Higher Ground - The Fabulous 2018s From Immich-Batterieberg

5/1/21 -

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 Kollman 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 has 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."

While currently the furor is for the 2019s that have entered the market, Gernot's wines are released late, often kept on the gross lees until right before bottling. Furthermore these are wines built to age, with the exception of the 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. All this is despite the reputation of 2018 being a "solar" vintage. With organic farming and old to downright venerable vines (many ungrafted), Immich-Batterieberg is particulally well-suited to handle warmer vintages. And in the case of 2018, there is fine cut and dynamic energy to the wines. In short, the wines are beautiful and a worthy candidate for cellaring.

-John McIlwain

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