The 2017er vintage delivered some stunner. Few epitomize the brilliance, purity and vibrancy of this vintage as this Kabinett by Weingut von Hövel.
After a brilliantly vibrant 2015 and a gorgeously sensual 2016, the Mosel hit the bull’s eye three times in a row despite (or thanks to) the fact that 2017 was hit by some devastating yield-reducing frost.
The finest of the 2017 wines are simply amazing, combining intensity, purity, and balance ... and there is perfection at the top!
One wine which epitomizes the brilliance of the 2017 vintage particularly well is the amazing 2017er Scharzhofberger Kabinett by Weingut von Hövel.
Weingut von Hövel is one of the blue chip Estates of the region. This founding member of the VDP Mosel was already selling its finest casks at Auction in the 19th century. It can pride itself on a fine portfolio of Saar vineyards which includes the coveted Scharzhofberger.
The Estate had built its reputation on the great combination of depth and utter drinkability. We remember vividly how Eberhard von Kunow, the father of current owner Maximilian von Kunow, was hammering a table to deliver his credo: “Who needs a wine when you do not have the desire to finish a bottle?”
Maximilian von Kunow had to take over the family Estate rather hastily in 2008, after his father had a stroke. Max, as he is commonly known locally, has a unique combination of enthusiasm of the youth, burning flame for the Mosel and quite an astute commercial flair. The von Hövel rebounded quickly and has been gracing the world with some gorgeous wines over the years, among which a beautiful 2010er Spätlese Feinherb and a gorgeous 2011er Spätlese Trocken which we featured as Issue highlights.
When we talked to Maximilian von Kunow in the context of Part I of our 2017 Mosel Vintage Report last month, it was obvious that he was hugely satisfied with his 2017 vintage: “2017 was not a normal vintage, but then hardly any vintage is normal these days. Unlike many of my colleagues, I did not have any meaningful losses due to the terrible frosts in April. This has to do with the fact that most of my vineyards are situated at higher altitude than those in the Mosel and bud break happened later. I did quite a lot of vineyard work this year and it paid off as the pressure from botrytis did not really materialize, except at the end of the harvest. The acidity was high at the beginning but ripened as the harvest progressed, so that my wines have a quite playful side. Overall, I enjoy this vintage very much.”
The von Hövel Estate is one of the privileged few owning parcels (a total of 2.7 ha) in the mythical Scharzhofberger. These are spread over the whole eastern part of the vineyard.
This 2017er Kabinett was harvested in the middle of harvest at 85° Oechsle but from slightly higher yields (60 hl/ha) and was fermented in a combination of stainless steel and traditional Fuder casks.
This 2017er Scharzhofberger Kabinett is simply stunning (please note that this is the regular Scharzhofberger Kabinett currently available at the Estate and is different to Scharzhofberger Kabinett -28- which was sold into the Chinese market). It proves intense, marvelously pure, yet elegantly playful and perfumed at the same time.
Overall, 2017 is easily the finest vintage since 1990 and possibly the finest vintage ever at the venerable von Hövel Estate. The wines completely transcend the intensity of the vintage and deliver the vintage’s amazing aromatic purity and balance with the light-footed, mouthwatering zest that has made the success of the von Hövel Estate over the years. The Kabinett wines are juicy, the Spätlese elegant and playful and the Auslese rich yet mouthwatering.
Some wines may seem “light” when compared to more intense wines made by others. But trust us on this one: In 10 years, you will be glad to have some of these superb babies in your cellar. This is a must-buy for whoever likes playful and deep fruity-styled Mosel Riesling!
The stunning collection of 2017er Riesling wines by von Hövel were reviewed in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 41 (Jun 2018). 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.
The 2017er Scharzhofberger Kabinett was fermented down to fully fruity levels. This is still massively under the impact of the spontaneous fermentation on the nose. It takes a few minutes before a most beautiful and telltale nose of white peach, white flowers, mint and plenty of chalky minerals, blended into elements of smoky slate to perfection. The wine is racy but also delivers a delicately smoothing feel of creamy grapefruit on the palate. While it does have the presence of a light Spätlese, the wine remains light-footed and completely elegant right into the apricot blossom infused finish and leaves one with a superbly airy, delicately fruity and mineral feel in the after-taste. Overall, the wine still remains rather shy and it is easy to overlook its greatness to come. Everything is there for making a stunning, playfully light yet complex Spätlese or Auslese like Eberhard von Kunow, the father of Max, used to make in the 1990s. 2027-2042
© 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.