Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Hotel Piesporter Goldtröpfchen and the wines of Kurt Hain

I can't believe it is just a month since TLD and I returned from our short break in the Mosel Valley - it all seems like a distant (but lovely) memory now. Furthermore, I can't believe that it has taken me this long to share some of my impressions about the country, the region, the scenery, the people, the food and (very importantly) the wines. And although we only actually visited 2 wine growers for tastings, they both turned out to make wines of a very high standard indeed. Actually, one of these visits wasn't really a "visit" at all, since the Kurt Hain winery is situated underneath the Hotel Piesporter Goldtröpfchen, which (rather conveniently!) happened to be our base for the duration of our stay. Indeed, the hotel is owned by the Hain family - current winemaker Gernot Hain looks after the wines side of things, whilst his wife Susanne runs the hotel.

The hotel is situated in the old part of Piesport (the newer part is on the other side of the river), which sits snugly between the north bank of the Mosel and the magnificent amphitheatre of the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen vineyard. It isn't hard to find, since there is really just one road, with the hotel, a church and a few houses dotted along the riverbank. It really is a lovely, peaceful setting.
Old Piesport, viewed from the main town on the opposite side of the River Mosel -
- the hotel is between the bridge and the church

And the hotel itself really is rather lovely, too, offering an extremely comfortable level of accommodation. Our room was really spacious and airy and had a delightful view over the river, with patio doors and small balconies, from which to view the vineyards behind.

The Hotel Piesporter Goldtröpfchen

A room with a view - and so comfortable, too

Breakfast was served in the main restaurant area, with a variety of breads, charcuterie, cheese, conserves, cereals, boiled eggs and unlimited fruit juices, tea and coffee. One never need go hungry! 

A hearty breakfast - enough to see us through until dinner

Our total bill for 4 nights bed and breakfast came to just 280 Euros - which has to be a cracking bargain, in anybody's book. We'll certainly go back there one day (hopefully sooner rather than later) and I would recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone looking for a base from which to tour the Middle Mosel region. Full details of both the hotel and the winery can be found on the Hain website.

So....what of the wines? Well, I have to say that they turned out to be every bit as good as I expected. The Hain family has been growing wine since 1600, and today has holdings in Piesport’s top sites of Goldtropfchen and Domherr, with a total of around 5 hectares under vine, producing approximately 35,000 bottles a year. Gernot Hain began managing the estate in 1988, and no less an authority than Hugh Johnson has described him as “one of the most talented young wine producers on the Mosel.” A little Rivaner, Weißer Burgunder (Pinot Blanc) and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) is grown here, but most of the vineyards are given over to what I personally consider to be the greatest white grape variety of them all - Riesling. And Riesling is what we concentrated on for our tasting. All of the wines are vinified in a traditional manner, using mostly very old oak foudres, plus some stainless steel tanks. These are wines of substance, well-structured, with fine fruit and mineral tones and great aging potential. Because there were so many wines on offer (getting on for 50, in all) we stuck with the traditional fruity (or "fruchtige") versions, rather than the increasingly fashionable trocken and feinherb wines, which I personally find less attractive.

Here are my notes - some of them just brief impressions jotted down in the Hain cave, others a bit more in-depth from a recent tasting session at the Nottingham Wine Circle.
Hain Weißer Burgunder 2009
This was dry, but nevertheless quite rich and full, with good structure and subtle oak-ageing. Could turn out very interesting.

Hain Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett 2009
We enjoyed 2 or 3 bottles of this during our stay and I could never tire of it. Limes and wet slate on the nose, with a touch of herbaceousness - even herbiness - including aromas of nettles and cut grass, even fresh peas. Oh, and loads of fruit, with apple, lime and mandarin orange. It is fairly rich for a Kabinett, almost like a Spätlese, with flavours of mandarin and lime and a touch of honeyed richness and oiliness, all held together with truly mouth-watering acidity and a taut, mineral streak. Delicious, long and lovely. 

Hain Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett 2007
This is softer and mellower than the 2009, with the acidity softening, yet still oh-so fruity and delicious.

Hain Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese No.12 2006
This is markedly different to the 2009's, in that it is rich and intense - almost painfully so, when first opened - with lime, lemon, stone fruit and mineral aromas, with a faint but definite whiff of trademark diesel/petrol. The palate is incredibly intense, almost super-charged, with essence of citrus, mango and crystallised fruits, allied to zingy acidity and strong minerality. There's a definite hint of botrytis, too, which adds a rich, honeyed quality. This is many years from being "ready", but shows fantastic promise for the future - and actually softens out nicely over a couple of days after opening. A stunner.
Hain Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese No.12 2005
This is possibly even more mineral than the 2006, yet lighter on its feet and more approachable. Slatey, lemony fruit, with floral notes and no noticeable botrytis. This is one to drink now, whilst the 2005 matures. Long and lovely.

Hain Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese No.12 Rotschiefer 2009
Intense aromas of grape and mandarin, with loads of mouth-watering acidity to complement the residual sugar. Clean, pure, focused and delicious.

Hain Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese No.13 Grauschiefer 2009
There's a touch of sulphur on the nose, at present, but not enough to mask the intense mineral, lemon and lime aromas, with hints of white pepper, cloves and flowers. The palate shows intense lime and peach flavours, dessert apples and spice. For all its lush sweetness and huge core of ripe fruit, it is incredibly focused, with laser-like acidity. Balanced, poised and very long. Fabulous stuff.

Hain Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese Felsterrassen 2009
Another intense wine. The nose has stone/slate, with an array of fruit aromas including (but not limited to) lemon zest, peach, apricot and mango, along with an interesting toffee/fudge note. And what a palate - the flavours of oranges, apricots and grapes are so rich, so intense, so concentrated, yet once again this is a wine that is so focused and zingy with its backbone of minerality and acidity. It is just this sort of contrariness that  I love in fine Riesling - how can a wine be so luscious and seemingly sweet, yet so utterly bracing, juicy and mouth-watering? Is it worth 2 Euros more than the Rotshiefer and the Grauschiefer? I think it is. A brilliant, delectable wine, with a great future.

Contact details:
Weingut Kurt Hain, Am Domhof 5, 54498 Piesport
Tel: 06507-2442


AlanM said...

Wow, those look so enticing. I've just taken delivery of some 2009 German wines as they were my introduction to wine (a school visit would you believe) and I still have a real longing for them. The hotel looks good too. I must go back there as it's nearly 20 years since my last visit.
Thanks Leon, terrific stuff

Leon Stolarski said...

Glad you liked my write-up, Alan. What with Languedoc, Roussillon and German wines (not to mention a love of good folk/country/Americana) we seem to have an awful lot in common!

More to come on Germany over the next week or so, including another fabulous Mosel grower's wines.

AlanM said...

Shame about your support for Forest Leon :-)

Leon Stolarski said...

Show us yer trophies, Alan! ;-)