Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.
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Daniel Rogov

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Heymann-Lowenstein - The 2007 Vintage

by Daniel Rogov » Sat May 15, 2010 8:47 am

On Thursday, 13 May, I accepted an invitation from the boutique importer Giaconda to visit chef Avi Conforti's Zepra restaurant, there to attend a tasting of ten Riesling wines of Mosel based Weingut Heymann-Lowenstein, each of those from the 2007 vintage. The tasting was led by Reinhard Lowenstein, the owner and winemaker of the winery, whose philosophy is that minimal intervention in the winemaking process is critical to the production of fine wine. Heymann-Lowenstein relies, for example, entirely on the use of wild yeasts, on accentuating the various slate and mineral characteristics of their vineyards and incorporating anywhere from 10-20% of botrytis affected grapes in even the driest of their wines. If there is single phrase to describe Lowenstein's philosophy that phrase would be "minimal intervention". As to the use of oak, although this is a relatively small winery (about 120,000 bottles annually), casks range in size from 225 liter barriques to barrels of 2,500-3,000 liters.

A special word on matching Riesling with food: As is fairly well known, I prefer my tastings conducted without food but in this case the food and wine were intentionally served simultaneously in order to demonstrate the appropriateness of Rieslings from barely off-dry to out-and-out sweet to both traditional and modern interpretations of Far Eastern cuisine. I can readily understand how many (including several of the colleagues I most respect in Europe and the USA) find such matches appropriate. On an entirely personal level, however, with cuisine such as this, my beverage of choice will remain beer. As to matching of Riesling – my own favorite matches remain veal schnitzels (Wiener, Milanese, a la Holstein), Cordon Bleu, thinly cut fried ham, lamb chops with a hot fruit sauce, lamb shwarma (with or without harissa), and many of the culinary offerings of Mexico and Central America. And yes, would you believe chili con carne and other Tex-Mex dishes.

Following this tasting, I feel no need to change a single word of the praise I have given this winery in the past. Nor do I have any reason to take back any of the good words I have said about Anat Sela and Rafaella Ronen of Giaconda, this dynamic importer presenting wines that are consistently exciting and at quite often prices reflecting excellent value for money. The wines can be ordered directly from the importer by phoning 03 6022746. Giaconda's internet site can be found at www.giaconda.co.il

Worth keeping in mind that although each of the wines reviewed is fully enjoyable at this young stage, all have cellaring potential and will show dramatic changes as they develop in the bottle.

Best
Rogov

Heymann-Lowenstein, Riesling, Sekt, Fantasie der Schieferterrassen, Mosel, n.v.: Although technically a non-vintage wine, actually made entirely from Riesling grapes and according to the method Champenoise with the dosage a bit of sweet Gewurztraminer wine. Defined as somewhere between brut and extra brut but despite its lack of sugar, the fruit forward and generous lemon, lime, litchi and kiwi fruits give the illusion of sweetness. A mousse that fails to rise but sharp bubbles that go on nicely. Those who like it will like it and those who won't, won't. Drink now. (Not available in Israel) .Score 84. (Tasted 13 May 2010)

Heymann-Lowenstein, Riesling, Schifterrasen, Mosel, 2007: Light, shining gold in color, with a tantalizing off-dry note set off by fine balancing acidity and showing lush honeyed citrus, citrus peel and pepper, the sweetness fading on the long, gentle finish as notes of tropical fruits rises. Drink now-2016. Drink now-2016. Score 90. NIS 120. (Tasted 13 May 2010)

Heymann-Lowenstein, Riesling, Vom Blauem Schiefer, Mosel, 2007: Light bright gold, with a beautifully funky nose of slate, salt water and summer fruits, opens to reveal itself as off-dry with well fine balancing acidity. Given a few moments in the glass the minerals part to reveal ripe peaches, nectarines and green apples, those on a gentle background of green peppercorns. Drinking beautifully now but will show appealing traditional petrol notes as it develops. Drink now-2022. NIS 170. Score 94. (Tasted 13 May 2010)

Heymann-Lowenstein, Riesling, Erste Lage Stolzenberg, Grand Cru, Mosel, 2007: Gold, with orange and green reflections, showing a bare and gentle note of sweetness on first attack, that rising nicely as the wine opens to reveal stony minerals, grapefruit, summer fruits and Oriental spices. Delicious now but as the wine develops look for hints of petrol and sea water spray. Drink now-2020. NIS 180. Score 93. (Tasted 13 May 2010)

Heymann-Lowenstein, Riesling, Erste Lage Kirchberg, Grand Cru, Mosel, 2007: Abundant earthy minerals in this deep gold wine, those showing fine balance with aromatic but gentle sweetness. On the nose and palate candied citrus, summer fruits and butterscotch, al leading to a long near-spicy finish. Finely tuned and elegant. Like others of its brothers and sisters, thoroughly enjoyable but will cellar very nicely, developing petrol and sea spray notes as it develops. Drink now-2018, perhaps longer. NIS 180. Score 92. (Tasted 13 May 2010)

