Künstler, Stielweg Riesling "Alte Reben", 2008
Gunter Künstler certainly has a reputation for making outstanding Riesling. Many of his vineyards in the Rheingau are planted with old vines (think 50 years plus), or 'Alte Reben', as the Germans say. The Stielweg vineyard, where today's dry Riesling comes from, features loam-clay soil; the name comes from 'steep path', or 'steiler Weg'. The website sums the vineyard up as: 'The wine from these 50 year old Stielweg vines radiates aristocratic strength and nobility.' So what do we think?
The Stielweg Riesling starts with lots of tiny bubbles in the glass. This visual impression is followed by a nose of peach, lemon, some yeast, apple, herbs and creamy mineral; quite focussed, I would want to add, and not quite as smooth as some of the Haart Rieslings from the Mosel that, on paper, have a similar nose.
On the tongue, the Künstler Riesling is crisp, very tingly, with lotsa lemon acidity that engulfs your taste buds right until the very long finish. While the wine has its more juicy, peachy moments (think meaty peach), there is perhaps a little more of bitter apple in here.
This dry Riesling certainly has strength, structure and a good, well defined body. I would think that it is still young enough to profit from a decanter. Currently, I rate it more as 'strength' and a little less as 'nobility' (see above), but it already is a very convincing wine.