2018 is a ripe and round vintage but some wines, such as this superb dry Estate Riesling by Nik Weis, completely defy this logic.
2018 is a ripe and consumer-friendly vintage characterized by fruit and mild acidity. For lovers of racy Mosel, is there therefore little to cheer? Not really, as we explain in the Part I of our 2018 vintage report: A few growers completely defied the ripe DNA of the vintage and produced some truly stunningly fresh and racy wines.
One such wine turns out to be the 2018er Mosel Riesling (White label) by Weingut Nik Weis, one of the finest Estate wines we have ever tasted.
Weingut Nik Weis - St. Urbans-Hof is one of the household names in the Mosel and the Saar. The Weis family first made a name for itself through its vine nursery, one of the world’s finest for Riesling.
As of the late 1980s right until the early 2000s, the Estate astutely took over major holdings of prime vineyards in the Mosel and the Saar from ailing Estates and gradually transformed the small family Estate in Leiwen into one of the largest operations in the region.
Today, the Estate extends over 45 ha of vineyards with sizeable vineyards, among others, in the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen, Leiwener Laurentiuslay, Mehringer Layet (the finest sector in the Blattenberg vineyard), Schodener Saarfeilser Marienberg and Ockfener Bockstein.
The Estate’s style combining presence and ripeness rang a cord with the public. It is therefore also not surprising that we featured several of its wines, including the 2009er Saarfeilser Spätlese Feinherb and the 2013er Saarfeilser Spätlese, as Issue Highlight over the years, and that the Estate’s wines regularly make it on our lists of vintage highlights, and this as recently as in the 2017 vintage.
Nik Weis may be one of the few growers who have a Mosel-wide perspective by tending Grand Cru vineyards in both the Mosel and the Saar, he has also an eye for his neck of the world, namely Leiwen.
Here, the Estate consolidated a large holding around the Estate in the lesser-known Leiwener Klostergarten, as Nik explained: “After World War II, in parallel to setting up his vine nursery, my grandfather also acquired some land around the Estate which he turned into vineyards. Over the years, we also planted these vineyards with some old genetic vine material (in support for our vine nursery) which we collected from old and sometimes abandoned vineyards in the region. So these vineyards are both old and planted with unique historic clones. In addition, the Leiwener Klostergarten has the particularity that it is situated on a bedrock of blue slate. This bedrock means that the water table is rather high and the vineyards get water even in such dry vintages as 2018.”
The Estate has been producing a dry Estate wine from these holdings since decades, but has been commercializes it as Mosel Riesling under its white label since 2015. This wine is commercialized as Mosel Riesling Dry in the US. As Nik explains, this wine is made along the same principles as those for his high-end wines: “We put quite some efforts in this Estate wine: The vineyards are dedicated to this wine. They are worked without herbicides. We leave some greening between the vines and only use contact pesticides.”
In 2018, the Estate did a pre-harvest to clean the grapes from burnt pieces, unripe shots and overripe berries which helped towards the quality: “We then ferment the grapes with ambient yeasts in stainless steel without temperature control and bottled the wine rather early to retain some freshness.”
What is there to say? This dry Riesling is simply superb and we gave it one of the highest ratings ever for a “mere” Estate wine. There is nothing “mere” here. The warm and dry 2018 vintage allowed this section to really shine and Nik grasped the opportunity. The result is a wine which compares favorably with the region’s best dry wines … and this at a fraction of the cost.
Good news rarely come alone: This wine was produced in good quantities and is widely available.
The 2018 collection by Weingut Nik Weis
was reviewed in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 47 (August 2019).
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Mosel Riesling (White Label)
The 2018er Mosel Riesling with a white label comes from parcels partially planted with very old vines in the Leiwener Klostergarten and was fermented down to legally-dry levels of residual sugar. It offers a beautifully intense and superbly complex nose made of smoke, spices, pear, yellow peach, grapefruit and citronella, all wrapped into residual scents from its spontaneous fermentation. The wine proves deliciously charming on the palate where ample creamy fruits make for a smooth and delicate feel. The finish is tight, zesty and above all intensely spicy. The hugely long after-taste is beautifully dry, pure and energetic. This glorious Estate wine kicks far above the usual standards of these wines and should not be missed. What a huge success! 2020-2033
© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling ... and beyond!"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.