Weiser-Künstler has been at the forefront of Mosel quality since its creation in 2005. Unsurprisingly, it crafted one of the Spätlese highlights in 2015.
Few vintages have been as hyped as 2015 and there is some truth in it. 2015 yielded some stunning wines, and this in all stylistic directions.
But not everything that shines is gold. At its heart, 2015 is a ripe vintage, pepped up by glorious zest, with many wines on the powerful side. Only the very best wines will turn into classics in a decade or two.
One of these wines will undoubtedly be the elegant and incredibly complex 2015er Enkircher Ellergrub Spätlese by the Weiser-Künstler Estate.
We could introduce the Weingut Weiser-Künstler based on a few facts: Recent creation (2005). Based in Traben-Trarbach. 5 ha of vineyards spread over the finest hills around Traben-Trarbach. Spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel. Some pre-fermentation coal soak on the top dry-tasting wines. Extended aging on the lees for the more ambitious dry wine. Great Art-Deco label. Nice people.
However, this would miss the point completely on what is in essence one of the great and still largely unsung success stories of the last 20 years in the Mosel.
Neither Konstantin Weiser nor Alexandra Künstler were born into wine. Konstantin Weiser comes from Bavaria (Swabia) and abandoned a career in banking for winemaking. After his winemaking studies, we first met him in 2003 at his friend Daniel Vollenweider: He had just taken on the position as winemaker at the then troubled Immich-Batterieberg Estate. Little were we to know back then what an incredible story would follow.
Konstantin soon left the Immich-Batterieberg Estate (it took another 5 years and the arrival of new investors supported by Gernot Kollmann to bring the Estate back on track) and was on the look out for his own project. In the Mosel, he met Alexandra Künstler (also from Bavaria, but from Franconia!). She had nothing to do with wine either: At the time, she worked in the section for handicapped people at the Kloster Ebernach in nearby Cochem.
In 2005, they were made an “once-in-a-lifetime” offer: To lease a prime parcel with very old un-grafted vines in the Ellergrub from heirs of the Immich-Batterieberg Estate. They did not hesitate one second, took the plunge and set up their own Estate.
There are few instances where the words “start from scratch” find a better meaning. They literally started from nothing. There is no smart money to buy the fanciest equipment and recruit teams of workers and engage into grand marketing. The first vintages were made at the facilities of friend Daniel Vollenweider and they only gradually developed their Estate. Still today, they share the burden in the vineyard, in the cellar and commercially, with the help of some interns and faithful season workers.
Right from the start, we have been under the spell of the incredibly high quality of the Weiser-Künstler wines. One of our first wines of the month is their ethereal 2007er Enkircher Ellergrub Riesling Kabinett. We have been bowled over by the incredible purity, presence and finesse of the Weiser-Künstler wines ever since we started Mosel Fine Wines back in 2008.
Not only does Weingut Weiser-Künstler produce year in year out some of the finest wines of the whole region, Alexandra and Konstantin are some of the most thoughtful and kindest winemakers we have met anywhere in the world. Their vigneron life revolves around quality and traditional winemaking, celebrating the best of the Mosel. They only work vineyards on single pole (the most labor intensive vine training method). Lately, the Estate started its conversion to organic vine growing in 2015 (to be fully certified by 2018).
Although we still believe that Weingut Weiser-Künstler is not yet recognized at its true value, the world of fine wines has thankfully started to recognize its amazing quality and most wines are now highly allocated.
The pride of the Estate is its stunning 1.8 ha vineyard situated in the best part of the Ellergrub and still planted with very very old, un-grafted vines (no precise figure is available but Alexandra and Konstantin reckeon that they are at least 80 and most probably over 100 years old). The slope is so steep here that winemaking is mostly done on terraces and is only possibly with the help of a monorail track.
When asked about the success of its Ellergrub wines in 2015, Konstantin puts forward their very old vines: “The Ellergrub vineyard is quite a dry affair and should, on paper, not fare so well in dry vintages. However, our very old vines did not seem affected at all by the dry summer of 2015.” As usual, the Spätlese came from essentially clean fruit (harvested at 93-94° Oechsle) in the middle to upper terraced parts of vineyard towards the end of the harvest.
The Spätlese is very special indeed as it adds presence to the telltale filigreed finesse and precise zesty side that has made the success of the Weiser-Künstler wines. While enjoyable now, the Spätlese will only fully blossom after many years of bottle age but should then prove one of the best ever at this great Estate.
The complete superb 2015 collection by Weiser-Künstler was reviewed in Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 31 (Jun 2016). 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.
Enkircher Ellergrub Riesling Spätlese
This stunner is still backward and marked by a touch of spontaneous fermentation at this early stage. The wine starts of on an elegant and flowery side on the nose before richer flavors of yellow peach, cardamom and dried herbs join the party. A stunningly complex and multi-layered greets one on the palate, which the wine an incredibly sense of finesse and lightness despite the intensity of the flavors. The long, smooth and airy finish of this magnificent Spätlese is simply irresistible. What a superbly complex wine in the making! 2025-2045
© 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.