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WTN:Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05 & 1971 Wine Laws

by Sue Courtney » Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:38 pm

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Riesling Spatlese 2005 - Saar, Germany
The colour of honeyed nectar - wow - the concentrated, honey, botrytis, apricot and green tea scents smell like a beerenauslese rather than a spatlese and the flavours even more so. There’s a lovely touch of spritz to the honeycomb backbone and simply luscious flavours of tangelo, spice, apricot and honey. Mouth coating and deliciously fruity with enough acidity to keep it pure ... it can only be described as spectacular!
8% alc. About NZ$36. Tasted 16 March 2008.

Scroll down for interesting tangent in thread - a discussion on the 1971 wine laws.
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by Rahsaan » Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:19 pm

Nice. I've been hearing reports of closed 05s. But this sounds like it gave plenty of pleasure.
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by David M. Bueker » Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:50 am

Kesselstatt is an estate that was never on my radar until recently. A 2004 Josephshofer Kabinett was stellar & got me interested. I think I actually have a couple of bottles of 1997 Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese in the cellar that were gifts many years ago. Perhaps it's time to check in.
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by Bill Hooper » Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:40 am

Sue Courtney wrote:Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Riesling Spatlese 2005 - Saar, Germany
The colour of honeyed nectar - wow - the concentrated, honey, botrytis, apricot and green tea scents smell like a beerenauslese rather than a spatlese and the flavours even more so. There’s a lovely touch of spritz to the honeycomb backbone and simply luscious flavours of tangelo, spice, apricot and honey. Mouth coating and deliciously fruity with enough acidity to keep it pure ... it can only be described as spectacular!
8% alc. About NZ$36. Tasted 16 March 2008.


Thanks Sue! I have a lone 750ml of RvK Scharzhofberger Riesling Beerenauslese 1989 hanging out. I think my wife and I will open it next year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Berlin wall coming down. I always use the Scharzhofberg vineyard as a prime example of the blunders of the 1971 German wine law reform because they effectively (almost) doubled the vineyard to squeeze in a couple more growers vines in the interest of democracy (which has no business in the world of wine, IMO.) Who knows though, with global warming coming on, some of the cooler 'new' sections uphill might become very desirable. Kesselstatt and Egon Müller did some vine-swapping a few years ago and it is very possible that your 2005 came from some of Müllers old rows.

Thanks again,
Bill
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by JeanF » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:21 am

Bill Hooper wrote: I always use the Scharzhofberg vineyard as a prime example of the blunders of the 1971 German wine law reform because they effectively (almost) doubled the vineyard to squeeze in a couple more growers vines in the interest of democracy (which has no business in the world of wine, IMO.) Who knows though, with global warming coming on, some of the cooler 'new' sections uphill might become very desirable. Kesselstatt and Egon Müller did some vine-swapping a few years ago and it is very possible that your 2005 came from some of Müllers old rows.

Bill, although I am yet to become a great fan of the Estate, you are a bit hard on von Kesselstatt here. The Estate benefited from the vineyard extension after the law of 1971 as I think they had some vines in the former Scharzberg (the part uphill in direction of Oberemmel you are referring to). However, the owners of von Ksselstatt (the Reh family) also bought out old traditional estates in the 70s with holdings in the central old part (for those who know them: Appolinar Koch and Otto Van Volxem), which gave them prime parcels. In the words of Egon Müller himself, the best parcels are shared "more or less equally" between him, the Hohe Domkirche and von Kesselstatt.
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by David M. Bueker » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:38 am

The Fish wrote:In the words of Egon Müller himself, the best parcels are shared "more or less equally" between him, the Hohe Domkirche and von Kesselstatt.


That is not well known. The "Egon Muller owns all the best parts of the Scharzhofberger" myth is alive and well on the internet.
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by JeanF » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:00 pm

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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by David M. Bueker » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:15 pm

Thanks Jean! How did I miss that?

His take on J. J. Prum "sulphur" aromatics is very interesting.
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by Cliff Rosenberg » Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:47 pm

Wow, that's a great interview -- thanks for the link!
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by Bill Hooper » Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:18 pm

The Fish wrote:Bill, although I am yet to become a great fan of the Estate, you are a bit hard on von Kesselstatt here.


Jean, I didn't mean any disrespect to von Kesselstatt (I do like them), nor did I mean to imply that they had anything but solid parcels within the vineyard. I really only hoped to expose one of the (many) flaws in the 1971 law.

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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by David M. Bueker » Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:38 pm

While the flaws in the '71 wine law are manifest, producers who make good wine tend to be able to do it from just about any land.
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by Bill Hooper » Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:45 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:While the flaws in the '71 wine law are manifest, producers who make good wine tend to be able to do it from just about any land.


