2012 Gut Hermannsberg Weißer Burgunder (Pinot Blanc), Nahe, Germany


Your sporadic and ongoing search for the flavor of pinot blanc is over. An easy grape to grow but a difficult wine to make, pinot blanc is more vigorous than its cousin chardonnay but not as potentially noble. Most bottles offer only a pixellated version of the chardonnay experience, but the best Teutonic iterations, like this one, are more evocative of veltliner or chenin blanc (i.e. they actually have some character). The fruit for this wine comes from two erste lage (first growth) vineyards: the clay-rich Winzenheimer Berg provides its fleshy fruit character, while the famously meagre soils of Kupfergrube account for its more mineral aromatics. At this laughable price, it’s both laudable and quaffable.

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While any discussion of postwar wine production in the Nahe rightfully begins with a neighboring winery, one so well-known that we don’t need to name it, we’ve lately heard those same conversations include a few other growers, with Gut Hermannsberg first among the equals. This is not an upstart property: 30 hectares of vines, mostly riesling (duh), grown around a 110yr-old site once known as the Königlich-Preussische Weinbaudomäne Niederhausen-Schlossböckelheim. Oddly, only other Germans bought those wines.

New proprietors Jens Reidel and Dr. Christine Dinse have modernized the facility (and added a spiffy new guesthouse!), while cellarmaster and vineyard manager Karsten Peter more accurately captures the essence of their erste lage (first growth) vineyards with each passing vintage. These wines have always been delicious, but now we think they’re contributing to a greater understanding of the larger Nahe region, and that’s good for all of us.


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