The imperious crenelated and be-towered Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt in the municipality of Morscheid, due east of Trier, dates back to 1349 and looks like it could be a suitable dwelling for Prince Frickle or Rapunzel. The estate enjoys prime vine holdings in the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer valleys and has long been recognised as one of the pre-eminent sources of fine wine in Germany. Their old vine 'Alte Reben' Riesling is made from grapes sourced from several locations in the Mosel and Saar and is at the drier end of the spectrum. Writing in MoneyWeek, Matthew Jukes enthused about the 2017 vintage: "This style is grabbing headlines in top German restaurants and wine bars. I love the tension here, but it is the counterpoint between the classic Mosel nose and then the racy, taut palate that enchants."
Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt's 'Ockfener Bockstein' Riesling Kabinett hails from a south-facing 0.64 hectare plot of vines in the Saar. It is zesty, lime-licked, off-dry and perfect with cheese or charcuterie. Amongst Kesselstatt's most prized vine holdings is the 4 hectare monopole 'Josephshöfer' vineyard that yields wines of great finesse and longevity. The Grosse Lage 'GG' Riesling that emanates thence has alluring white peach scents and a complex palate of lychees, spice and citrus fruit with a persistent dry finish. We are pleased to have procured a parcel of half-bottles of the stellar sweet Riesling Spätlese from the Devonian blue slate soils of the acclaimed Sonnenuhr vineyard near Wehlen in the middle part of the Mosel. With inviting baked apple scents and a tangy palate of preserved peel and fresh acidity, it is already drinking well but will support at least a decade's bottle age. In contrast, from the historic slate-soiled Scharzhofberg vineyard in the Saar valley, the 2004 vintage of Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt's Spätlese Riesling has over a decade and a half's bottle age. Grapes ripen slowly given the microclimate and are usually picked as late as November. This gives the wine elegance and finesse and a touch of Noble Rot adds another dimension. Concentrated ripe citrus fruit, exquisite acidity, light sweetness and great length; this is a must with cheese or apple crumble.
An added bonus from a visit to Jürgen Hofmann's winery in Appenheim was a sampling of his wife Carolin's 'Schiefer' Riesling from her family's 'Willems-Willems' estate in the Saar. The slate soils of the Rosenburg vineyard imbue her wine with wild flower and white currant scents and a tangy, citrus-edged, mineral-streaked palate. It makes a terrific aperitif or partner to spicy Asiatic dishes.