Yes David, I agree. Both recognizing the potential of a vineyard and bringing the great wine to realization are undervalued in the discussion about Terroir. Still, I doubt that even the most talented vineyard manager could produce world-class Riesling in my boulevard!
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by David M. Bueker » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:56 pm

Bill Hooper wrote: Still, I doubt that even the most talented vineyard manager could produce world-class Riesling in my boulevard!


Isn't Minneapolis the garden spot for Riesling?
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by Bill Hooper » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:15 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:
Bill Hooper wrote: Still, I doubt that even the most talented vineyard manager could produce world-class Riesling in my boulevard!


Isn't Minneapolis the garden spot for Riesling?


David,
If you're looking for the worlds finest Frontenac, your search is over. But she is no Eden for Riesling...
:D

I should ask the U of M if they've tried Cabernet Franc up here. Why not?
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by JeanF » Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:46 am

Bill Hooper wrote:I really only hoped to expose one of the (many) flaws in the 1971 law.

Tte vineyard extension that occured with the law of 1971 is certainly not ideal but i honestly don't think that this is a major flaw of the law. they did that in burgundy as well (la tâche doubled also in the course of the ages - do I need to mention clos vougeot? etc.). i think everybody could have lived with that. somehow, those in the lesser vineyards invest more time as they get more money out and, while never making as profound wines as those with the top parcels, they will probably make good wine.

the single greatest flow in my eyes was to introduce the notion of a grosslage and not counterbalance this by a classification system for the best vineyards. imagine if you could sell in regular red burgundy from potato flat land east of the N74 under the fancy name: Vosne - Romanée-Saint-Denis ... and are no longer allowed to write "grand cru" on bottles of la romanée-conti.

but maybe i should put this question as a separate post as it is really a first class thread hijack :D
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by David M. Bueker » Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:54 am

The Fish wrote:
the single greatest flow in my eyes was to introduce the notion of a grosslage and not counterbalance this by a classification system for the best vineyards. imagine if you could sell in regular red burgundy from potato flat land east of the N74 under the fancy name: Vosne - Romanée-Saint-Denis ... and are no longer allowed to write "grand cru" on bottles of la romanée-conti.

but maybe i should put this question as a separate post as it is really a first class thread hijack :D


Sounds liek a great thread to me: Fisch and Bueker complain about the German wine law.
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by JeanF » Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:32 am

how are these old guys called in the muppet show?

:D
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by Peter M Czyryca » Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:36 pm

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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by Michael A » Tue Apr 08, 2008 6:15 pm

I know this goes off of the original thread, but the comments about the 1971 laws sparked my interest. Does any know if there a maps available of the locations and names of now vanished sites before 1971. I have been all over the internet looking for old maps and nothing comes up. Any help would be appreciated.

thanks
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1971 Wine Law

by Bill Hooper » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:25 pm

The Fish wrote:The vineyard extension that occurred with the law of 1971 is certainly not ideal but I honestly don't think that this is a major flaw of the law. they did that in burgundy as well (la tâche doubled also in the course of the ages - do I need to mention clos vougeot? etc.). i think everybody could have lived with that. somehow, those in the lesser vineyards invest more time as they get more money out and, while never making as profound wines as those with the top parcels, they will probably make good wine.


Thank you Jean and David for initiating this discussion!

I believe that it is the most valid and important one to the future of German wine and certainly one that I have great interest in. First of all, I don't think that expansion is (or was) right in Burgundy either. A great example is indeed the Clos de Vougeot. The soil, slope and drainage next to N74 in the Clos de Vougeot is completely different than that up by the Chemin des Violettes -they might as be two different communes! The same goes for vineyards in Germany (And Christ, don't get me started on Alsace.) If you water down the quality of a vineyard by expansion, you make a mockery of the whole Grand Cru (or EG, GG, EL) system. Those vineyards deemed to be capable of producing the very best (and the potential of greatness is all we can really hope for in the hands of many individuals) should indeed produce the very best. If the aim of vineyard reclassification was to build consumer confidence in purchasing German wine, then how can that confidence be compromised by rows of sub-prime vines being deemed ‘Grand Cru’ when they aren’t? (Yes, even if the wines are solid, but not profound. ‘Good wine’ is not good enough) Of course we could all do the research necessary to find the producers with the best sections, but again, this only confuses the issue instead of making it simpler.

I am concerned with growers not getting adequate prices for their wines (Christ, look at the Mittelrhein!), but the way to raise the demand and value of these sites is through education, not by hitching a beat-up trailer to a BMW (this is even more important now that other countries are getting their Riesling in front of people.) It is almost as bad as the grosslage nonsense that you refer to.


