Wehlener Sonnenuhr ranks as one of the greatest places in the world to grow Riesling. An undisputed Grand Cru, the impossibly steep vineyard’s 400 million year-old blue slate soil yields some of the most elegant and prized Rieslings in the world.
No wine from a Grand Cru vineyard with such a noble and magnificent history as Wehlener deserves the fate of $12. It’s sort of like seeing a bat swung by Ted Williams auction for the same price as a Big Mac. But my business is to sell Riesling and this deal presented a rare opportunity. So, we’re opening the flood gates. Originally $20, this is yours for a measly $12.
2014 Hauth-Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett
Tim’s Note: Sweet (medium). You get the classic Wehlener Sonnenuhr flowers, white peach, lemon, the acidity is there as well and showing how lovely integration. Hauth-Kerpen ferments in stainless (which I like here). The body feels touch heavier than your younger more sprightly Kabinetts…part of this is age, part of this is 2014 which produced denser, heavier feeling wines. Though you probably have absolutely no idea who Hauth-Kerpen is there is a lot to like what they have done here...this is an absolutely correct, superb representation of traditional Wehlener Sonnenuhr for an absolutely stupid price.
More About the Wine
Typically, when a distributor offers a deal with a producer you’ve never read about or tasted, bearing wine from an unsexy vintage, 99% of you is skeptical this will be worth your time. I had never heard of Hauth-Kerpen. The packaging was ugly. And though 2014 certainly has its moments, the sale proposition wasn’t exactly compelling.
But then I smelled the wine and I understood immediately I was wrong. The nose smelled exactly as it should for Wehlener Sonnenuhr: fresh, floral as hell, fruity. I opened a $50 Spatlese the other day from a much more expensive, sought after producer and the aromatics weren’t far off. Intrigued, the palate fulfilled the expectations from the aromatics: floral, fruit and well balanced. Though I knew absolutely nothing from Hauth-Kerpen, I could now clearly see they were an old fashioned, traditionalist, unsexy yes (probably older) producer who learned his/her chops and it shows. This feels like it was picked at the perfect moment which is very impressive for the tricky 2014 season. And it was clearly vinified well. Now I’m suddenly thinking something that shocks me. It actually reminded me a bit of Prüm. Yes, that Prüm.
It comes as no surprise this is an eighth-generation estate. Nor is it a shock that Eduard Hauth-Kerpen is an old dude who employs age-old lessons he learned from a long career who owns golden parcels in some of the best sites in the Mosel. He comes from old school aristocracy. You feel that here and for the cheap money it’s a bit disorientating. But if you enjoy good Riesling, old school deliciously sweet Riesling, you deserve to experience this. Lesson of the day: don’t judge a book by its cover...or the price.