Weinhof Herrenberg, Schodener Herrenberg, Riesling "Cruv", 2008

Weinhof Herrenberg, Schodener Herrenberg, Riesling "Cruv", 2008

Weinhof Herrenberg is Claudia and Manfred Loch's place, a tiny winery with just two hectares in Schoden on the River Saar that they have built up more or less from scratch, plot by plot, and with somewhat precarious resources. This is a very different history from the Van Volxem enterprise, which came with heavy investment, grander plans and more ambitious marketing from day one. Still, both outfits share some similarities. Both were willing to look beyond the winemaking traditions of the last few decades. Both managed to create a new kind of Saar Riesling that was actually a recreation of the pre-1950s style: Ripe wines with more powerful fruit and less prominent acidity than has been, and still is, "traditional" on the Saar. With their enthusiasm and nonconformism they have, between them, managed to break open the wine scene on this Mosel tributary, which had been dominated by an establishment of aristoricatic estates with a somewhat patrician attitude. High time we had a closer look at what Herrenberg has to offer, then, and we'll start with one of their mid-range dryish Riesling (they only make Riesling):

Deep, almost golden colour. Very ripe lemons and oranges in the smell. With that comes the wonder that is this wine's minerality: It's slatey, but without any of the petrol-stinky-stink, instead, we got freshly cut celery roots and parsnips, a savoury and zesty vegetable component that reached unsuspected levels of elegance and polish on the second day. On the palate, an abyss of minerality, a physical feeling of stone, gripping acidity and hyperconcentrated Riesling fruit. I guess this wine would be technically off-dry, but never has this mattered less: The minerality simply swallows up the residual sugar, I'm sure it could swallow double the amount, leaving a dry finish.

A stunner. So far, my personal Riesling revelation for this year. Insane value, too.


Submitted by Dot Wednesday, 22/09/2010

Reading this review made my mouth water. Sounds wonderful! Do you think I could find a bottle here in Bloomington?

Submitted by Julian Thursday, 23/09/2010

In reply to by Dot

Hi Dot, I just sent them a message asking how they are doing distribution-wise in the Bloomington area. Anticipating that the answer may not be entirely to your satisfaction, there are two things we can do: 1. If you're ever in Munich, there's a bottle waiting for you, or 2. We can at least get one over to London. Torsten knows everything about early modern sea-lore, so I'm sure he can reopen some old smuggling routes...

Submitted by torsten Thursday, 23/09/2010

In reply to by Julian

The problem is that I'd use my pirate knowledge to, well, actually steal the bottle - after reading the review I want one too. As much as I am happy to spread the word about German Riesling, I am eve more happy to drink it!

It will be interesting to hear whether they already have a US distributor. However, even if they have one it may not be easy as I seem to remember that shipping bottles across state borders in the US can be a pain. Land of the free...

Submitted by Dot Saturday, 25/09/2010

In reply to by Julian

Julian, thanks so much for checking on this for me. There is a wine store very near my house that has a really great selection and I'm hopeful... but if not then perhaps if you were able to get a bottle to Torsten we could work something out (piracy or no piracy ;-) ).

Submitted by Julian Monday, 27/09/2010

In reply to by Dot

It's as I feared it would be: No business connections with the new world at Weinhof Herrenberg. Not for lack of interest, as they told me, but for the sheer tininess of the production. So we will have to work out some kind of freebooting solution...

Submitted by Simon Jones Wednesday, 22/09/2010

Hi Julian,

That wine sounds great. I'd never heard of Weinhof Herrenberg until this blog post. Thanks for that.
By the way, I don't mean to be a pedant, but "abysmal minerality" would normally mean "very bad minerality". However, I'm assuming you meant something along the lines of "abgrundtiefe Mineralität", i.e. "bottomless minerality". Or maybe you wanted to say that minerals were so bad they were good, in a Michael Jackson sort of way? :-)

All the best,


Submitted by Julian Thursday, 23/09/2010

In reply to by Simon Jones

Hi Simon,

Pedantry is a natural ally of snobbery, so I do welcome your grammarian intervention. Changed the phrase to something that makes a bit more sense, hopefully. That's what happens when you want to write more cleverly than is good for you (or be a Cleverle, as the nice swabian expression has it). Michael Jackson, hmm, come to think of it, that is a tune that I can imagine being sung in many a wine cellar, California-Australia section:

"Because I'm Big, I'm Bad-
Come On
(Really, Really Bad)"

Submitted by Sackbutt Sunday, 26/09/2010

I'll be looking out for celery and parsnip notes now! This will go well with my Sunday roasts. I'll certainly be looking into this one. Loved your description!

Submitted by Julian Monday, 27/09/2010

In reply to by Sackbutt

Riesling and sunday roast - why the hell not? Please report back how it has worked out for you! Oh, and thanks for commenting, of course...