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Riesling rarities fetch the highest prices

Gut Hermannsberg sets a record

27.09.2018

The wine-world is following closely, as the results from the autumn auctions in the German winegrowing regions become known. These auction prices offer a clear indication of which estates head the elite, which winemakers number among the rising stars, and which vineyard sites are ‘hot’.

The highest regard in this sense belongs to Gut Hermannsberg. The former Prussian Staatsdomaine brought a wine to the auction that presented a highly desirable prospect not only to wine collectors, but to historians as well: a Trockenbeerenauslese from the vineyard Kupfergrube, harvested in the magnificent 1921 vintage. And on top of that, it was the last bottle in the estate’s cellar.

Gut Hermannsberg Trockenbeerenauslese 1921 © Gut Hermannsberg
15,000 Euro: the 1921 TBA is a wine of historic as well as oenological significance (C) Gut Hermannsberg

Bidding on this wine opened at a figure of 350 Euros, and ultimately found a new owner for an all-in price of 14,992 Euros. Estate GM and cellarmaster Karsten Peter could barely contain himself: ‘That is an unbelievably high price, even for a one-of-a-kind item’. And this coming from the man who set a record price last year with his 2015 TBA…  Gut Hermannsberg has now become a double record-holder – for a young wine as well as for a matured vintage.

Riesling as a worldwide trend

Mr Peter made his point: ‘Developments at the latest auctions clearly demonstrate that German Riesling has now achieved a very high level of esteem worldwide’. Markus Molitor, for example, fetched a price of 1,250 Euros for a dry Auslese from Bernkasteler Doctor (Mosel), while Philipp Wittmann obtained a price of 350 Euros for his 2017er old vines Riesling from the vineyard La Borne in Rheinhessen. Klaus Peter Keller received 950 Euros for his dry Pettenthal Riesling GG, and Weingut Emrich-Schönleber (Nahe) auctioned off no fewer than 302 magnum bottles of their Riesling GG Auf der Ley for 287 Euros apiece.

Gut Hermannsberg Kupfergrube © Uwe Schiereck
The vineyard site Kupfergrube, with its impressively steep slope (C) Uwe Schiereck

The successor vintage to 1921?

And even as the auction hammers were falling hot on the Mosel and the Nahe, winegrowers picked their first pre-selection from the vineyards under summery skies. ‘The great heat and arid conditions in the summer have driven the ripening of grapes quite remarkably forward’, explains Karsten Peter. ‘This can definitely be compared with the 1921 vintage’.

And we shall see in the coming years, if the wines also fetch record-setting prices… But one thing can be said for sure already: 2018 is an exceptional vintage, without the least doubt. Growers will begin harvesting their top sites in a few days. Karsten Peter is feeling positive: ‘A little bit of rain two nights ago, and the temperature plummeted to nearly 0°C – these are ideal conditions for the onset of botrytis. With a bit of luck we will be able to harvest wines that can also just as easily offer ninety years of aging potential.’

PICTURES (downloadable)
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