Friday, March 20, 2015

One of the Bio-dynamic Stars in Germany: Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn in Östrich, Winkel – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Picture: At Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn in Östrich, Winkel with Sandra Kühn-Quenter

Annette Schiller likes to include “green” winemakers in her Germany tours in order to also show this side of German winemaking culture. In general, Germany is a rather “green” society, with even a Green Party in German parliaments and governments. The Prime Minister of the State Government of Baden Württemberg, for instance, is a very popular State prime Minister and member of the Green Party.

Pictures: Arriving at Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn

Peter Jakob Kühn is clearly one of Germany’s star winemakers when it comes to making wine with an ecological mindset. He was not around when we visited (but was with other winemakers we visited at about the same time, including Gunter Künstler, H.O. Spanier, Caroline Spanier-Gillot, to name a few, in Berlin at an important VDP presentation). But Sandra Kühn-Quenter, of the next (12.) generation, was around and she ably led the winetasting. She graduated – as her brother Peter Bernhard Kühn, who is taking the lead in the 12. Generation at Weingut Klaus Peter Kühn – from the prestigious Geisenheim University with a Master in Winemaking. At least for now, she stepped a bit back to take care of her 2 children Johann and Philipp.

Pictures: Annette Schiller and Christian G.E. Schiller with Angela and Peter Jakob Kühn

Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn

Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn is in Oestrich in the Rheingau. Founded by Jacobus Kühn in 1786, the estate is run by Peter Jakob and Angela Kühn. They are the eleventh generation of winemakers in the Kühn family. The twelve generation – Peter Bernhard, Sandra and Katrin – are about to take over.

The Kühns own 20 hectares of vineyard in the Doosberg and Lenchen (Oestrich), St. Nikolaus (Mittelheim), as well as in the Hendelberg and Jungfer (Hallgarten). The vineyards are planted on natural south-facing slopes along the Right Bank of the Rhein at an altitude of 70 meters, and are well protected against the cool borealis by the foothills of the Taunus Mountains. Riesling accounts for 90%, with the rest accounted for by Spaetburgunder.

Pictures: Sekt Reception with Sandra Kühn-Quenter

Peter Jakob and Angela Kühn: “Our wine estate was founded around the start of the 18th century and remains a family business to this day. Run in the 11th generation by us, Peter Jakob and Angela Kühn – our three children already work alongside us, continuing the family tradition. Only by maintaining our philosophy and through the knowledge that quality and sustainability are inseparable, has our winery survived through the centuries. On this basis we decided in 2004, to achieve a certification as ecological, biodynamic winery. The expectation we set in our own quality also manifests itself in our memberships in the VDP (Prädikat Wine Estates), Demeter, the association for organic agriculture based on anthroposophical principles, and the association of international biodynamical wineries: “La Renaissance des Appellations“.

Nothing determines the future quality of the wine as thoroughly as the work processes that take place in the vineyards throughout the year. The most important task of these processes is, to strengthen the vines through our biodynamical work in such a way, so that they can grow healthily and stress-free. The basis for this is provided by eco-dynamic agriculture: plentiful varieties of cover crops create a healthy environment, organic compost enriches and structures the soil, and herbal extracts strengthen the vines. Additionally our workflow is organized according to natural biorhythms. That is as sound as a strong heartbeat and maintains the living balance of our vineyards. For lively wines can only emerge from vital vines – and that you can experience in the flavor.

Pictures: In the Vineyard with Sandra Kühn-Quenter

On our estate we work wholeheartedly and hands-on, on the manufacture of natural, unpolluted wines of top quality. Ranging from the classical ripening process in the “Rheingauer Halbstück” (600 litre barrel) to wines that mature in amphoras – our range is wide.

All our wines ferment spontaneously on their own yeast and are given plenty of time to unfold their natural character. The wide spread practice to speed up fermentation artificially, or to „correct“ wines through a variety of means, is inconceivable for us. We count on a selectively harvested, healthy grape base and total calm during the maturing process.

Pictures: Tasting with Sandra Kühn-Quenter

What Others say about Weingut Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn

Gault Millau 2013: “In its current 2013 edition, the wine guide Gault Millau awards us four out of five possible grapes. A wonderful confirmation of our continuous striving for top-quality: “from basic to ambrosial sweet … the Kühn family have served us with the most homogenous wine collection in the whole of the Rheingau.”

