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2007 Hochheimer Hölle First Growth, Weingut Künstler, Rheingau

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First about the vineyard. Hölle means hell in English but the actual meaning of the word comes from the ancient German description of a steep slope or hill, “Halde” to be precise. Nevertheless it is always a funny word game to me pretending I’m drinking the hell from Hochheim. One thing is true though: it’s a hell of a good wine. The particularity of “hell’s” Terroir is explained by the proximity of the Main river (Hocheim vineyards are the only in Rheingau which are growing next to the Main river as opposed to those growing on Rhein shores) and heavy clay soils that retain the warmth and assure a long ripening period. The resulting Riesling wines are known to be powerful and elegant at the same time and have thus been named “Hochheimer Latour” by its devotees.

Gunter Künstler is probably the most recognized winemaker in Hochheim at the moment. He’s constantly been striving to implement quality enhancing measures in his winemaking process, always with the goal of captivating the pure expression of Terroir in his grapes. It is without doubt also his merit that Hochheim and its wines are represented on the world wine map.

From his top vineyards Hölle and Kirchenstück Künstler also offers dry whites superior to the First Growth. This is a confusing particularity since the association VDP praises the First Growth wines as top of dry whites’ classification pyramids for its member estates. His Goldkapsel wines though (with a golden capsule on the neck) represent an even superior level of grape selection than the already thoroughly selected First Growth. His 2007 Hölle Goldkapsel earned many laureats from the press and was among the Rieslings of the year. The German online wine platform Wein-Plus rated it 96 points.

Well, this day I only had the “smaller First Growth” Hochheimer Hölle in my glass. Nevertheless my expectations were quite high since it was produced in the same acclaimed 2007 vintage and well, comes from the exact same vineyard.

The colour is a pale gold. At first the nose seemed a bit one dimensional, well still nice with lots of ripe peaches and apricots, intense without seeming kitsch. But this wine breathes massively and develops with each minute in the glass. Air makes it grow and grow in a fast forward way! After some time thus, and even more on the next day, smells of pear, apple, citrus and herbs were interacting in the nose.
On the palate the weight and texture are fascinating. It tingles and dances on your palate, shows some power from time to time, challenging your palate without being brutal, and there is continuity. The wine feels like a wave that hits the tip of your tongue and rushes on into a long finish. The finish lingers with a slight alcoholic note, but it is not bothering much or could still disappear in the future.
And suddenly you realize the description of the vineyard is true. A Latour made of Riesling, combining power and elegance. Unfortunately I never had a Latour before, but right now I wouldn’t want anything else in my glass. 92+

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Categories: Germany,Rheingau
  1. alexis2 Said,

    REPLY:
    No I haven’t yet, but I will keep it in mind! Thanks Christian!

  2. Christian G.E. Schiller (guest) Said,

    Gunter Kuenstler is clearly the top winemaker in Hochheim. Have you tried the Primus of Michael Hueck? Very interesting wine, at a good price. See

    http://www.schiller-wine.blogspot.com

    Interesting blog.

    Cheers.

    Christian G.E. Schiller

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