2010 Riesling G-Max Trocken Weingut Keller Rheinhessen  Germany Still wine

2010 Riesling G-Max Trocken

Weingut Keller

95Average Score
flagRheinhessen / Germany

If anything, even more headily floral than its Abtserde sibling, Keller’s 2010 Riesling trocken G-Max evokes iris and peony along with intimations of ocean breeze and scents of ripe quince and peach. Here the strong mineral dimension is not only mouthwateringly saline but scallop-like in a savory, faintly sweet and iodine-tinged way that segues directly into custardy richness of white peach, quince paste and nut oils that engulf the palate and (as I see I already wrote about the 2009) you along with it. There is a serenity and soothing irresistibility to the finish that – like its almost opaque sense of density and richness – sharply distinguishes this from the transparency and kinetics of the Abtserde. What a treat it will be for those who can manage to follow this wine from bottle – hard enough to purchase in any year, let alone one where yields for this particular picking dropped to twelve hectoliters per hectare! – in parallel with its immediate siblings from bottle. I suspect there is at least a decade of profound pleasure here, but as one notices particularly in the case of G-Max, Keller has traveled such a distance stylistically and refined his game to such an extent that one ought not to take his Grosse Gewachse of 8-10 years ago as an indication of what lies in store for those of recent vintages. I considered leading off my introduction to the 2010 vintage with a quote from Klaus Keller senior, utilized for the estate’s own vintage report: “We have never experienced a vintage in which along the way we stood so near the qualitative abyss and in the end harvested such fantastic quality.” “It’s not easy to explain all of the efforts we made in 2010,” says Klaus Peter Keller of a collection enormously impressive even by his recent standards and which he claims cost a record number of man-hours, “but certainly the best recipe was to postpone harvest for as long as possible – by which time, the other growers in our sector had long since finished – and then correct (acids) only moderately. With patience and low yields, everything was possible. We only began picking Riesling near the end of October, and for the basic (i.e. generic) level of wines we had to de-acidify from 12 to 10.5 grams, which after tartrate precipitation and fermentation resulted in around 9 grams,” still high for German Riesling, which is to say for any dry wine! “With the parcels we harvested into November,” though, Keller continues, “we didn’t have to correct acidity at all,” and the musts for dry wines registered in the 8-10 gram range. For controlling dauntingly high (13-19 grams) acidity in the eventual sweet wines, Keller emphasized the significance of his having employed a basket press recently acquired from the Mosel that permits introduction of buffering matter without the risk he felt would be run by extended skin contact in wines where “you already had no end of extract and risked ending up with something bitter, ponderous and lacking in tension or interplay.” Not that Keller believes the basket press superior merely for dry wine, quite the contrary. He finds it conducive – indeed, he suggests “critical” – to elegance and transparency in residually sweet Riesling as well. And this – along with generally restrained and especially well-judged sugar levels – has made for as fine a collection at that end of the stylistic spectrum as I have yet witnessed at this address. Finished alcohol levels for all of this year’s dry Rieslings ranged between 12-13% (with one of the Grosse Gewachse as low as 12.2%), the lowest levels since Klaus Peter Keller has been working his family’s vines, but, he emphasizes, more than enough – indeed, more than merely fine – by him, given the flattering flavors and textures he achieved. Keller began bottling the Grosse Gewachse in late spring, with the Morstein, Abtserde, and G-Max bottled mid-August and not due for release until spring 2012. For all of the astonishing range – not to mention quality – of wines that Keller rendered from 2010, one category near to his heart, residually sweet Kabinett, was simply not possible from any of the material he harvested. The latest amazing array of Keller Trockenbeerenauslesen finished fermenting already by June and so was bottled before high summer. “You’re always going to get at least a bit of malo-lactic transformation in wines of this sort that sit for a very long time,” he says by way of explaining his decision to bottle them when he did. Note that as explained in Issue 192, the name of the site Abtserde continues to appear on Keller’s labels as AbtsE, since it remaining legally proscribed – if capriciously enforced – to label with any vineyard name that was registered before the Wine Law of 1971 went into effect but not registered as an official Einzellage thereafter. Now, however, the relevant Einzellage, Brunnenhauschen – of whose surface area the original Abtserde makes up perhaps 10% – appears on what is technically the “front label” of each Keller wine, so I have begun including it as part of that wine’s name. Lest Keller’s – and hence, my – attempt at dealing with this annoying situation engenders yet further confusion, readers should please bear in mind that the name “Brunnenhauschen - Abtserde” as I have now begun writing it, refers to exactly the same delimited vineyard area as did simply “Abtserde.” Once again this year, I did not manage to taste the entire huge Keller collection, even though I scheduled an entirely separate appointment for Pinot Noir. (As mentioned in the general introduction to my 2010 vintage German coverage, I shall devote a later report entirely to German-speaking Pinot Noir, so I have not included Keller’s reds in the reviews that follow). Wines on which I cannot report include a high-r.s. Kirchspiel Spatlese; Scheurebe Spatlese; Rieslaner Auslese; and Riesling Auslesen from Hubacker und Morstein, about these last two of which Keller wrote me, apologetically, in early December that he had overlooked them “in the flood of nobly sweet wines” that he presented during my September visit.

David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate  (December 2011)    Score: 95/100    Drink 2011-2021

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