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WTN: Weingut Keller Rieslings


David McDuff
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Some tasting notes from the vault, as experienced during a February 2004 visit to Weingut Keller in the Rheinhessen. The full write-up of the visit is available at:

Weingut Keller: Shining Star in the Rheinhessen

The notes:

2003 Riesling QbA trocken

The first of the 2003 Rieslings to be finished, this was due to be bottled a week after our visit. This sample was tasted from a bottle pulled from vat earlier in the day. Very soft mouthfeel and extremely yeasty, showing simple tropical fruit on the palate. The QbA wines are produced with a combination of fruit from non-cru vineyard sites and of declassified fruit from the crus. No chaptalization was used.

2002 Riesling “Von der Fels”

Fruit from 15-30 year-old vines in several of Keller’s crus – still too young for the Großes Gewächs bottlings – has gone into “Von der Fels” since its first release in 2000. Though labeled simply as a QbA, this is essentially a non-vineyard designated Spätlese trocken, meant to be representative of the estate’s limestone rich terroir as expressed in a dry style. Lean aromatics gave way to concentrated limestone minerality with a fuller, firmer mouthfeel than in the basic QbA wines.

2002 Hubacker Riesling Großes Gewächs

The rather gothic looking rust orange labels of Keller’s grand cru bottlings are facsimiles of the old family labels which were used up to 1953. The ’02 Hubacker was muscular, spicy, and even a bit earthy, with tremendous mineral extract. Very closed at time of tasting, with loads of acidity keeping the 13% alcohol in check.

2000 Hubacker Riesling “Max” Großes Gewächs

Named to commemorate the birth of Klaus-Peter’s son, the 2000 was more aromatically forthcoming. Though still tasting very young, its mouthfeel had begun to round, showing orange oil and spicy earth on the palate. A very difficult vintage, with rain at harvest time. Keller explained that the purely spontaneous fermentation methods used for his Großes Gewächs can lead to extremely long fermentation times – think in terms of years – and can leave primary yeast characteristics in the flavor profile of the wines for their first 3-5 years in bottle.

2002 Dalsheimer Hubacker Riesling Spätlese

Rich fruit, candied citrus peels. Extremely well balanced. Short notes….

2003 Dalsheimer Hubacker Riesling Spätlese

Tasted from a sample bottle pulled from vat. K-P found 2003 a perfect vintage for the production of Spätlese. Big time tropical fruit, very exotic and, not surprisingly, very yeasty. Far richer and rounder than the ’02, but nonetheless showing good acid (6.5g) for a hot vintage. Elegant.

1997 Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Auslese

This is a bit of a rarity in the Keller portfolio as it comes from a vineyard site in the Rheingau that was leased by the Keller’s only from 1996-1998, while Klaus-Peter was still in oenology school. The wine was sold only at auction. Beautiful, golden color. A nose loaded with scents of botrytis. Honeyed on the front palate with lovely minerality on the mid-palate. Flavors of fruitcake, along with some petrol hints, typical to the more slate and quartzite soils of the Rheingau.

1997 Dalsheimer Hubacker Riesling Spätlese

Very young in appearance and taste, with lively fruit accented by a hint of botrytis character (about 10% botrytis effected fruit). Minerally but not at all petrol in character, with very fine peach and lemon peel tones.

2003 Grüner Silvaner QbA trocken

Something forward and refreshing to finish the tasting. Silvaner is apparently quite the thing among German consumers. All of Keller’s Silvaner vines are at least 25 years old; they even produce a varietal Silvaner from 45 year-old grand cru vines. The 2003 showed a typically herbal nose but with riper fruit on the palate than in the previous few years. The grassiness was even more prevalent on the palate. Very fresh. Clocking in at 12.5%, higher in alcohol than the norm but still considered low for the vintage.

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i've heard a LOT about this producer and have yet to try some...time to give the donnhoff's a break i suppose.

the 04's are supposed to be top and as for the g-max...hopefully i'll be able to get my paws on some soon.

They're seriously good. You missed the dee vine sale a few months ago where they were selling the 03 Keller Westhofener Kirchspiel Kabinett for nine bucks. It's worth seeking them out.

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