Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ernst Loosen Presented his Wines at Weingut Dr. Loosen, Bernkastel-Kues, Mosel Valley, Germany

Picture: Ernst Loosen, Christian G.E. Schiller and Annette Schiller at Weingut Dr. Loosen in Bernkastel-Kues, Germany

One of the highlights of the 2013 Germany Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy was a morning tasting with Ernst Loosen at Weingut Dr. Loosen in at Bernkastel-Kues in the Mosel Valley. Ernst Loosen has become a global player, with the Mosel Valley remaining his home base. We only tasted wines from the Mosel Valley.

Picture: Weingut Dr. Loosen

Ernst Loosen in the World

Ernst Loosen is a winemaker based in Germany, who now makes 4 different wines in Germany and the USA: First, Mosel Valley Rieslings, mostly fruity-sweet that made him so famous in the world; second, Pinot Noirs and other wines from the Pfalz, all dry, where he owns Weingut J.L. Wolf; third, the J. Christopher Wines, a collaboration of Ernst Loosen and Jay Somers, mainly Pinot Noir, from Oregon and fourth, the Eroica wines, a collaboration between Dr. Loosen and Chateau Ste. Michelle, the giant wine producer, in Washington State.

Pictures: A Morning Tasting with Ernst Loosen at Weingut Dr. Loosen (Mosel Valley)

Ernst Loosen in the Mosel Valley

The wines of Weingut Dr. Loosen are known all around the world as prime examples of Germany’s famous delicious low alcohol, fruity-sweet Rieslings from the Mosel. These are exceptional wines, skillfully made by first-class winemakers like Ernst Loosen, essentially made by not letting the fermentation going its full course so that natural sugar remains in the wine. Alternatively, German winemakers are allowed to add sweet-reserve (sterilized grape juice) to increase the sweetness level in the wine, but today, this is mostly done, if at all, for fine tuning the residual sweetness. These fruity-sweet wines are the wines that are so popular among the fans of German wine in the world.

Pictures: Ernst Loosen, Annette Schiller and Christian G.E.Schiller at the Tasting at Weingut Dr. Loosen

But today, wine loving Germans drink dry. There is no doubt about it. The large majority of the premium wines produced in Germany is dry. And the German (dry) grand cru Rieslings can compete with the best wines in the world. The word is getting around - slowly but surely - and more and more dry German Rieslings appear on the international market. So, it was not a surprise that during his stay in Washington DC, Ernst Loosen presented also is dry Red Slate wine as well as Grosses Gewaechs wines – the ultra-premium dry wines from Germany. “But while in Germany the demand for my fruity sweet wines is low, the Grosses Gewaechs wines are very high in demand. Here in the US, it is the other way around” said Ernst.

Weingut Dr. Loosen is located just outside Bernkastel in the Mosel wine region. The vineyard area totals 22 hectares. Production amounts to 15.000 cases. Ernst Loosen won the "Riesling of the Year" of the German wine magazine Der Feinschmecker in 1989. In 2001, the Gault Millau Weinguide named Ernst Loosen as the German Winemaker of the Year.

The American Wine Portfolio of Weingut Dr. Loosen

Ernst explained to us that his wines can be grouped into 3 quality categories.

Single Vineyard Wines

These are wines from the premium vineyards of Weingut Dr. Ernst Loosen. In fact, all of Weingut Dr. Loosen’s six major vineyards were designated as Grosse Lage (grand cru) in the 1868 Prussian classification of Mosel vineyards, which was undertaken for tax assessment purposes. This classification predates the grand cru system in Burgundy, and was updated by Stuart Pigott and Hugh Johnson in the Wine Atlas of Germany (1995). “We use this historically proven classification at Dr. Loosen. Only wines from the six top-rated sites (indicated on the map to the right) are bottled with a single-vineyard designation. All others are labeled simply as estate wines” Ernst said.

Pictures: The tête-à-tête dinner at Rasika was with Washington Post Wine Columnist Dave McIntyre and me. We were later joined by Rasika Somelier Paul Ruttiman and Annette Schiller, wine tours by ombiasy.

Berkasteler Lay, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Graacher Himmelreich, Ürziger Würzgarten, Erdener Prälat, Erdener Treppchen - A full range of Prädikat wines is made from the six grand cru single-vineyard sites. In addition, Weingut Loosen makes Grosses Gewaechs wines – ultra premium dry wines from Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Ürziger Würzgarten, Erdener Treppchen.

Ernst explained that the vineyards of Weingut Dr. Loosen owe their excellent quality to three major factors: the exceptional regional climate of the Middle Mosel area, the mineral-rich slate and volcanic soils, and the incredible age of the estate’s ungrafted Riesling vines. These elements are the building blocks of each vineyard’s terroir and have long been recognized for their importance in producing outstanding wines.

Estate Wines

All the grapes that do not go into single vineyard wines are used for the 2 Estate Wines, Blue Slate and Red Slate. In the USA, Ernst offers a dry Red Slate wine and a fruity sweet (Kabinett) Blue Slate wine.

The Red Slate Riesling is sourced from parcels in Uerzig and Erden, while the Blue Slate Riesling is sourced from vineyards in Bernkastel, Graach and Wehlen, where the soil is pure blue slate.

Dr. L

Dr. L is Ernst Loosen’s hugely popular entry-level wine. it is made with grapes bought from other grape growers in the Mosel Valley.

