Maximin Herrenberg ‘1896’ Riesling Trocken, Loewen

Case Pack:
Bottle Size:
Farming Practice:
Practicing Organic
Import Partner:
Terry Theise

Tasting Notes

The wine makes me think more than anything of Michi’s “Tradition” bottlings at Schloss Gobelsburg; it’s atmospheric and inferential; analog, soulful, more pealing, bell-like overtones, more poetic and secretive. Even in its animation it shows repose, and a complexity you don’t subdue, but simply and calmly allow it to guide you to the mystery. Here’s what Christopher had to say about this amazing wine: “Our Maximin Herrenberg, which was planted in 1896, is the oldest Riesling vineyard in the world of this dimension (more than 6,000 vines). Planted 1896. This is an incentive to us. I have asked myself over weeks: How did they produce wine in that period, in a time when Mosel Riesling was one of the most important wines of the world? In the Maximin Herrenberg we still have the single post training system with 10.000 vines per hectare, which was common in those days. No chemical fertilizer is used, everything, even the hardest work is done by hand. Never has the Maximin Herrenberg seen a machine! The adventure started in the harvest. The handpicked grapes were being transported to the trailer with the help of a hotte (a hotte is something like a rucksack, with which you can transport about 60kg of grapes in it; it was used before tractors made the vineyard work easier). The grapes, which were collected in a basket, were being stamped by foot, which had been common then. Through that procedure the maceration starts directly in the vineyard. On the evening of the picking day, the press process started. For the 1896 we used a very old wooden basket press, which we found in a small dusty corner at the lower section of the Mosel valley and which we restored with a lot of love. Pressing was done by brawniness, the juice is guided without any sedimentation or pumping directly into the Fuder. The fermentation, of course, is spontaneous, without any added yeast. The result is a wine, which shows perfectly the strength of Riesling. It is a unique statement of consistency in a fast moving world. Due to the small scaled 1896 vineyard, we are just able to do one Fuder of the 1896 Riesling.” This wine is remarkable, much more than just a curio, and I think more than an homage or a fascinating story. It’s bone dry but has such mineral density it avoids any shrillness or sourness. It’s an exegesis of crushed rocks, an entire quarry of flavor and energy with barely a fruit or a flower in sight—though if a hyacinth married a slate-pit they might produce this. A ne plus ultra of its type—if it even has a “type”—and with a commanding gorgeous ferocity that doesn’t flash the tiniest of smiles, but you’re overcome anyway. — Terry Theise

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