2019 Pinot Blanc joins latest Riesling from biodynamic Westhofen estate
“Without a doubt, Wittmann’s 2019s […] are great wines, even greater than the 2018s, possibly even the finest of the last 20 years,” reports Wine Advocate’s Stephan Reinhardt of this latest set of wines.
Such an outcome, according to Philipp Wittmann, borders on a miracle because the 2019 vintage was quite a turbulent affair.It was only when harvesting the “perfectly ripe and healthy grapes”, he told Reinhardt, that it became clear 2019 was destined for greatness.
By now a certain amount of press hype has made 2019’s brilliance seem a foregone conclusion. As we’re often at pains to point out – and Philipp’s comment on turbulence bears it out – the über-conscientious growers in Germany’s top flight don’t need benign vintages in order to realise miraculous wines. Where generations-old wisdom meets contemporary broadmindedness, and vine-whispering sensitivity blends with do-or-die toil in the field, spectacular wines flow forth.
Organically certified since 1990 and biodynamic since 2004, Philipp’s parcels of his beloved Rheinhessen are a haven where nature thrives. Limestone rules around his home in Westhofen, whose rocks are the sensory X-factor and texture-lending lifeblood. The Wittmann family owns significant parcels in four grand-cru sites here, with a further GG-in-waiting in neighbouring Gundersheim. “Everything in the Grossen Lagen is treated as GG, regardless of its destination,” says Philipp – explaining why everything from the estate wines up tastes so impeccably distinctive. “I should never start to think about the cost of what I do in the vineyard. I always think about what the vines need to do it well.”
You have to love perfectionists like this – those who bounce around, energised by their craft and smiling at the joy it affords. While the Rheinhessen is a lovely place to ripen beautiful Riesling berries, there’s plenty of work to be done.
And Philipp has done it again, with a pure and scintillating expression of perfectly manicured vines on gentle German slopes.
The fertile hills (“Hügel” in German ) of Rheinhessen are the home of Philipp Wittmann. This characteristic Pinot Blanc (Weisser Burgunder) walks an impressive tightrope of freshness and elegance. It has playful aromas of ripe fruit, herbs and mandarin. The palate delivers a beautiful creamy texture accented with subtle hints of roasted nut. It pairs deliciously with a range of Mediterranean dishes or simply a comfortable deck chair and a relaxing view.
What a beauty for this category! Wonderful, mirabelle nose, then a concentrated and beautifully proportioned palate with lively, citrusy acidity keeping everything bright. Super finish! From biodynamically grown grapes with Respekt certification. Drink or hold. Screw cap.93 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com