Castle ruins amidst the Schlossberg vineyards high above the Rhine river

Rheingau Royalty Part 1: Leitz

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This new series will be examining one of German'ys most heralded wine regions that had fallen into ill repute due to erratic wine quality due in part to new wine laws favoring quantity over quality. Then, many of the great aristocratic estates that built the Rheingau’s reputation from the late 18th century closed down, were sold off and/or broken up. It wasn't until the 80s that the top producers banded together and decided to revive the Burgundy-style vineyard classification that existed from 1867 for a century that improvemnts began. I will be looking at several producers (both new and old) that have contributed to the Rheingau's renaissance of sorts. I will start with Leitz, who within 3 short decades, has managed to expand it's holdings by a whopping 3,900% from just 3 hectares / 7.5 acres in 1991 to it’s now 120 hecatres / 296.5 acres.

The Rudesheimer Berg as seen from the southern bank

Leitz’s estate vineyards lie entirely on the westernmost part of the Rheingau on the Rüdesheimer Berga steep, south-facing hillside of extremely old slate and quartziteplanted entirely to riesling, encompassing the Grand Crus of Schlossberg, Rottland, and Roseneck. There’s evidence of the Leitz family as winemakers in the Rheingau going back to 1744. The winery was destroyed during WWII in a bombing raid, and was subsequently rebuilt by Johsef Leitz. Josef's son, Antonious, briefly took ownership of the winery before dying young, in 1966. His son, Johannes, born in 1964, is the current proprietor. Johanne’s mother had maintained the vineyards after her husband died, but the business went dormant as she ran her flower shop (her main source of income) and raised her children. Johannes took over in 1985, and in addition to expanding the estate's footprint also converted it to organic farming including many plots over 50 years old. According to the Schatzi imports website, "He works the steep vineyards by hand and trains his vines in a single cordon system to improve the quality of the fruit, differing from the majority of Rheingau growers where the practice has long been to prioritize yield via a double cordon system." The grueling hours of labor on the ultra-steep slopes allow these ancient vineyards to reach their maximum potential.

We will be offering two different GGs (grosse gewachs aka grand crus) from the majestic 2019 vintage:

Berg Roseneck at a 65 degree slope
Rosengarten Monopole

 

 

 

 

 

The Roseneck is all minty herbaceousness with faint hints of petrol and an ethereal palate from  Leitz's steepest sites, whereas the Rosengarten Monopole, one of Rudesheim's oldest parcels in the heart of the village is all powerful, stony minerality. As Stuart Pigott from James Suckling Wine Ratings writes: The 2019 vintage is the best vintage I have ever tasted for German riesling in my four-decade career. Like James, my career as a wine critic began in the early 1980s. The first German vintage I tasted as young wines was 1983 and I can’t remember a vintage like that – until now. The 2019 wines, from dry to classic style with natural grape sweetness are simply astonishing quality, which means 2019 is one of the greatest vintages of modern times and will be remembered for decades, possibly generations. James Suckling Wine Ratings.

I highly recommend getting one of each of these GGS for a side by side comparison tasting!

We will also be offering the newly organic Eins Zwei Dry 3 2021 and dry Pinot Noir Rose 2020 for our dwindling last days of summer.

All wines will be available Wednesday 9/14 for pickup and delivery/shipping

Prost! Giselle Hamburg

Leitz 2019 Rheingau Rüdesheimer Roseneck Riesling Gr Gewach

The western section of the vineyard where this Riesling is sourced is incredibly rocky and one of the steepest sites in Germany. Grapes have been cultivated from this site since the year 1200 and the historical name "Katerloch," or “Devil’s Hole,” is the amphitheater portion of the mountain that appears as though it was carved out of the slope of the Rüdesheimer Berg.Wines sourced from this site are always the coolest and leanest of Leitz's GGs, with intense citrus acidity and minty qualities to balance the firm acidity. The vinification and aging in 1200L German oak casks extenuate the heavy quartzite soils, further enhancing minerality. Showing intense minty herbaceous notes with a faint whiff of petrol, the 2019 is crystaline and ethereal despite it's serious minerality.  A long, saline finish with gobs of citrus peel and green apple.  Although you could drink now, this will hold for well over a  decade so stock up! Giselle Hamburg

  • white
  • 5 in stock
  • $59.99

Leitz, Josef 2019 Rheingau Rüdesheimer Rosengarten Riesling GG

The Rosengarten site is located around the oldest castle complex in the Middle Rhine Valley. The  Riesling vines are on average 35 years old and the soil here is characterized by deep, calcareous loess. The nose offers up passion fruit and yellow citrus aromas joined by a fine petrol note accompanied by a cool quartzite minerality.  The palate reveals a refreshing acidity that  literally dances in the mouth with the creamy texture of the wood, followed by the intensely powerful, stony minerality. Not for the faint of heart, this Riesling will reward fattier food pairings such as tuna, swordfish, lobster, fowl, pork and veal dishes. Giselle Hamburg

  • white
  • 4 in stock
  • $59.99

Leitz, Josef 2021 Rheingau QbA Trocken Riesling Eins Zwei Dry

 Medium-bodied and slightly saline, this is a clean, elegant and very pleasurable Riesling. Bright citrus notes such as vibrant tangerine, ruby grapefruit with juicy peach explode on the nose, whilst stony mineral notes tickle the palate. With a crisp finish, that leaves your taste buds wanting more, this wine is just asking to be drunk over and over again. The Eins Zwei Dry has really good concentration, which makes this wine age worthy... pretty remarkable for an entry-level wine!

  • white
  • 1 in stock
  • $18.99

Sorry, the Following have Already Sold

Leitz, Josef 2020 Rheingau Pinot Noir Rosé

Direct press rose made from 100% destemmed pinot noir with a 3 hour maceration before being pressed , hence very pale in color. Extremely bright & cool with savory notes of herbs and juicy cantaloupe with a crunchy, mineral finish.  GH

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99