Extreme selection yields extreme concentration! The 2015 Trockenbeerenauslese from Gut Hermannsberg, harvested from old Riesling vines in the vineyard Kupfergrube, provides a splendidly magnificent example of this. Wine critic Stephan Reinhardt tasted the wine for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and scored it, quite simply, with 100 points. The highest score on the scale, which is rarely bestowed upon any bottle, anywhere in the wide world of wine. And anybody acquainted with Mr Reinhardt knows that sweetness alone does not appeal to his sensibilities. He described the wine – with all its depth and intensity – as possessing ‘divine finesse and an endless finish’, along with its wondrous precision and salty minerality.
Historic highest price
The famous pop song by Depeche Mode goes: ‘Everything counts in large amounts’, but here the opposite is true. There was a minuscule volume of this wine made: just an unbelievable twenty-five litres were produced in the autumn 2015 harvest, from these most highly concentrated of all the estate’s grapes. One and a half litres of the 236° Oechsle Trockenbeerenauslese were bottled in a magnum, the rest in 375ml half bottles. The single magnum was put up for sale last Sunday at the traditional VDP auction, where it attracted enormous interest. When its lot number was called, the bids quickly climbed to stratospheric heights.
‘10,600 Euros – that is crazy!!’ Cellarmaster and GM Karsten Peter was indeed surprised. ‘I never figured on that. Of course I am very glad that this magnificent wine received confirmation of its intrinsic value, and that there are people who know to honour the enormous amount of work and painstaking attention to quality that go in to producing such a rarity as this. And yes, there were as many as twenty harvest helpers working for more than a week, in order to select the individual berries for this wine – truly a task for Mr Sisyphus.’
10,600 Euros: that was the net hammer-price for this exceptional wine. Never before had such a staggering figure been reached at the VDP Nahe auction.
It’s been clear that Gut Hermannsberg and its vineyards are called to greatness – that was confirmed at the auctions of the 1960s and 70s. Back then, the estate was still known as the Königlich-Preussische Weinbaudomäne, and its elite wines were vinified under the estate’s director Hermann Goedecke and his legendary cellarmaster Karl-Heinz Sattelmeyer. And even further back in the annals of the estate: a record concentration of 308° Oechsle was recorded from the 1921 vintage by a Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese from the Kupfergrube.
Since Jens Riedel and Dr Christine Dinse acquired the estate in 2009, the vineyard sites of this historic estate have been carefully and painstakingly brought back into their natural balance under Cellarmaster & GM Karsten Peter. Each year the quality level is raised, and the individual expression of the Rieslings from the estate’s VDP.GROSSE LAGE vineyards improves. And the 2015 Kupfergrube TBA is not the only evidence of this.
Top site Kupfergrube
Gut Hermannsberg cultivates twelve hectares in the pure southerly-exposed parcels of the VDP.GROSSE LAGE Kupfergrube; a steeply sloped vineyard planted on eruptive volcanic stone called melaphyre. The vineyard takes its name from a former copper mine on the site – countless hours of manual labour were needed, over one hundred years ago, to carve a vineyard out of the craggy rock walls. And here the Riesling vines are up to seventy years of age. Each year the estate’s top wine comes from this extraordinary site: the dry VDP.GROSSES GEWAECHS Gut Hermannsberg Riesling Kupfergrube. It is in only exceptional vintages that this marvellous vineyard produces a tiny volume of nobly sweet rarities.
Sources of supply and price
Gut Hermannsberg Kupfergrube Riesling GG 2015 (or older vintages)
4 Clifton Road
London W9 1SS
Tel. +44 20 7286 6475
Anthony Arton Proctor
Export Sales Director
Vintners Pride of Germany
M: +44 (0) 7593 353 152
1115 San Anselmo Blvd
San Anselmo, CA
Tel. +1 415 747 8404
…about the VDP wine auctions
These auctions have been a cornerstone institution for connoisseurs of the finest German wines since 1910. In them, the focus includes not only the most recent vintage, but rarities as well. The auctions are held on the Mosel and the Nahe in mid-September, and in the Rheingau for the first time in spring 2018. Results of the auctions vary widely depending upon the size and number of bottles in the individual lots; the magnum of Gut Hermannsberg Kupfergrube Riesling TBA auctioned at €10,600 net price on Sunday 17 September at the Römerhalle in Bad Kreuznach definitively figures among the most costly wines ever auctioned. www.vdp.de