For six years now, Karsten Peter has been responsible for the wines of Gut Hermannsberg/Nahe (Germany). Even with his first couple vintages, Karsten attracted plenty of attention, sending up exclamation points in the press. In 2013, the renowned Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) honoured him as ‘Rising Star Winemaker of the Year’ and the German Gault Millau Guide picked him as ‘Rising Star of the Year’. Now, the FAZ has chosen Karsten Peter as ‘Winegrower of the Year 2016’. Filling the dual roles of cellarmaster and managing director, Karsten Peter understands perfectly how to lead the storied Riesling tradition of Gut Hermannsberg forward – with a marvellous sense of intuition, confidence and pragmatism – into the next era.
A great deal of character, perhaps even a bit of genius…
Toward the end of each year, according to tradition, Germany‘s famous newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) picks its favourites in matters of wine and fine dining. Along with influential restaurant critic Jürgen Dollasse, wine critic and Riesling expert Stuart Pigott is responsible for making these choices. The ground rules state: the purpose of this award articulates itself in scrupulously avoiding the practice of praising agreeable and conventional wines. It is much more about singling-out winegrowers who manage to perfect a particular style of wine.
Mr Pigott has bestowed the title ‘Winegrower of the Year’ upon 40-year-old Pfalz native Karsten Peter, because he…
… has uncompromisingly laboured to achieve a contemporary interpretation of the great tradition of the former Prussian state domain. Already in his first vintages (no easy ones by any standard) Karsten was very successful, but in the following years, the wines progressed in quality by leaps and bounds. They demonstrate precisely what the concepts ‘racy’ and ‘mineral-driven’ express, in matters of dry Riesling. The wines offer a great sense of character, perhaps even an element of genius…
Karsten Peter reacts to this: An accolade of this order fills me with great pride and satisfaction – but in truth, the entire team must share the award. This honour stands as confirmation for our collective and uncompromising striving for quality. And it is a reward for the arduous work demanded by our steeply sloped vineyards. All year round, we have to respond to the demands of the individual parcels with dedicated intuition, as Karsten explains, concluding: We are enormously glad that our concept has proved itself, and that our philosophy is understood and appreciated.
‘Karsten Peter imparts a sense of expression to the individual sites, and makes them shine…’
Six years ago, Karsten Peter assumed the position of cellarmaster, becoming responsible for the destiny of the former Royal Prussian Wineproducing Domain in Niederhausen on the Nahe, about 1,5 hours south-west of Frankfurt am Main. Today, Gut Hermannsberg possess some 30 hectares of VDP Grosse Lage vineyards, thus placing a unique potential for individualistic and distinguished expression at Karsten‘s disposal. To develop and present the distinctive character of each individual site – Karsten Peter manages to achieve this goal more fully each year, with his own unmistakeable signature. Stuart Pigott confirms this as well: He is the one who coaxes out the particular expression of each vineyard, and makes them shine. (FAZ, 20. November 2016.)
In addition to the VDP Grosse Gewächs wines, the following three Rieslings were singled-out for particular distinction in the FAZ article of 20.11.16:
Gut Hermannsberg 2015 Vom Schiefer
VDP.ORTSWEIN, from the monopole vineyard Niederhäuser Hermannsberg.
Dry, with refined meadow herbs, finely tart notes of grapefruit, silky brilliance; stone fruit and refreshing highlights of lime.
Gut Hermannsberg 2015 Vom Vulkan
VDP. ORTSWEIN, from the VDP.GROSSE LAGE Kupfergrube.
Dry, flint; refreshing herbaceous notes, orange zest, passion fruit. Delicate, but with a warming presence, lively and spicy-tart.
Gut Hermannsberg 2015 Steinterrassen
Selection from VDP.GROSSEN LAGEN. Riesling from the three steepest terraced sites. Maturing in stainless steel and cask. Fine herbal spices with elegant stone fruit, creamy on the palate with salty length. Dense and concentrated, nevertheless shows plenty of finesse with pronounced minerality.
Gut Hermannsberg 2014 Riesling Kupfergrube GG
VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS, from the VDP.GROSSE LAGE Kupfergrube.
Dry and puristic, with stony and salty minerality. Herbaceous spices with plenty of flint, lemon grass and grapefruit. Persistent on the palate, straightforward and enormously complex. An extremely concentrated Riesling that spent two years on the lees in cask. The wine combines minerality, elegance and power. A long finish, and terrific cellaring potential.
If you would like to experience the elite class produced by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s Favourite of the Year, the opportunity will arise on Saturday 28 January 2017 at beautiful Schloss Bensberg near Cologne. And Karsten Peter will be there as well! Information here.