Karthäuserhof 2007 Eitelsbach Karthäuserhofberg "#49 Auction" Riesling Spätlese, Mosel, Germany
Karthäuserhof | Eitelsbach Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Spätlese #49
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany | 2007 (Auction Bottle)
Wine is living history. Karthäuserhof is one of the oldest winegrowing estates in Germany, and in fact, is the eighth oldest in the world. We are in the village of Eitelsbach, on steep slopes overlooking the Ruwer River Valley, in eastern Germany. There is archeological evidence that Romans once cultivated the vine here, and the vineyards of Eitelsbach are documented as far back as 1223. In 1335, Prince-Elector Balduin of Luxembourg bestowed this land in the village of Eitelsbach, overlooking the Ruwer Valley, to the Carthusian order of monks, and for 500 years they cultivated the terraces creating wines to be enjoyed in the sacrament by the Christian order. By 1803, huge change swept through Western Europe; the estate was seized by Napoleonic troops, secularized, and made the property of the French government, wherein in 1811 it was auctioned off to the public. Valentin Leonardy, General Director of the French Army, purchased the estate, and it's remained in the family ever since. Handed down over seven generations, one extended family kept up quality and control, even though the political borders surrounding it changed through the centuries, from Napoleonic French control to the rise and fall of the Kingdom of Prussia, the unstable times of the Weimar Republic, the monstrous autocracy of the Third Reich, through the post-war democratization of Western Germany, and the reunification and modernization of Germany as we know it today. Throughout it all, the name Karhäuserhof remained the same, a reminder of where it all began: Karthäuser = Carthusian, hof = farm.
Every year, the Germans host an annual Wine Auction where producers offer special lots of wines that are specifically bottled for the auction. This isn’t an American or English-style auction with the ultra-wealthy dueling it out with raised paddles, but instead, an agent bids on behalf of clients who are often wine importers and European restaurant groups who would like to get their hands on special, rare wines that aren’t a part of the normal ‘release’. Prices are determined by availability and the quality of the vintage, but the winemakers themselves sit alongside the auctioneer’s podium and can protest too-high prices, or even add more bottles to the lots to keep things more “affordable”. These are wines are often meant to age, and are stored meticulously so that they might be sold a decade or so later to the consumer.
This #49 Auction Bottle has some sweetness, that is for sure. A spätlese on the German ripeness scale, these grapes were picked at their optimal ripeness late in the season and fermented to low alcohol content, leaving a pronounced palate of ripe green apples, honeycomb, dried apricot, fennel root, and petrol. The natural sweetness is balanced by intense acidity, and together the sugar and acid will let this age 30 years, easily. 2007 was an exceptional vintage in the Mosel, especially for spätlese Rieslings, with a warm spring and a record-setting long growing season, creating lusciously ripe grapes that were hand-picked, gently pressed, and slowly fermented and aged in huge old oak foudres.Yes, you can drink these now, or you can hold on to them for years to come. Aged Riesling can be a nearly-religious experience for the wine lover. While spicey food is always great for sweeter Rieslings, as they age, the wines pick up earthier tones. I love an aged Spätlese with Peking duck, cave-aged brie and dried fruits, and perhaps a fragrant chicken tagine. Whatever you choose, make sure the dish has a lot of complexity and a long cooking time. Maybe bring this out for dinner on Easter, Diwali, Thanksgiving, Passover, or Christmas. The wine can handle it and will be sure to cause some conversation with friends and family.
— Cara Patricia
We Also Recommend
Mas Que Vinos 2021 'Los Conejos Malditos' Rosado, Tierra de Castilla, Spain