Weingut Carl Ehrhard Rudesheim Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2018
‘Feinherb’ means this wine is not too sweet but also not too dry. It’s intense, with fresh fruit aromas and flavors. Distinct minerality and spice are layered over green apple and citrus notes. Tangy acidity keeps everything in balance.
Perfect with seafood, Mediterranean dishes and spicy food.
Carl Ehrhard and his family tend 22 acres of Riesling and Pinot Noir spread throughout six prime vineyards around the town of Rüdesheim in the Rheingau region of Germany. The estate was founded by the Ehrhard family in 1815 and taken over in 1998 by Carl and his wife, Petra. The Ehrhards strive to make wines endowed with personality that express the unique character of their vineyards.
The six vineyards – Berg Rottland, Berg Roseneck, Bischofsberg, Kirchenpfad, Klosterberg, and Klosterlay are situated on the steep banks of the Rhein River and are maintained without the use of fertilizers or herbicides. In the winery, the Ehrhards embrace traditional methods and preserve fruit purity through minimal intervention. Fermentation takes place naturally without the addition of yeasts. It is a long and slow transformation – up to 5 months in some cases – and place in a mixture of large neutral oak casks and stainless steel tanks. These precise, powerful wines are lively and fresh in their youth and develop great depth and character while maintaining clarity as they age.
Practically one long and bucolic hillside along the northern bank of the Rhein River, the Rheingau stretches the entirety of the river’s east to west spread from Hocheim to Rüdesheim.
Variations in elevation, soil types, and proximity to the Rhine cause great diversity in Rheingau Riesling. Some of the better Rieslings in warmer years come from the cooler and breezier sites at higher elevations. In cooler years, sites closer to the river may perform better.
In the village of Rüdesheim, slopes are steep and soils are stony slate with quartzite; Rieslings are rich and spicy, intense in stone fruit and show depth and character with age. World class Rieslings come from farther east on the river through Geisenheim, Johannisberg, Winkel, Oestrich and past Erbach as well, where soils of loess, sand, and marl alternate. Long-living, floral-driven and mineral-rich Rieslings come from the best of these sites.
Rheingau growers became early activists in promoting the dry style of Riesling, low yields and the classification of top vineyards, or Erstes Gewächs (first growths). Proximity to the metropolitan markets of Mainz, Wiesbaden, and Frankfurt keeps Rheingau in high reputation. While dry wines are the style here, Rheingau isn’t short of some amazing Auslesen, Beerenauslesen, and Trockenbeerenauslesen.
Rheingau doesn’t mess with many other grapes—in fact 79% of its total area is dedicated to Riesling. But it produces some fine Pinot noir, especially concentrated in Assmannshausen, a bit farther west from Rüdesheim.
Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining its identity. A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, this versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Somm Secret—Given how difficult it is to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling from the label, here are some clues to find the dry ones. First, look for the world “trocken.” (“Halbtrocken” or “feinherb” mean off-dry.) Also a higher abv usually indicates a drier Riesling.