The Fish wrote: the single greatest flow in my eyes was to introduce the notion of a grosslage and not counterbalance this by a classification system for the best vineyards. imagine if you could sell in regular red burgundy from potato flat land east of the N74 under the fancy name: Vosne - Romanée-Saint-Denis ... and are no longer allowed to write "grand cru" on bottles of la romanée-conti.


I agree. The notion is older than the 1971 German wine law though. The villages of the Cote d’Or have been riding the fame of there most famous vineyards for centuries. After all, not all of the wines produced in Chambolle are quite Musigny. The only reason for the grosslage BS was to give the bigger production houses a vehicle with which to trick consumers. Even if it was an innocent attempt to create boundaries for orchard-sized vineyards that could possibly show some individual regional characteristics (like central coast chardonnay?), it was an incredible blunder of inward thinking.

The BIGGEST problem with German wine is the insistence that ripeness is more important than the individual vineyard in relation to wine quality. That is complete nonsense and becomes more so every year that a Spätlese is declassified to a Kabinett or a Beerenauslese becomes an Auslese. I realize that this notion came from the fact that Germany is so far north, and to (again) reassure the consumer that the wine was suitable for drinking. All of this doesn’t matter if we shift the quality standard back to the vineyard –which, like the best vineyards in Burgundy, should be good enough to ripen grapes to acceptable Oechsle numbers. I don’t give damn if the wine says Kabinett or Spätlese. It is meaningless without a good vineyard on the label (I bet I could get 100 Oechsle Riesling to grow in a Minneapolis city park.)

And of course the bottom line has to be producer. Get to know, trust, and love them and you won’t go wrong.

Prost!
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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by Bill Hooper » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:28 pm

Michael A wrote:I know this goes off of the original thread, but the comments about the 1971 laws sparked my interest. Does any know if there a maps available of the locations and names of now vanished sites before 1971. I have been all over the internet looking for old maps and nothing comes up. Any help would be appreciated.

thanks
Michael


Michael,

Just buy a pre-1971 German wine book on Amazon. Old Alexis Lichine Encyclopedias will list all of them too. It's interesting (and time-consuming) stuff.

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Re: WTN: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05

by Bill Hooper » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:05 am

I'd love to keep this rolling. Is there a way to repost the new topic to get more attention?
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Re: WTN:Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05 & 1971 Wine Laws

by Sue Courtney » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:57 am

Bill Hooper wrote:I'd love to keep this rolling. Is there a way to repost the new topic to get more attention?

Bill,
I've edited the topic title if that helps. This is fascinating.
Cheers,
Sue
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Re: WTN:Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Spatlese 05 & 1971 Wine Laws

by JeanF » Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:58 am

bill,
please refer to me and david as statler and waldorf as from now on :D this important remark being made, i can now move on to the trivia:

yes, extending the vineyards is never a solution and there are always issues - clos vougeot in burgundy or think of echezeaux: parts are unworthy of grand cru (and even premier cru?) / think of ürziger würzgarten or erdener treppchen: these are the show cases to prove your case and i will not argue strongly that this should be handled.

yes, the prädikatsystem based on sugar levels only has led to major drifts, especially with the spreading of new crossings such as ortega. i have seen a ortega ba from 1972 ... enough said.

however, my point is that the above flaws are not the major ones - the major one is the notion of grosslage and the lack of classification. but instead of talking problems, let's talk solutions. here is mine (btw already given to the vdp ...)

- introduce a grand cru and premier cru system in germany. evaluation done seriously. this can be done and has been done successfully in the past (see the dispute in the 70s regarding the bernkasteler doctor proposed extensions: soil analysis, etc were done and it was decided not to extend it as far as originally proposed). maybe this could lead to some re-drawing of for some vineyards that suffered too much from the "extensia" illness of 1971.

- ban the grosslage denomination and introduce instead a village and / or a regional notion. you could have wiltinger riesling (from the villages of wiltingen) or saar riesling (from several villages). this works fine for many of the large regions - however, for instance in franken, many villages are grosslagen frei and introducing here a regional appellation would be of commercial benefits / like bourgogne in burgundy.

In addition, if the german administration and local professional organisations still have some time left to spend on something else in the next decade, then i would advise them to change the prädikatssystem and introduce the peter ruhrberg system:

- qba - should be by definition dry tasting (like alsace) with minimal sugar levels much higher than current obligations
- kabinett, spätlese, auslese, etc. only for sweet wines (unchanged)

And if they still have time (say they don't know what to do on the sunday evening), they could also think about abolishin eiswein as prädikat and retroduce it as a stylistical denomination of other prädikat (auskese-eiswein, etc.)
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