Nackenheim, Rheinhessen, Germany
With the sad passing in 2016 of renowned winemaker Fritz Hasselbach, Johannes Hasselbach (6th generation at Gunderloch) has now officially taken the winemaking reins at the Gunderloch estate. The 126 year old estate is clearly in good hands.
Fritz has bequeathed to his son Johannes a thriving estate of approximately 25ha of vines in some of the top vineyards of the "Roter Hang" ("red slope") area in the Rheinhessen appellation. In Nackenheim they own a nearly monopole position in the grand cru Rothenberg (65% of the estate’s holdings) which is planted completely to Riesling. The average yield is held to 45 hl/ha, amongst the lowest in Germany, resulting in wines of high extraction and great quality. Minimum ripeness for the various quality levels is significantly above the requirements of the German wine law. The wines are never de-acidified and in high acid vintages bottling is often delayed to allow the wines to harmonize and soften. The cellar work is accomplished with a minimum amount of handling and has traditionally been very reductive in style--although that may gradually start changing as Johannes pursues his own explorations in the cellar. Production for the whole estate is 40% dry, 30% off-dry and 30% fruity-to-sweet. Again however, those numbers are starting to skew drier, which of course reflects the general trend in German winemaking.
The Rieslings from here, particularly those from the Rothenberg, are some of the finest in Rheinhessen and in Germany. These are full, elegant wines full of yellow fruits, great structure and fine acidity for long aging.
Gunderloch Riesling Kabinett Jean Baptiste 2015
From a blend of Tim's top vineyard sites; all younger vines. Red and blue slate as well as volcanic stone. Beautiful clear color. Limpid. Amazingly focused and elegant aroma.
"Fresh lime and ocean breeze on the nose anticipate the animating, bright juiciness and mouthwateringly saline, smoky, iodine-laced savor of toasted shrimp shells delivered on a polished palate. Suggestions of fresh apple and white currant lend tang and crunch. This finishes with a combination of flavor concentration, lift, clarity, focus and refreshment shared by many of the most striking wines of this vintage. But it’s only an “intro-level” bottling! 90 points" - David Schildknecht , Vinous.com, April, 2018
Gunderloch Riesling Dry Estate 2016
Schiefergestein comes from vineyards of slate in Bockenau and Monger as well as younger vines from the grand cru of Felseneck, planted to soils of blue Devonian slate, basalt and quartz. The 2016 vintage started tough but finished with a very cool picking season that lasted from September through November, allowing Tim to harvest at optimal ripeness. No added yeasts. Healthy grapes means less SO2 and this hovers around 43mg. 25-30 year old vines. Flinty slate-y and spicy on the palate.
"This leads with a remarkably vivid evocation of both wet and crushed stone, along with smoky struck flint, lime, blueberry and grapefruit – impressions confirmed on a polished, generously juicy, palpably dense yet buoyant palate. Accents of citrus zest, the piquant ping of citrus seed, and a suffusion of crushed stone pull the gripping finish in a slightly austere direction, but happily the sense of energy never flags. You can revisit this with pleasure, even awe – and it seems almost relaxed by comparison – after experiencing its more concentrated big brother and dry wine-of-the-vintage – namely, the 2016 Felseneck Grosses Gewächs. 92 Points" - David Schildknecht , Vinous.com, April, 2018
Gunderloch Riesling Niersteiner Dry 2016
Tim considers this traditional style of wine a Blanc de Noir rather than a rose. The color certainly backs up his claim as it's more onion skin in appearance than pink. The Pinot Noir grapes come from Stromberg-- a very steep vineyard full of volcanic rock and planted with 40+ year old Spätburgunder vines. Tim seeks "maximum elegance;" and achieves this by using only free run juice and no skin contact. Direct press. Made like a white wine . Some steel and some halbstück (600 liter barrels). The texture, acidity and minerality belie the light color. Limited.
Gunderloch Riesling Auslese Rothenberg 2016
Vulkangestein consists of vines planted to holdings with volcanic soils in and around Schlossbockelheim as well as younger vines from the grand cru Felsenberg, planted to weathered volcanic porphyry soils and quartz. Fermented naturally in a combination of 600 liter halbstück barrels and stainless steel tanks. Smoky and fruity. Great balance with a textured palate and a mineral finish that goes on and on.
"Fresh lime, white peach and red raspberry mingle with bittersweet floral perfume (gentian, iris) and maritime mineral notes on the nose as well as on the subtly creamy but animatingly, brightly juicy palate. This finishes lusciously full of fruit, yet with invigorating tang and a seemingly protein-rich savor of shrimp shell reduction and oyster liquor that tugs incessantly at the salivary glands. 92 Points" - David Schildknecht , Vinous.com, April, 2018