Koehler Ruprecht Kallstadter Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2019
IS 2019 GERMANY’S 100-POINT VINTAGE?
The 2019 vintage is the best vintage I have ever tasted for German riesling in my four-decade career. Like James, my career as a wine critic began in the early 1980s. The first German vintage I tasted as young wines was 1983 and I can’t remember a vintage like that – until now. The 2019 wines, from dry to classic style with natural grape sweetness are simply astonishing quality, which means 2019 is one of the greatest vintages of modern times and will be remembered for decades, possibility generations. STUART PIGOTT, jamessuckling.com
The iconic estate with its world-class dry Rieslings, which were made by the former owner Bernd Philippi for a long period, is operated by Dominik Sona and his team today. STEPHAN REINHARDT
Kallsatdt is home to one of the greatest dry white wines in the world. Yes, I’m talking about the dry Saumagen Riesling from Koehler-Ruprecht.
What makes these wines so special? It is a combination of weight and delicacy, liveliness and mellowness, plus a properly dry balance. For those of you seeking a more concrete orientation in the form of a direct comparison with another well-known wine, it bears quite a similarity to Trimbach’s Clos Set Hune, the most expensive dry white wine from Alsace, France. STUART PIGOTT
Everyone remember this bad boy from last year? If not let me remind you. Koehler Ruprecht is an iconic German estate and one of those producers that actually deserves the reputation of having a “cult” following. Amongst Riesling nerds they have been a hotly debated topic for many years. Some claiming that they are about as good as it gets and others, like me, saying that the wines often lacked freshness and could be too oxidative, losing a lot of their natural appeal.
In recent years there has been a change in ownership and while they kept the old winemaker on, to learn what made the style so unique, they have made some small but really significant steps. The results have begun to yield what I have always wanted to see from Ruprecht, and what a lot of people thought the wines represented in the past. This is the second release of their Kallstadter Kabinett that has stopped me in my tracks. I was hoping this would be as good as last the previous vintage, I didn’t imagine it would be even better.
You will be hearing a lot from us about the 2019 vintage in Germany and probably lots of comments like “this is too good for its humble category” but that seems to be what the vintage is yielding. Dramatic wines that, at their best, are closing in on perfection and at this level there is just so much to the wines that they seem to defy their places in the quality hierarchy. It really is shaping up to be one of the better vintages, from anywhere, you are likely to see. I think I am as excited about 19 German Riesling as I was about 14 Burgs, that is a lot of excitement.
Anyway, back to the wine, this is too good for its humble category. Ruprecht tends to run long ferments, extract a little phenolic grip and mature the wines in very large old wood. The results, today, are wines of unusual depth and intensity with huge power but, as is the case here, unbelievable energy and it is all checked by that palate coating extract. This is a deadest ripper of a wine.
Last year we had a lot of people come back and try to buy more of the 2018 but it had sold out within a couple of hours. There was a lot of people who tried the wine and wanted to double down and we couldn’t help. Don’t let that happen again. Go hard on this if you can. I promise you want be sorry.
There is no review yet. As I mentioned they tend to bottle a little later, due to the extended ferments and aging, than many of their comrades and I can only assume that critics haven’t had opportunity to taste them in 2020. Please, trust me here, the reviews will come and I am absolutely certain this is going to be lavished with praise, it deserves it. If this isn’t the best release of this wine to date I will eat my hat (please note that I do not wear a hat and that is a figure of speech).
I am not sure what else to say here, I mean it’s probably a long enough rant at this stage, but this is one of Germany’s great estates and it has had a serious injection of life in recent times. All the necessary ingredients are there to create wines of the highest conceivable quality and it would appear as though that is precisely what they are set to do now. It is truly exciting to see a producer like this storm back to the fore.
As someone who I regard as one of Australia’s biggest Riesling nerds said to me just recently “They are my number one producer in Germany”. Now, I don’t know if I would go that far but certainly they are making all the right moves and this is yet another gorgeous example from them.