Heymann-Lowenstein, Riesling, Erste Lage Rottgen, Grand Cru, Mosel, 2007: Light gold, with a light frizzante note when served well chilled, opens with citrus and summer fruits, goes on to rich mineral notes (slate, stone and marble) and finally to melon and lime notes. Rich, long and elegant. Drink now if you like your Riesling young and it will be delicious. Drink from 2016-2025 to find this at its best. NIS 300. Score 94. (Tasted 13 May 2010)

Heymann-Lowenstein, Riesling, Erste Lage Uhlen Blaufusser, Grand Cru, Mosel, 2007: Light gold in color, with crisp clean slate and granite-like minerals parting to make way for citrus, guava white pepper and, on the long finish a tantalizing hint of sea spray. Long, intense and elegant. Drink now-2022. NIS 220. Score 93 (Tasted 13 May 2010)

Heymann-Lowenstein, Riesling, Erste Lage Uhlen Laubach, Grand Cru, Mosel, 2007: Half-dry but crisp and clean on the palate, opening with light oily and mineral notes, those going on to show aromas and flavors of citrus, peaches and tropical fruits, those complemented by notes of white pepper and celery, the minerality rising on the long finish. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2013-2024. NIS 240. Score 93. (Tasted 13 May 2010)

Heymann-Lowenstein, Riesling, Erste Lage Uhlen Roth Lay, Grand Crus, Mosel, 2007: Light bronzed gold with orange and green reflections, opening with appealing botrytis funk and petrol notes, those integrating nicely with mineral, citrus and melon fruits all on a background of flinty and slate-like minerals. On the long lively near-dry finish notes of honey and peaches. Enjoyable now but best 2013-2022, perhaps longer. NIS 250. Score 94. (Tasted 13 May 2010)

Heymann-Lowenstein, Riesling, Auslese, Erste Lage Roth Lay, Gold Kapsul, Grand Cru, Mosel, 2007: Breathtaking!! As is traditional to this edition, generous botrytis here along with wild flowers and sweet spices (cinnamon and vanilla). On first attack honeyed citrus and quince, those opening to notesof molasses and minerals. Generously sweet on the palate but amazes by closing with a close-to-dry citrus peel note. Approachable now but best only from 2018 and then cellaring well until mid-century. Not available in Israel. Score 96. (Tasted 13 May 2010)
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YoelA

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Re: Heymann-Lowenstein - The 2007 Vintage

by YoelA » Sun May 16, 2010 2:14 pm

Well, I love rieslings, especially when they offer good value for the pirce, but they're not very popular out here in California so I don't expect to see those wines here.
But I'm confused by the nomenclature. No cvillage names, and I don't know the meaning of grand cru" respecting the Mosel. Could you elucidate?
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Daniel Rogov

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Re: Heymann-Lowenstein - The 2007 Vintage

by Daniel Rogov » Sun May 16, 2010 2:32 pm

Yoel, Hi.....

The winery refuses to delimit itself to the use of the usual trocken, auslese, beerenauslese, labeling system and relies instead on their own rather unique labeling system. The use of the term "Grand Cru" in this case is not at all legal. Nor is it German in style. What it is is a reflection of Reinhard Lowenstein's unique, almost guru-like, approach to wine in general and to his own wines in particular.

By the way, I cannot comment on California, but the wines of this almost cult-status winery are indeed to be found in New York.

Best
Rogov
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Anat Sela

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Re: Heymann-Lowenstein - The 2007 Vintage

by Anat Sela » Sun May 16, 2010 10:48 pm

Dear All,

Background to the Grosses Gewächs (Grand Cru)

The Grosses Gewächs nomenclature was introduced to some regions in 1996 and its alumni was released onto the market the following year. By 2001, members of the VdP had unanimously adopted the three-tier classification system: “Gutswein”, “Ortswein” and at the highest quality level: “Erste Lage”. These are termed “Grosses Gewächs” and “Erstes Gewächs” and apart from the maximum fixed residual sugar level set at 9gms/l, the wines must abide by the following rules:-

Choice of grape variety is restricted.
Maximum yield: 50 hl/ha.
Minimum must weight: equivalent to Spätlese.
Selective harvesting by hand.
Wines are produced according to traditional methods.
Vineyards, cellars and wines are subject to additional strict inspections and examinations.
First release of white wines: 1st September the year after the harvest; red wines: 1st September two years after the harvest.

The use of the term "Grand Cru" is not at all legal indeed Therefore they call it Erste Lage (for mosel grand cru vineyards) Erste Gewaches (for Rheingau grand cru vineyards) and Grosses Gewaches for Grand cru vineyards outside the Reingau and Mosel however - these are Grand Cru Vineyards which where classified Grand Cru.
Also - The Heymann Lowenstein's winery refuses to delimit itself to the use of the usual "trocken" term, however they use the tertms auslese, beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese.
The reason that Mr.Lowenstein does not use "Trocken" is that it is more important to him to present a balanced wine than how many grams per litter of residual sugar are there in the wine.


Warmest regards

Anat Sela

Giaconda
Drink Different. Hand Picked Wines.
www.giaconda.co.il
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Re: Heymann-Lowenstein - The 2007 Vintage

by Daniel Rogov » Mon May 17, 2010 1:07 am

Anat, Hi...

Many thanks for the detailed clarifications.

Best
Rogov

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