Dr. Loosen Sparkling Riesling
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The Dr. Loosen Estate has been in the same family for over 200 years. With ungrafted vines averaging 50 years old, some of the best vineyard sites in Germany (four rated grand cru and two premier cru by both the 1868 German classification and the more current Wine Atlas of Germany), Ernst Loosen has the raw materials for stunningly intense, world-class wines. With crop yields almost half of what is permitted by law, only moderate use of organic fertilizers, and old-fashioned cellar practices, Loosen strives to create wines that unmistakably say, "Riesling, Mosel, and Dr. Loosen." In his own words, "The great winemakers I have met invariably possess a clear concept in their mind of what their wine should be. It's a vision that places terroir over technology, and grape quality over quantity. This is the level of winemaking we pursue at Dr. Loosen. Our goal is to produce wines that are luscious, complex, and true to their roots."
As the world’s northernmost fine wine producing region, Germany faces some of the most extreme climatic and topographic challenges in viticulture. But fortunately this country’s star variety, Riesling, is cold-hardy enough to survive freezing winters, and has enough natural acidity to create balance, even in wines with the highest levels of residual sugar. Riesling responds splendidly to Germany’s variable terroir, allowing the country to build its reputation upon fine wines at all points of the sweet to dry spectrum, many of which can age for decades.
Classified by ripeness at harvest, Riesling can be picked early for dry wines or as late as January following the harvest for lusciously sweet wines. There are six levels in Germany’s ripeness classification, ordered from driest to sweetest: Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein (ice wine). While these classifications don’t exactly match the sweetness levels of the finished wines, the Kabinett category will include the drier versions and anything above Auslese will have noticeable—if not noteworthy—sweetness. Eiswein is always remarkably sweet.
Other important white varieties include Müller-Thurgau as well as Grauburguner (Pinot Gris) and Weissburguner (Pinot Blanc). The red, Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), grown in warmer pockets of the country can be both elegant and structured.
As the fourth largest wine producer in Europe (after France, Italy and Spain), in contrast to its more Mediterranean neighbors, Germany produces about as much as it consumes—and is also the largest importer of wine in the E.U.
A term typically reserved for Champagne and Sparkling Wines, non-vintage or simply “NV” on a label indicates a blend of finished wines from different vintages (years of harvest). To make non-vintage Champagne, typically the current year’s harvest (in other words, the current vintage) forms the base of the blend. Finished wines from previous years, called “vins de reserve” are blended in at approximately 10-50% of the total volume in order to achieve the flavor, complexity, body and acidity for the desired house style. A tiny proportion of Champagnes are made from a single vintage.
There are also some very large production still wines that may not claim one particular vintage. This would be at the discretion of the winemaker’s goals for character of the final wine.