Ace ’18 Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc & Riesling from singular Pfalz estate
“From what I have tasted this summer I can say that 2018 is a terrific vintage for the Saumagen and nothing less than spectacular for Koehler-Ruprecht, with stunningly pure and refreshing wines despite the warm and sunny vintage” So wrote Stephan Reinhardt, German specialist critic for The Wine Advocate, about the performance of this singular Pfalz estate.
The 2018 village Riesling from its home base in Kallstadt has been going gangbusters and is, but for a few magnums, now no more. But we do have a newly arrived Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir from the same excellent harvest, as well as a spectacular dry Spätlese Riesling from the wonderful Saumagen grand-cru vineyard.
The Pinot Blanc is grown on sand, limestone and gravel soils across three different vineyards: Steinacker, Annaberg and Saumagen. Average vine age is about 18 years. Healthy fruit is hand selected to go into one vat and spend a night on skins. Fermented in 2500-, 1600- and 1200-litrer barrels before blending into one wine.
Bottled with 12.5% alcohol, the 2018 Weisser Burgunder Kabinett trocken is intense, pure and fresh as well as aromatic on the elegant and substantial yet seductive nose where honeydew melon aromas intermix with limestone and almond or nutty notes. Rich and round on the palate, with notes of gray bread, this is an intense and elegant Pinot Blanc with almost sweetish fruit on the finish. This is a very elegant and mouth-filling Pinot for earlier consumption. It has a well-structured, substantial finish with fine phenolic grip and salinity and ripe apple notes.88+ points. Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
Dominik Sona aims for a light-bodied, traditional Pfalz Spätburgunder here – ripe but with modest alcohol and good acidity. The fruit is destemmed and then wild fermented in stainless steel. After 3-5 weeks they drain the tank and press the skins, then blend it into Doppelstück and Halbstück barrels (pretty much no new wood). Natural malolactic conversion. After 20-26 months the wine is racked, given a light filtration and bottled, with free SO2 down at 40ppm.
The unfiltered 2018 Spätburgunder Kabinett trocken displays a medium-dark cherry color and opens with a pure, tart and refreshingly sour bouquet of cherry, blueberry and redcurrant, with spicy notes and nice reduction. On the palate, this is a silky-textured, fresh, elegant, medium-bodied and stimulating Pinot with a fine tannin and acidity complex. The finish is remarkably intense and refreshingly fruity. A remarkably good red at 12% natural alcohol. 2018 wines with such freshness and purity are very rare, especially among the red wines. A unique wine!90 points. Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
The grapes are harvested with up to five selective pickings by hand. They’re crushed and then macerated between 12 to 24 hours before undergoing spontaneous fermentation. The wines are aged in traditional oval-shaped oak or chestnut barrels ranging from 300 to 2400 litres, with up to nine months on the lees . They are lightly filtered and bottled just before next harvest.
The 2018 Kallstadter Riesling Kabinett trocken is clear and floral on the nose, with butter, white asparagus and herbal notes and elegant, flinty fruit aromas. Tight and fresh on the palate, this is a straight and tensioned dry Riesling with grip, salinity and a firm phenolic structure yet also finesse and elegance. The wine is dense and vital, and I like the certain rustic character. KR lithe at its best. 11.5% alcohol.92 points. Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
The Saumagen vineyard is one of the most celebrated sites of the Pfalz region. It has calcareous soils on a south-facing slope and delivers wines with especially high minerality and ageing potential. This Spätlese is a selection of healthy grapes showing a golden colour. It spends one night on skins before natural ferment and maturation. In June the following year, those barrels showing the greatest elegance are selected for this blend.
The 2018 Kallstadter Saumagen Riesling Spätlese trocken is fine, fresh and (lime-) stony on the intense, complex, nuanced and viable nose. Full-bodied, tight and chalky on the palate, this silky-textured and finessed Spätlese reveals remarkable tension and chalky expression but also ripe and juicy fruit. Everything is tightly knit and full of tension. This is a beautiful Saumagen and a stunning 2018. 12.5% alcohol.94 points. Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate