The first winery we visited on our recent Germany trip was Weingut Meierer in Kesten at the Mosel. Kesten is small village located between the two much more famous Brauneberg (with the Brauneberger Juffer, read more about that spectacular vineyard here) and Piesport (with Piesporter Goldtröpfchen). I, frankly, was not really aware of this village before I stumbled across the vintner, Matthias Meierer, on a friend’s facebook page. Kesten is unique in that the hills that rise behind it stretch from the Juffer all the way to the Goldtröpfchen. You can see photos of the spectacular landscape on the winery’s appealing website. I like to add new wineries to my agenda whenever I go, thereby expanding my knowledge and not missing out on new trends. This visit at Meierer was a first for me.
The Meierer winery’s history stretches back to 1767, but it is a far cry from traditional or boring. The 29 year old Matthias, who is running the winery with his father Klaus, has radically reduced the number of wines they offer: A core of three wines for each three categories of residual sugar: dry, off-dry, and sweet. As a rule of thumb, within these categories they produce a basic wine (Kestener), a medium bodied village-style wine (called Kestener Paulinsberg), and a more sophisticated wine from the Paulinshofberg. This makes the whole, at times confusing labelling and categorizing of German wines much more approachable. There are a few additional wines that round out the wine list.
A few words about Matthias. After he earned a degree from Geisenheim, Germany’s top notch college for wine growing and making, he started working for the well-reknown winery of Fritz Haag in Brauneberg five years ago. At the same time, he began working in the family winery. Today, he is working 3 days a week for Fritz Haag and 4 for Meierer (talk about lazy Germans, huh?). He is also a lecturer at Trier University. Also, he was named young winemaker of the year in 2008 by the German Agriculture Association (DLG). Oh, and did I mention he is a pretty cool guy? Communication was easy and swift when I arranged the tasting via email, and he was patient with my dithering about when to do it.
Their grapes grow on 6 hectares (about 15 acres) of land around Kesten. For them, 2011 was a picture perfect year. While the year started out very cold, spring was warm and very dry which led to their earliest ever blossoming around 20 April. The cooler summer slowed down vegetation, which was good given that growth was about 3 weeks ahead of schedule. On 26 August hails with corns as big as tennis balls hit the middle Mosel valley, but the grapes survived this miraculously. September brought tons of sun and temperatures around 30 C so that they began the harvest early on 4 October with high yields and sugar levels in the grapes. The last harvesting was done end of October and fermentation went quicker than in the last years with the last wines being ready by beginning of February.
Our friend Helge tagged along, and off we went down the beautiful Mosel valley on June 15. Matthias and his girlfriend Sabrina were waiting for us in their tasting room with a spectacular view. We tried a total of 10 wines and were quite impressed. The wines had been filled in early to mid-April and were all ready for drinking already. Often, wines take a bit longer to settle down after bottling. I will write about some wines in seperate posts, but here are some of my summaries.
The three dry wines we tried were all of exceptional quality, and a nice introduction to many more dry surprises over that weekend. 2011 really has been good to dry rieslings. The 2011 Kestener dry, the basic wine, was the perfect summer wine: gooseberry and herbs in the nose, awesome acidity and freshness with a nice finish. I also enjoyed the Kestener Paulinsberg with its mineralic and incredibly fresh nose and the great fruit notes on the palate.
Among the three off-dry wines, I used the words “very balanced” in my notes the most. The basic riesling is wonderfully mild and pleasant, while the 2011 Kestener feinherb (off-dry) has a nose of sweet fruits and alcohol (it has 11% vol.) and gives you a full mouth of ripe fruit.
The sweet wines were also very convincing, notably the Kestener Paulinsberg Spätlese (more about that and the Kabinett in a seperate post). The nose on the Kestener Paulinshofberg Auslese was clear and structured, before strawberry, vanilla, and caramel candy came by. It was pretty awesome, just as its taste of very ripe fruit.
The weirdest thing we tried was his 2011 WTF!?, which I will write about in a seperate post….I have got to keep you hooked, right?
We had a great two hours with Matthias and Sabrina. They were pleasant hosts, and English comes to them naturally whenever something was not clear for Nina in German. I highly recommend visiting the winery. It is definitely a rising star, and the prices are very reasonable. I am glad I can add this to the growing list of wineries I want to visit when I go back.
You can get some of their wines in the U.S. through the wine merchant SRS. For German and European readers: Use the contact site to ask for a wine list. They also have very affordable trial offers including shipping.