Eichelmann 2013 - Deutschlands Weine: In Gerhard Eichelmann`s wine guide we have for years been rated amongst the best winemakers in Germany with his top rating of 5 stars.

Pictures: Sandra Kühn-Quenter Explaining Bio-dynamic Winemaking

Der Feinschmecker 2013: The prestigious Journal „Der Feinschmecker“ now awards us with 4 of 5 possible “Gourmet-Points”. In the online wine guide “” our vintage 2011 is nominated as the “Wein-Plus collection of the year”.”

Tasting Wines

We went through a series of wines.

2011 Riesling Brut Sekt
2013 Jacobus VDP.Gutswein
2013 Oestrich Quarzir Riesling VDP.Ortswein
2013 Klosterberg Riesling VDP.Erste Lage
2011 Doosberg Riesling VDP.Grosse Lage GG
2012 Sankt Nicolaus Riesling VDP.Grosse Lage GG
2013 Lenchen Riesling VDP.Grosse Lage Beerenauslese – Interestingly, this wine from the 2013 vintage was available as Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese and Beerenauslese

Kühn Wines in the USA

The Kühn web site lists 2 sources for their wines in the USA: Domaine Select Wine Estates, which has an impressive list of Kühn wines (with detailed information) on their web site, and Petit Pois Corporation, which has a shorter list with mainly sweet-style wines on their web site. A good source for Kühn wines is also Moore Brothers in New York, which currently shows the following 3 wines on their web site. I am copying their wine notes.

Hallgarten Riesling Rheinschiefer Trocken Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn 2013 US$ 27

Peter Kühn, who farms eighteen hectares of gently sloping clay-limestone vineyards in Oestrich, Hallgarten, and Mittelheim, represents the eleventh generation of Kühns to grow wine in the Rheingau. He was already a leader of the “Rheingau Renaissance” of the 1990s, having created one of the top estates in Germany, when he completed the transformation to organic viticulture in 2004. Four years ago he became a member of Demeter, the organization that certifies biodynamic farms, and today is the single most rigorous practitioner of biodynamic viticulture I know in Germany. From Peter and Angela's small holdings in the Hendelberg vineyard in the nearby village of Hallgarten, the wine shows dense layered aromas, layered with the scents of slate, and a refined mouthfeel. Peter says it is "like the transition from Classical to Romantic - a 'Schubert' for drinking."

2006 Peter Jakob Kuhn Oestricher Lenchen Riesling Beerenauslese (half bottle) US$ 135

The Rhine turns westward just past Mainz, flowing along a 30-kilometer crescent-shaped stretch of warm, southerly exposed vineyards that have been a center of German wine production since Roman times. It was in the Rheingau that Riesling's potential was first realized and developed. Peter and Angela Kühn, at their biodynamically farmed 15-hectare estate in Oestreich, honor this tradition with finely honed Riesling of the first order. Lenchen is located a stone's throw from the fabled Schloss Vollrads, and benefits from similar exposure and soil (rich clay and gravelly loam). The finest parcels lie nearest to the Pfingstbach, a tiny creek running down the hill through a shallow hollow that provides just enough moisture to encourage healthy botrytis on the ripe clusters of Riesling grown there. Peter Kühn's monumental Beerenauslese is a spectacular miracle of nature, combining lush tropical fruit aromatics with the characteristic lime citrus of the best Oestricher wines.

2013 Peter Jakob Kuhn Riesling Trocken Jacobus US$ 23

In the glass, this sapid dry Riesling has a limpid, deep yellow-green color, with an attractive nose that suggests lemon grass, kaffir lime, walnut oil, and freshly sliced green apples. On the palate the wine is generous, dry, and refreshing, unfolding like a peacock’s tail with flavors that echo the nose, adding white grapefruit, dried honeycomb, lemon verbena, and juniper, all seasoned with a combination of palpable saline minerality and mouthwatering acidity, depth, and cut.


Thank you very much Sandra for a great tasting.

schiller-wine: Related Postings

4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux

Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

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Vineyard Walk, Cellar Tour and Wine Tasting at Weingut Künstler – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

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