Maximin Grünhaus | Mosel
The historic Maximin Grünhaus estate lies at the foot of a long, steep south-facing slope on the left bank of the tiny Ruwer river, about two kilometres upstream from where it joins the Mosel. The estate has a history of viticulture that dates back to Roman times and takes its name from the Abbey of Saint Maximin, a Benedictine monastery which owned the land from the 7th to the 18th century. Passing into French administration under Napoleon and then eventually to the von Schubert family in the late 19th century, the estate is now overseen by sixth generation family member Maximin Von Schubert, who took over from his father Carl Von Schubert in 2014.
A Riesling specialist, the property is divided into three separate, but contiguous vineyards, each with their distinct microclimate, gradients and soils: the Abtsberg, the Herrenberg, and the Bruderberg. Work in the vineyards is finely tuned with nature, with organic fertiliser and cover crops of wild herbs preferred to pesticides or herbicides. The grapes are harvested by hand in several passes to capture the right ripeness levels across the vintage. Winemaker Stefan Kraml, who has been with the estate since 2004, focuses on expressing the character of the Riesling from each plot. The cellar is situated minutes from the vineyards to ensure quick pressing after harvest to retain aromatics. Depending on vintage conditions, grapes are either destemmed or whole-bunch pressed and clarified through natural settling. Stefan ferments the must with indigenous yeasts in small stainless steel tanks and classic large oak casks, made from wood from the estate’s own forests by local coopers.
The Abtsberg is 14 hectares of blue Devonian slate subsoil on a 75% gradient. It was traditionally the most renowned of the three sites, with the best parcels classified as ‘Grosse Lage’. Historically, Abtsberg’s wines were destined for its namesake, the abbot (‘abt’ in German) of the monastery. At the top of the range are the dry Grosses Gewächs ‘Abtsberg’ Riesling and the barely off-dry Superior Riesling, both characterised by a finely structured minerality, racy acidity and generous fruit combined with a delicate texture. The Kabinett has a refined, aromatic citrus profile which overlays a crisp texture with a touch of sweetness. The Pinot Noir from the Abtsberg is subtly powerful, with a layered core of red berry notes and bright acidity complemented by clove spice from the oak.
The 19-hectare Herrenberg vineyard lies near the Grüneberg forest and is a cooler site than neighbouring Abtsberg. The Rieslings produced from the red Devonian slate soils here were once regarded as second to those from Abtsberg but, with the shifting climate in recent years, have achieved distinction in their own right and will age beautifully over decades. The dry Grosses Gewächs ‘Herrenberg’ Riesling is defined by a mineral salinity with hints of wet slate, lemon zest and dried herbs. The off-dry `Herrenberg` Superior Mosel Riesling stands shoulder to shoulder with the Grosses Gewächs, with its 14.3 g/l of residual sugar balanced by crisp acidity, giving the impression of an almost-dry wine. The naturally sweet and beautifully balanced Riesling Kabinett ‘Herrenberg’ is juicy and complex on the palate with a pronounced fruit centre. The late-harvest Spätlese from Herrenberg has a creamy palate enlivened by nuances of white grapefruit, herbal spices and a tingling acidity.
Herrenberg is also the site where the grapes for the Pinot Blanc Réserve are grown. Maturation in new Fuder barrels contributes lovely spice and rich structure to this wine that impresses with its distinctive character.
The dry Grosses Gewächs `Bruderberg` Mosel Riesling completes Maximin’s prestigious trilogy and introduces the smallest and coolest of the three vineyards. The one-hectare Bruderberg vineyard shares the same blue Devonian slate soils as the Abtsberg and produces elegant and vibrant wines with a smoky mineral core. Each wine in this collection is made using fruit exclusively from a single vineyard owned by the Maximin Grünhaus estate.