We highlight wines of particular elegance from the latest Issue. This dry Riesling by Lubentiushof finds the right balance between Terrassenmosel spice and ethereal Mosel elegance.
The Mosel Vintage 2014 proved a remarkably contrasted vintage with true strokes of genius right next to the ordinary (to remain polite). Never have we experienced such a huge diversity in quality and style as in 2014.
However, at the top the vintage delivers some true gems, among the finest since the 1990s. If one got rid of the rot, one was left with stunning clean ripe and zesty grapes with moderate sugar levels ideal for elegant dry wines.
Among these dry wines (and we tasted them all), the 2014er Gondorfer Gäns Trocken by Weingut Lubentiushof impressed us particularly with its timeless balance between Terrassenmosel spice and ethereal Mosel elegance.
But before delving into the magic and details of this wine, a few words on the Estate, which may not be known to all. In 1994, Andreas and Suzanne Barth took over the Lubentiushof in Niederfell just upriver to Winningen, in the Terrassenmosel. The Terrassenmosel is the name given to the stretch of the Mosel going from Pünderich right down to Koblenz.
This historic Estate had belonged to the von der Leyen family, one of the most powerful families in the region and the largest private owner of vineyards (with over 200 ha in the Mosel alone) in the 18th century. Its 2.5 ha of vineyards included a 1.5 ha of vineyards in the Gondorfer Gäns, a somewhat forgotten vineyard tucked at the entrance to a side valley. Hoewever, the Gondorfer Gäns could look to a glorious past, having been already been classified highly (dark red) on the taxation maps of the 19th century.
As you can see from the picture here above, the vineyard is very steep and a good part of the hill is grown on terraces. This did not frighten off the Barth, who painstakingly revived the vineyard and its access and consolidates their holding on this hill. Overall, they increased their holding to total of 4 ha by adding parcels on hills in Gondorf, Niederfell and Kobern, including one in the prized Koberner Uhlen.
Right since the start, the focus of their portfolio has been on dry and dry-tasting wines (even though they do produce some fruity Kabinett and Spätlese as well as dessert wines from time to time).
Winemaking is done without herbicides. Fermentations are done in stainless steel with ambient yeasts exclusively and the wines get extensive lees contact before being bottled, typically in the summer after the vintage (at least for the more ambitious wines).
The house style of the Lubentiushof is completely driven by elegance. The wines are self-contained and not “loud.” While the top bottlings do show some of the intrinsic power of Terrassenmosel wines, overall finesse best defines the collection. Refreshingly moderate levels of alcohol (hardly any wine has more than 12% of alcohol) add a great feeling of balance.
The Gondorfer Gäns terroir is central to the style of the Estate. What makes this hill so special? As Andreas explains, “the soil is rather complex. It mixes some Devonian slate with volcanic elements as well as quite some quartzite, especially in the lower part of the vineyard. This gives quite some spicy but also very subtle wines.”
All this played a role on crafting this beautifully elegant 2014er Gondorfer Gäns Trocken, which is the mid-range wine in the Lubentiushof portfolio. This wine was made from fruit with comparatively moderate sugar levels (no more than 88° Oechsle whereas 90-95° Oechsle would be more usual for the region).
The result is a wine which brings spicy flavors, aromatic intensity but above all super elegance. Did we mention elegance? Why this Estate is not better known and recognized as one of the stars of the Mosel remains a mystery to us. The wines are THAT good!
A review of the superb 2014 Lubentiushof wines can be found in Part II of the 2014 Vintage Report published in Issue No 29 (Oct 2015). You are a subscriber and miss this Issue? Simply send us a request by email and we will be happy to send you a copy. You are not yet a subscriber and wish to get this Issue? Subscribe free of charge by registering yourself here below and ask us for a copy by email.
Gondorfer Gäns Riesling Trocken
This delivers gorgeous scents of white melon, white peach, coconut, white flowers and a hint of apricot blossom. The wine is deliciously creamy and still slightly tart on the palate and delivers the fiery side of the Terrassenmosel with great playfulness and elegance. This is simply gorgeously well-made. The wine is still on the tart side in the finish at this early stage. It is therefore best left alone for a year or two to fully enjoy it. 2016-2024+
© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.