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If you’re any sort of habitué of Chambers Street Wines, there are certain growers' tastings (remember tastings?) that one should never miss, not only for the wines, but for the chance to meet some truly delightful, dedicated people. One grower who comes to mind is the charming, quick-to-smile Gernot Kollmann from the revitalized Immich-Batterieberg. Dating from 1425 and owned by the Immich family until 1989, the subsequent owner neglected the farming and winemaking to point of driving the storied winery to bankruptcy.
Gernot (late of Van Volxem and Knebel) was able to to purchase the estate with a few investors in 2007. His first vintage was 2009. In short order Immich-Batterieberg regained its reputation by dint of acquiring and reviving choice old vineyard plots and farming those plots organically. Cellar work has also been refined with the goal of working with little intervention as possible. With native yeast fermentation and moderate use of sulfur. The resulting wines, are as my former colleague Cari Bernard has said, "true standard-bearers of the terroir and the vintage."
Immich-Batterieberg's wines are typically released late, often kept on the gross lees until right before bottling and we are currently offering the excellent 2019s (as well as a new cuvée from 2020). These are wines built to age, with the exception of the spritely C.A.I.. All of the wines, while lovely upon opening, were more expressive and detailed on days two and three, revealing great nuance and terroir expression. With organic farming and old-to-downright-venerable vines (many ungrafted), Immich-Batterieberg is particulally well-suited to handle the modern warmer vintages. And in the case of 2019, there is a dynamic energy to the wines. In short, the wines are magnificent and a worthy candidate for long term cellaring. John McIlwain
This wine is sourced from a portion of a 1.1 hectare monopole within the Zeppwingert. The 60-year-old un-grafted vines are planted in gray slate and quartzite soils on terraced plots, in the drier and cooler portion of the slope. The robe is a pale greenish-yellow. The nose is circumspect with aromas of white flowers, pear skin, sweet spices, and a hint of melon. The palate is concentrated and tightly wound on the attack with a flinty, tannic attack with white tea, white cherry, white pepper, and mouthwatering melon and lemon pith notes fanning out on the finish. This is deeply stony and has great verticality with great energy. Delicious now, but could use some cellaring to unwind. Dynamite, if embryonic. A thrilling wine in the making and another home run by Gernot Kollmann. John McIlwain
C.A.I. stands for Carl August Immich, owner of the estate in the 19th century, who used gunpowder charges to blast out part of the mountainside in order to plant vines. Grapes are sourced from vineyards in the Mosel and Saar valleys, vinified in stainless steel. The 2019 C.A.I. has a bright greenish-yellow, translucent robe. The nose offers and intriguing blend of white flower and stone fruit aromas with a hint of gunsmoke (echoes of Herr Immich's munitions?). The palate is racy and mouthwatering with zesty citrus peel and white cherry fruit with a long, lip-smacking finish. Rainwater fresh and bright. John McIlwain
A new bottling for us. From a vineyard site just the other side of the Marienberg from Clemens Busch's holdings. Per Importer.
Escheburg is a blend of ungrafted old vines (about 60 year-old) parcels from Immich-Batterieberg's grand crus. The '19 Escheburg, much like its compatriots, is a terrific wine, pleasurable now but with plenty of good ahead. It feels the driest of the three big players in today's lineup - there is plenty of ripe white and yellow peach up front but offset by a juicy lime component that gives it a bit more snap. There is a touch of fennel in the mid-palate that adds complexity and a general tasty quality and the finish is anchored by a core of slate-y minerality and leaves you thirsty for more. Sam Ehrlich