Article written for Chambers Street Wines, view it here
“We leave them up there to scream, to get over their fears. I instruct them to focus on what’s in front of them, one vine at a time. Then when they finish, they can look down.” So terrifying are the heights of the Ellergrub vineyard near Enkirch that this is the method Alexandra Künstler employs with acrophobic harvest workers perched precariously above the Mosel.
However, this same feature, steep terraces with 15-foot walls in some sections, helps maximize sunlight exposure. Konstantin Weiser and Alexandra Künstler also lay claim to a high percentage of old, ungrafted vines in each of their sites. Trabener Gaispfad is primarily old, ungrafted vines, and in Ellergrub some are 100 years-old. These assets are of immense value, especially in a vintage like 2013. The effects of erratic temperatures throughout a growing season that ended with a deflating, wet October were mitigated by the old vines’ more even, balanced rate of development and their resistance to pests and disease. This resiliency further enables Konstantin and Alexandra to practice organic viticulture, as the vines can largely be left to their own defenses.
So while yields were quite devastatingly low in 2013, the pedigree of Weiser-Künstler’s sites and vines were crucial to the resulting wines. As in preceding vintages, the endearing quality of W-K’s offerings is in the delicate, nervy balance that accompanies the respective sweetness of each bottling. The tension and acidity are more noticeable in the 2013ers, but the aromatic depth and complexity from the old vines are hardly diminished, and in many ways the wines are more thrilling given the circumstances.
The magic of Weiser-Künstler is not in their broad appeal but rather in their vulnerable honesty and distinctive energy that always feels very personal. I’ve always felt a connection and empathy for their style. It’s not easily explained and is certainly one of those intangibles that I and other devotees of their wines relish with indulgent satisfaction. For the initiated, the 2013ers are another lineup of unique wines that continue this experience. For those not familiar with the wines, membership to the Weiser-Künstler fan club is only a few bottles away.
As always, check Chambers Street Wines for each wine and their availability.
Playful, quirky, angular, lean, and rejuvenating—the core of Weiser-Künstler's style is represented here in all its glory. A very enjoyable, endearing wine with lovely cut, tension, and heady aromatics of dried flowers. Just a touch off-dry, but with a lot of structure.
Gorgeous and eye-opening for a wine with just 7% alcohol. The sugars, which present themselves like those in a tart Braeburn apple, are very much in the background and balanced by a healthy dose of acidity and lots of texture on the finish. Intensely fragrant and heady with chamomile, wet fall leaves, salinity and stone. Goes down easy and disappears in moments.
High-toned, shimmering, and deftly balanced with pristine sugars. Refreshing and racy, with about 55 g/l of RS. This is the richest, densest wine in the 2013 lineup, but still has all the purity and transparency found in the other offerings.
Sensational and pure. An ethereal, light wine that deeply betrays any notions about what a 7% abv Auslese tastes like. Softly sweet, but like a juicy apple, with enough tartness and acid to keep the wine fresh and lean. Finishes with texture, minerals, and salt.