The Weiser-Künstler Experience: 2013ers build on their increasing mystique


(The terraces of Enkircher Ellergrub)

“We leave them up there to scream, to get over their fears. I instruct them to focus on what’s in front of them, one vine at a time. Then when they finish, they can look down.” So terrifying are the heights of the Ellergrub vineyard near Enkirch that this is the method Alexandra Künstler employs with acrophobic harvest workers perched precariously above the Mosel.

However, this same feature, steep terraces with 15-foot walls in some sections, helps maximize sunlight exposure. Konstantin Weiser and Alexandra Künstler also lay claim to a high percentage of old, ungrafted vines in each of their sites. Trabener Gaispfad is primarily old, ungrafted vines, and in Ellergrub some are 100 years-old. These assets are of immense value, especially in a vintage like 2013. The effects of erratic temperatures throughout a growing season that ended with a deflating, wet October were mitigated by the old vines’ more even, balanced rate of development and their resistance to pests and disease. This resiliency further enables Konstantin and Alexandra to practice organic viticulture, as the vines can largely be left to their own defenses.

So while yields were quite devastatingly low in 2013, the pedigree of Weiser-Künstler’s sites and vines were crucial to the resulting wines. As in preceding vintages, the endearing quality of W-K’s offerings is in the delicate, nervy balance that accompanies the respective sweetness of each bottling. The tension and acidity are more noticeable in the 2013ers, but the aromatic depth and complexity from the old vines are hardly diminished, and in many ways the wines are more thrilling given the circumstances.

The magic of Weiser-Künstler is not in their broad appeal but rather in their vulnerable honesty and distinctive energy that always feels very personal. I’ve always felt a connection and empathy for their style. It’s not easily explained and is certainly one of those intangibles that I and other devotees of their wines relish with indulgent satisfaction. For the initiated, the 2013ers are another lineup of unique wines that continue this experience. For those not familiar with the wines, membership to the Weiser-Künstler fan club is only a few bottles away. Jonathan Kemp

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