Mosel Riesling: Weingut Heymann-Löwenstein

October 30, 2010

2008 Slate Terraces Riesling Heymann-Löwenstein

The website of Weingut Heymann-Löwenstein starts with a poem of Ingeborg Bachmann, a famous Austrian poet and writer (1926-1973). The first line reads as follows:

»One should be able to pick up the stone
and hold it in wild hope
until it begins to bloom«

That’s in fact what Heymann-Löwenstein does. The earth or better the rocks (slate in this case) in which the vines grow is at the centre of his attention.

I know the sound of slate from my youth growing up in Trier, Mosel. Slate was all around us. The roofs of the houses were in slate, covers of walls, and walls themselves, all in grey slate. We liked to break individual thin pieces into smaller ones and the grey slate dust trickled through our fingers.

Reinhard Löwenstein, who founded the winery in 1980, was carefully searching for the best locations (terroir) before starting his venture in Winningen, a small hamlet along the lower Mosel (south of Koblenz). He is an innovator whose wine styles differ from the Mosel tradition, an inspiration to many young wine-makers at the Mosel river.

Yields are kept low, harvest is late and the steep slopes of the slate stone reflect the days heat during the night. Moreover, the juice is allowed to stay with the skin for up to two days. Some Botrytis infected fruit is sometimes also added giving complexity to the wine. Rheinhard Löwenstein’s wine making philosophy is non interventionist. He intends to bring out the terroir.

The ‘2008 Slate Terraces Riesling’ by Heymann-Löwenstein has an intense golden colour in the glass. It’s alcohol is 12.5%. The wine is full and round, with a balanced acidity. It is dry, displaying a fine minerality and beautiful aromas of citrus fruit. The wine has a good structure and a stunning finish.

Timo Mayer had brought the above bottle with him when he came on a stop-over to Bangkok. We enjoyed it together with some food during a night which saw many exquisite bottles of the fine wines being opened and consumed with great delight.

The winery Heymann-Löwenstein is ranked by as one of the top ten Riesling producers in Germany. The area under cultivation is about 16 ha with an annual production of 100,000 bottles.

And the good news for residence in the Healesville area in Victoria is that Barrique, the wine store in this lovely little town, has some bottles of Heymann-Löwenstein Riesling on offer. Two years ago I have bought a few there. Delicious.

Winery (Weingut) Heymann-Löwenstein
Bahnhofstrasse 10
56333 Winningen
Tel.: +49-2606-1919
Fax: +49-2606-1909