The crenellated, slate-roofed, be-towered Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt H.Q. in the municipality of Morscheid – due east of Trier – dates back to 1349 and enjoys enviable vine-holdings in the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer river valleys that now total 46 hectares. Widely-recognised as a terrific source of characterful and finely-crafted wines largely made from Riesling, it is an excellent location for gaining an insight into contemporary German wine-making. Their popular, dry 'Alte Reben' (old vine) bottling is carefully-crafted from fruit sourced from several sites in the Mosel valley to yield a wine of great finesse and precision with delightful orchard fruit scents and flavours underscored by a nervy minerality. A sibling Bockstein Riesling comes from a precious, south-facing 0.64 hectare plot by the village of Ockfen in the Saar. Zesty, citrus-edged and off-dry with ripe peach fruit and a long finish, it is drinking beautifully and should do so for at least another 5 years. Amongst the estate's most prized possessions is the 5-hectare 'monopole' Josephshöfer vineyard in the Mosel. The resulting dry 'Grosses Gewächs' wine has spicy aromas and an exotic palate of dried peach and apricot with lychee notes and an impressively long finish that should gain even more complexity with further bottle age.
Anyone looking for a mature slightly off-dry Riesling will be drawn to the Riesling Spätlese from the historic slate-soiled Scharzhofberg vineyard in the Saar. This late-harvested wine has a wealth of preserved fruit, hints of honey, a fine acidity and a persistent palate. It makes a fine partner to mature goat's cheese but is delicious in its own right. We are also pleased to have secured a parcel of half-bottles of the lightly-sweet Riesling Spätlese from the celebrated Wehlener 'Sonnenuhr' (sundial) vineyard in the central Mosel. With an inviting 'baked apple' bouquet and racy palate of candied fruit offset a by a zesty freshness, it should drink well for at least a decade.
A fringe benefit of meeting Jürgen Hofmann in the Rheinhessen was discovering the 'Schiefer' Riesling made by his wife Carolin from her family's vineyard in the Saar. The slate soils of the Rosenburg vineyard imbue the wine with appealing wild flower and whitecurrant aromas and a whistle clean, minerally palate that pairs beautifully with spicy, Asian dishes.