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“Some of Germany’s very finest wines ... Rieslings of very impressive breed and complexity.”John Gilman
For nearly seven centuries, Karthäuserhof has been one of Gerrmany’s mythic wine estates, building a towering legacy for its Rieslings, particularly its crystalline, laser-like Spätlesen.
And there may have been no greater period than the one that began with the legendary 2001 Spätlese and ended with the 2014, crafted just as the estate was being sold to new owners.
Over these 14 magical years, wines of transcendent greatness were made by the famed traditionalist Ludwig Breiling and his hand-picked successor Christian Vogt.
Will such transcendent wines be made at Karthäuserhof in the future? Under new ownership, it’s hard to predict. But we were taking no chances. Once we heard about the sale, we quietly, and persistently, went about buying whatever bottles of Spätlese we could from the estate’s library.
Eventually, we acquired ten different vintages of Karthäuserhof Karthäuserhofberg Spätlese from the golden 2001-2014 period, all awakened from their sleep in the estate’s cavernous cellars. (Each bottle was labeled as they were sold to us.) We even snared some of the very rare 2014 Spätlese Auction.
That’s a total of 11 different Karthäuserhof Karthäuserhofberg Spätlesen from this period ... perfect for a once-in-a-lifetime—no, make that once-in-several-lifetimes!—12-bottle mixed case:
2001, 2004, 2005, 2006
2007, 2008, 2011, 2012
2013, 2014 (2 btls) + 2014 Auction
Anyone who knows German wine will understand that our $595 price for the case is a gift for any number of reasons, but we’ll start with four: the wines’ scarcity (half the vintages are available nowhere else in the U.S.); the wines’ value, given that even the current vintage Spätlese sells for $40; the presence of the rare auction bottling, and, of course, the sheer history represented.
Located near the intersection of the Mosel River and Ruwer tributary, on a steep south by southwest-facing slope of iron-rich blue and grey slate, the Karthäuserhofberg has been prized since Roman times as ideally suited for winegrowing.
But its “modern” era began in 1335, when the Elector of Trier granted the land to the Carthusian monks, from which the site derives its name of Karthäuserhofberg (“Carthusian mountain”). And when Napoleon secularized the region in 1811, it was bought at auction by the Tyrell family.
What has been recognized by all who’ve tended Karthäuserhofberg through the centuries is a uniquely great expression of Mosel Riesling. The estate’s wines combine the classic stone and citrus fruit of the variety with a forest floor and evergreen character, underpinned by striking minerality, that is all their own.
Above all they have the magical balance of delicacy and perfume with intensity that only the greatest sites possess. The eleven vintages represented in our vertical set—bookended by the legendary 2001 and legend-in-the-making 2014—have these qualities in spades.
The key is the traditional approach championed by Breiling, who served as the estate’s Kellermeister from 1966 until 2008, and his longtime apprentice and successor Vogt, most importantly the aging in old, neutral fuder which captures the Karthäuserhofberg’s surreal beauty and elegance with startling clarity.
This offer is not only an unprecedented opportunity—a tour of one of the great periods in the history of one of Germany’s greatest estates—but one that would be impossible to replicate. Even if you were able to arrange a visit to the estate, one or two older vintages to taste would be the most you could reasonably expect.
Yet this vertical case not only brings it directly to your cellar, but from unique provenance and for a price comparable to what the estate’s new releases are selling for.
It’s an extraordinary opportunity by any measure.
Note: Though the estate’s Spätlesen have always come from the same terroir, the wines have at various times been labeled “Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg” or simply “Karthäuserhofberg.” But it is always the same iconic cuvée.
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