this bottle was around 35 Eur.