Ernst Loosen in Oregon

Ernst Loosen’s most recent project is a joint venture with Jay Somers in Oregon. Located in Oregon’s Northern Willamette Valley, J. Christopher Wines is a small winery that specializes in Pinot Noir made in the traditional style of Burgundy. The winery also produces Sauvignon Blanc modeled after the great wines of Sancerre. The philosophy at J. Christopher is to produce wines in an Old World style that emphasizes focus, length and balance. Jay Somers is not only a gifted winemaker, but also a killer guitarist.

Jay Somers is not only a gifted winemaker, but also a killer guitarist.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller at the J. Christopher Winery in Oregon

Ernst Loosen in the Pfalz

In 1996, Ernst Loosen took over the J.L. Wolf estate so that he could make traditionally crafted Pfalz wines to complement the light and elegant Dr. Loosen Rieslings he produces in the Mosel. In the classic style of the Pfalz, these wines are more full-bodied than Mosel wines, with higher alcohol and rich flavors of ripe fruit and stone.

Ernst Loosen in Washington State

Promoting the worldwide ascendancy of Riesling was a big reason why Ernst Loosen began a joint venture with Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington State a bit more than 10 years ago. He was convinced that it would take a seriously good New World Riesling to help bring the variety back to the forefront. Eroica was launched in 1999. Named for Beethoven’s Third Symphony, Eroica is supposed to reflect not only its variety and site, but also its heritage: bold and forward from its Washington roots, elegant and refined from German inspiration.

Picture: Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Loosen, and Chateau Ste. Michelle CEO Ted Baseler at the Farewell Reception of the 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, Washington State, USA

The wine is made at Chateau Ste. Michelle from grapes grown in the Columbia Valley. They make three kinds of the Eroica. The regular Eroica, an icewine and a single berry selection. The latter is made in the traditional German Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) style and is one of the few TBAs in North America.

Loosen Bros. Imports in the USA

Ernst Loosen is not only a producer of wines, but also runs – with his brother Thomas Loosen - an import company, with a remarkable portfolio.

Dr. Loosen (Mosel, Germany),
Villa Wolf (Pfalz, Germany)
Weingut Robert Weil (Rheingau, Germany),
Weingut Fritz Haag (Mosel, Germany),
C. von Schubert - Maximin Grünhaus (Ruwer, Germany),
Domaine de Bellene and Maison Roche de Bellene (Burgundy, France),
Gantenbein (Graubünden, Switzerland) and
J. Christopher Wines (Willamette Valley, Oregon

Pictures: Martina Weil, Annette Schiller, Wilhelm Weil, Ernst Loosen and Christian Schiller at the 2013 Rheingau Riesling Gala at Kloster Eberbach in Germany

The Wines Ernst Poured

2012 Dr. Loosen Weissburgunder Dry
2012 Dr. Loosen Red Slate Riesling Dry

2012 Dr. Loosen Blauschiefer Riesling Dry

2011 Uerziger Wuerzgarten Alte Rebe Grosses Gewaechs Riesling Dry
2011 Graacher Himmelreich Grosses Gewaechs Riesling Dry

2012 Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett
2012 Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Kabinett

2012 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spaetlese

2011 Uerziger Wuerzgarten Riesling Auslese
2011 Erdener Praelat Auslese Goldkapsel


Thank you very much, Ernst, for a memorable morning tasting.

schiller-wine: Related Postings (Ernst Loosen)

Riesling from Germany and Pinot Noir from Oregon: A Winemaker Dinner with Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Loosen and J.Christopher Wines, at Black Salt in Washington DC.

Riesling, Pinot Noir and Indian Cuisine: A tête-à-tête Dinner with Winemaker Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Loosen, at Rasika in Washington DC, USA

Ernst Loosen and Dr. L. Riesling - His Hugely Popular Entry-level Wine Sold Throughout the World

A Riesling Guru and a Killer Guitarist cum Cult Winemaker: Ernst Loosen and Jay Somers and their J. Christopher Winery in Newberg, Oregon

Wine ratings: Two American/German wines - Eroica and Poet's Leap - on Top 100 Wines from Washington State list for 2009

German American Wines: (1) Pacific Rim Riesling (2) Eroica and (3) Woelffer's Schillerwein

The Doctor Made a House Call - A Tasting with Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Loosen, at MacArthur Beverages in Washington DC, USA

The World of Riesling in Seattle - Fourth Riesling Rendezvous in Washington State, USA

Coming Up in July: 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, Washington State, USA

The German Winemakers at the 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, USA

Rheingau Riesling Gala 2013 at Kloster Eberbach, Germany

schiller-wine: Related Postings (German Wine and Culture Tour 2013 by ombiasy PR and WineTours):

Ombiasy Wine Tours: Wine and Culture Tour to Germany Coming up in August 2013

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

Weingut Pawis in the Saale Unstrut Region - A Profile, Germany

Impromptu Winetasting with Alexander Jung, Weingut Jakob Jung, Erbach, Rheingau, Germany

Ernst Loosen Presented his Wines at Weingut Dr. Loosen, Bernkastel-Kues, Mosel Valley, Germany

An Afternoon with Riesling Star Winemaker Helmut Doennhoff at Weingut Doennhoff in Oberhausen in the Nahe Valley, Germany

Impressions from the Mainz Wine Market 2013, Germany 

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