Weiser-Kunstler

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Country of Origin: Germany
Location: Traben-Trarbach, Middle Mosel
People: Konstantin Weiser & Alexandra Künstler, Owners & Winemakers
Viticulture: Practicing Organic

Items

Weiser-Kunstler 2015 Riesling Sekt, Zeppwingert Vineyard, Mosel Login AG 93 <1 Case
Weiser-Kunstler 2017 Estate Riesling, Mosel New! Login In Stock
Weiser-Kunstler 2015 Riesling, Steffensberg Grand Cru, Mosel Login MFW 92 WA 92+ AG 93 In Stock
Weiser-Kunstler 2016 Riesling, Steffensberg Grand Cru, Mosel Login AG 91 WA 90+ <1 Case



David Rayer & Jean Fish, Mosel Fine Wine Review
“These are consistently among the top wines produced anywhere in the Mosel, made from painstakingly strict selections from prime steep vineyards planted with old ungrafted vines. Yet prices remain moderate… Savvy readers should plunge on these wines.”


Vinous 6/22/2017
"Whether bone dry, off-dry or overtly sweet, the Weiser-Künstler wines are characterized by energy, levity and clarity. Gentle handling of the young wines with minimal filtration and modest levels of sulfur all no doubt play positive roles. But there can be little question that the decisive factors are meticulousness in the vineyards – featuring creative and labor-intensive variations on organic viticulture – and the choice of parcels, many of whose vines are nearly old enough to recall the Fin de Siècle era when this stretch of Mosel enjoyed a reputation rivaled by few others."


From some of the most demanding vineyard sites in the world, the meditative and humble Konstantin Weiser and Alexandra Künstler craft magical wines unlike any other estate in Germany. Stylistically, their Rieslings are delicate, porcelain, detailed, mineral and pure. The focus is on Mosel Rieslings with noticeable residual sugar (Prädikat wines), but they make excellent dry and off-dry Rieslings as well. In other words, Weiser-Künstler does it all, and does it all beautifully. The dry Rieslings are razor sharp, more about mineral, salt and flower than about fruit. They feel like porcelain in their weight and purity. The Prädikat wines are “old school,” with lower amounts of residual sugar and higher amounts of acidity than most. They shiver with tension and acidity and remain fresh, agile and versatile. While this estate remains an insider’s secret, this is changing and every year demand rises. Supply, however, does not.

Founded in 2005, this tiny estate of just over three hectares is located in Traben-Trarbach, which is downstream from the famous “Hollywood” section of the Middle Mosel. Around the turn of the 20th century, Traben-Trarbach was one of the wealthiest towns in the Mosel. It was the heart of the Mosel Riesling trade. Mosel Rieslings during this time were considered the greatest wines in the world. Much of the grand architecture of Traben-Trarbach was built during this period. The stunning Jugendstil (“Art Nouveau”) Hotel Bellevue is perhaps the most iconic building of the village. This is an era that seems to inform much of the feel of Weiser-Künstler. The labels of this estate take their cue from the Jugendstil designers. The owl on the label represents wisdom, a reference to Konstantin's last name, Weiser.

Most importantly, the dawn of the 20th century was the height of fame for the vineyards that Weiser-Künstler now own and farm. The Lintz map of the Mosel from 1897 details the three key vineyards of Weiser-Künstler (Ellergrub, Gaispfad (spelled Geispfad on old maps) and Steffensberg) as grand cru sites (view map in image gallery). As a whole, this stretch is quainter than the grand amphitheaters of Piesport or Trittenheim, but it is every bit their equal. Traben-Trarbach fell into obscurity in the latter half of the 20th century, with many vineyards going abandoned. Therefore, the vines near Traben-Trarbach have not seen the “modernization” that many sites in the Mosel have. The vineyards still have their jutting, ladder-like terraces. The vines on these terraces are very old, ungrafted and high-density planted. This area of the Middle Mosel, literally, has roots that run very deep. One can taste that profundity in the wines.

Weiser-Künstler is a member of Der Klitzkleine Ring, which is a small circle of growers who show their wines together and labor in saving plots of old, precious Riesling vines on steep, slate slopes from being cut down. Konstantin and Alexandra are preserving the ancient terraces of Traben-Trarbach. They are in the vineyards daily, and it is obvious that they are most comfortable in their vineyards. They farm their vines organically and biodynmically with organic certification in the works. Because of stonewalls and the steepness of the sites, all the work has to be done by hand with a hoe.

Fermentation occurs spontaneously with native yeast in the cold cellar underneath their property. After brief skin contact (helping to reduce acidity), pressing occurs in an old pneumatic Willmes press. Stainless steel vats, old oak Fuder and second-hand barriques are used to influence the wines' structure. "Stainless steel better keeps the acidity, and wood helps to round it out," Konstantin says.

Vineyard Information: Gaispfad is adjacent to Ellergrub on the same, stony, southwest- and west-facing escarpment, known as the Starkenburger Hang. The slate soil here has more iron oxide than Ellergrub and is some redder slate, along with gray-blue slate and quartz. Steffensberg is a south-facing hillside vineyard in a side valley. It's at the lower end of the Ahringsbach, behind Enkirch, where the deep topsoil has plenty of iron oxide. Their choice parcel is in Ellergrub—a top vineyard site in the Middle Mosel. This steep, terraced slope consisting primarily of blue and gray slate, along with quartz, is the heart of the Weiser-Künstler property. The ungrafted Riesling vines located here are up to 100 years old.

Reviews

  • Weiser-Kunstler 2015 Riesling, Steffensberg Grand Cru, Mosel
    Mosel Fine Wines
    Rating: 92 (6/1/2016)

    This Riesling was fermented in fuder and left on its gross lees almost until bottling. An initial whiff of smoke and spontaneous fermentation quickly give way to gorgeous scents of white flowers, yellow peach, candied fruits and peach kernel. The wine shines through great presence and intensity on the palate. The structure is smooth but also exhibits great depth and mineral presence in the fully dry-tasting finish.
  • Weiser-Kunstler 2015 Riesling, Steffensberg Grand Cru, Mosel
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 92+ (4/28/2017)

    From roughly 45-year-old vines cultivated on gray slate in a coolish side valley of the Mosel, the 2015 Enkircher Steffensberg Riesling macerated for eight hours and fermented/aged in traditional fuders. It opens with a rich and ripe but super precise, piquant and coolish bouquet of bright and fresh Riesling flavors intermixed with aromas of lemon perfume on weathered slate. Lush on the palate, with generous, sensual, very precise and elegant fruit and piquant crystallinity, this is a great Mosel classic with a long and salty mouthwatering finish. However, the wine is a bit less complex and intense than the dry crus.
  • Weiser-Kunstler 2015 Riesling, Steffensberg Grand Cru, Mosel
    Vinous
    Rating: 93 (6/22/2017)

    An aromatically enticing, crisply refreshing amalgam of apple and lime tinged with basil is complemented by a polished feel and a long finish of utmost clarity. Hints of raw almond, crushed stone and pungent mustard seed offer fascination and invigoration, while a wealth of mineral salts tug relentlessly at the salivary glands. Although this wine, like the estate’s other dry “grands crus,” was encouraged in its fermentation by a relatively warm cellar environment, Weiser believes that it’s probably best that their Steffensberg typically stops (as it has again here) before it reaches analytical dryness, in this instance at scarcely more than 11 percent alcohol. It’s a terrific advertisement for the virtues of its authors and of a site that has reemerged to claim a rightfully exalted reputation.
  • Weiser-Kunstler 2015 Riesling Sekt, Zeppwingert Vineyard, Mosel
    Vinous
    Rating: 93 (1/3/2018)

    Disgorged in June 2017, the base wine here was effectively a Kabinett trocken, but given secondary fermentation nearly 12% alcohol accumulated. Fortunately, one still experiences the poise and buoyancy characteristic of Weiser-Künstler Riesling. Crushed stone, fresh lime and evocations of oyster liquor dominate the nose as well as the satiny, finely effervescent, mouthwateringly salt-tinged palate. But there is also an alluring upwelling of white peach and almond cream reinforced by the influence of lees. Prickly, piquant lime and grapefruit zests enhance the invigoration of a consummately refreshing finish transparent to myriad mineral nuances. I have very rarely tasted a finer Riesling Sekt – certainly never a finer young one, let alone one so youthfully disgorged! And my experience with this genre extends back well into the 1980s, when most German Riesling estates rendered Riesling Sekt, and not a few were justly proud of those offerings. Like numerous younger growers who have shown talent with Riesling Sekt, Weiser and Künstler have previously felt constrained to limit their efforts to vintages with relatively generous crops, even though that meant years in theory ideally suited to Sekt had to be passed over in the interest of maintaining sufficient volume of “regular” offerings. But Weiser explains that beginning with 2014 (and a wine I reviewed in my last report), “we have acquired this parcel in the Zeppwingert that will be dedicated every year to Sekt. It actually turns slightly to the north and can be picked later but with plenty of acidity. And the vines have been trained not in the classic Mosel manner, but in a way that inhibits accumulation of Oechsle.” Even so, quantities will remain very modest. In fact, we’re lucky in the US because otherwise only private customers and a few merchants and restaurants in the Trier area get any of this beauty, which I’m confident will merit following over an extended period.
  • Weiser-Kunstler 2016 Riesling, Steffensberg Grand Cru, Mosel
    Vinous
    Rating: 91 (1/3/2018)

    Scents and flavors of ripe pear and apple are tinged with site-typically smoky, peat-like earthiness. Subtle creaminess flatteringly betrays this wine’s having undergone malolactic transformation, but it finishes with the transparency to stony nuances as well as the generous sheer refreshment and invigorating piquancy that one expects from a Weiser-Künstler Riesling.
  • Weiser-Kunstler 2016 Riesling, Steffensberg Grand Cru, Mosel
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 90+ (4/27/2018)

    Bottled in April 2017 with just 4.2 grams of unfermented sugar, the 2016 Riesling Enkircher Steffensberg shows a yeasty bouquet of ripe white fruits and overmastered Golden Delicious apples. Creamy-textured but piquant and mineral, with good grip and tension in the finish, this is a medium to full-bodied, lush and juicy Riesling from vines that are 45+ years old. The finish is purely mineral and well structured, indicating very good aging potential. This is a mouth-filling wine with good phenols.