Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cellar Tour and Wine Tasting at Weingut Von Hövel in Konz, Saar Valley, Mosel, with Owner and Winemaker Max von Kunow - Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Picture: Stephen Kent from the German Wine Society USA (Washington DC Chapter) Enjoying Weingut von Hövel Wines

At Weingut Von Hövel in Konz, Saar Valley, we were received by the energetic Maximilan von Kunow, who took over from his father in 2010. Max showed us the 1100 year old barrel cellar where still today the wine matures in wooden vats, some of them several hundred years old, to become ripe, spicy, elegant Rieslings, and led an impressive wine tasting.

Weingut von Hövel

In this region wine was already produced in Roman times. There is evidence that wine was produced at the site of the Von Hövel estate as early as 1150. In those days, the vineyards and the winery belonged to the Monastery of Saint Maximin in Trier.

Picture: Welcome

Emmerich Grach (1753–1826) from the well-established Grach family in Trier bought several wineries, including in 1803 the winery of the Monastery of Saint Maximin, which had been secularized under Napoleon. In 1902, the estate was passed on to the great-granddaughter of the founder, who was married to Balduin von Hövel. Eberhard von Kunow, the father of Maximilian von Kunow and the great-grandson of Balduin von Hövel, was the proprietor of Weingut Von Hövel from 1973 until 2010. Under his leadership, Weingut Von Hövel became one of the top wine producers in Germany.

The manor house, completed in the 12th century, was initially an abbey retreat for the monastery. The old cellar is today as it was over 800 years ago.

Pictures: Maximilian von Hövel, Christian Schiller and Annette Schiller

The current owner, Maximilian von Kunow, is the 7th Graf family generation and 3rd von Kunow family generation producing outstanding wines at this estate. Max graduated from the prestigious Geisenheim University and spent a number of years consulting in Luxembourg before he returned home in 2010. While his father produced mostly fruity style wines, Max wants to produce more dry styled Rieslings. He also started the estate on the road of organic production. His 2011 Scharzhofberger Grosses Gewächs, (93 points), was one of the highest scored dry wines in the Wein-Plus, a German newsletter.

Weingut Von Hövel produces 5,000 cases and is a founding member of the Mosel VDP. Max’s father Eberhard was for many years the auctioneer for the annual VDP auction in Trier. Recently, Max took over that function.

Pictures: Corkscrew Collection of Eberhard von Kunow


The wines of Weingut Von Hövel say “Mosel” on their labels. Yet, the Von Hövel wines do not come from the Mosel Valley, but from the Saar Valley. Before 2007, the region was called Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, but changed to a name - Mosel - considered more consumer-friendly. The Mosel wine region is Germany's third largest in terms of production but is the leading region in terms of international prestige. The area is known for the steep slopes of the region's vineyards overlooking the river.

Pictures: Visit of the 800 Years Old Cellar

Weingut Von Hövel has ownership in the following vineyards; all planted 100% to Riesling:

Oberemmeler Hütte – (17.5 acres) a monopole of the estate – very light soil, weathered slate, it produces some of the most delicate, subtle, yet steely Rieslings in Germany.

Scharzhofberg – (7.5 acres) deeper, heavier soil, strong weathered grey slate with high proportion of rocks and gravel (70%), it produces more masculine wines.

Oberemmeler Rosenberg – the estate owns over 6 acres of the “filet” piece also known as the Rosenkamm, which has many old vine scattered throughout. For example, the 2011 Riesling Estate Spätlese “R” was selected from only those old vines with a yield of only 10hl/ha!

Kanzemer Hörecker – (barely 1 acre) monopole – one of the smallest yet greatest vineyards in the Saar, grey green slate with a proportion clay and red soil.

The estate also owns small portions of the heavy soiled Oberemmeler Karlsberg.

The Wines Max Poured

2010 Weingut Von Hövel Scharzhofberg Riesling trocken GG
2011 Weingut Von Hövel Kanzem Riesling trocken GG
2013 Weingut Von Hövel Oberemmeler Riesling feinherb
2013 Weingut Von Hövel Hütte Oberemmel Riesling Kabinett
2010 Weingut Von Hövel Hütte Oberemmel Riesling Spätlese
2011 Weingut Von Hövel Scharzhofberg Riesling Auslese
2011 Weingut Von Hövel Scharzhofberg Riesling Auslese #33
2012 Weingut Von Hövel Hütte Oberemmel Riesling Eiswein
2012 Weingut Von Hövel Scharzhofberg Riesling Eiswein

Pictures: Tasting

In the USA: Rudi Wiest

Rudi Wiest Selection is the US Importer of Weingut Von Hövel. David Bowler Wine in New York is a good source for Weingut Von Hövel wines: Baron Eberhard “Adt” von Kunow is the owner and proprietor of the small but wonderful von Hovel estate. He made the wines there from 1973 to 2010; however, after a debilitating stroke (from which we are pleased to report he has largely recovered), his son Maximilian (the 7th generation) took charge of the winemaking. Max runs the estate along increasingly organic methods, and like many in his generation, also seeks to create great dry wines. But von Hovel remains a haven for the hauntingly delicate style of fruity Rieslings unique to the Saar river valley, the coolest growing area in Germany. These are crystalline, low alcohol wines from the “old school,” teeming with minerals and flowers in their youth, and often petrolly in their later years. They represent some of the finest values in the Rudi Wiest portfolio.

Picture: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy PR and WineTours, Max von Kunow, Johannes Hasselbach (Weingut Gunderloch), Alwin Jurtschitsch (Weingut Jurtschitsch) and Christian G.E. Schiller at BToo in Washington DC, USA. Max studied with Alwin and Alwin's wife, Stephanie Jurtschitsch, who is Johannes' sister.

Kabinett Estate 2011

”Redolent of ripe peaches and cream, this features lightly spiced notes of dried apricot and pear. Pastry accents grace the soft finish. Drink now.” -WS

Plump, easy-going and friendly, like a puppy that wants to play with you and your food. Sourced from across von Hovel’s 13ha+ of estate holdings, it offers peaches, floral notes and a whiff of slate with the gentle sweetness typical of 2011 Kabs.

Kabinett Oberemmeler Hutte 2011

Springy and precisely mineral-driven with gorgeous yellow plum fruit and some exotic character. Approximately 55-60g RS, a vivid 8.5g acid and 94 degrees oechsle (practically Auslese ripeness)! How does this remain so light and ethereal in the mouth with those numbers? This is benchmark Saar wine from a great year, a bottling with a long future and a glorious present.

Review: Ripe, offering open-textured flavors of apple, green peach and baked pear, with savory accents and a spicy finish. Drink now through 2018. 1,000 cases made. 88pts Wine Spectator, Kim Marcus April 30, 2013

Spätlese Dry "R" 2012

A connoisseur’s choice. One risks sounding pompous saying that, but the fact is, this is a big, crunchy, bone-dry wine in a developing stage, teeming with perfumey aromatics like rose hips and talcum, and structured in a clean and refreshing style like cold mineral water with a slice of lemon. The giveaway of the terroir is the incredibly dense, almost tactile sense of slate that coats the mouth at the finish—and JUST WON’T LET GO! An attention-grabbing wine that displays Max von Kunow’s promise as a young winemaker who wants to explore the potential of dry wines at his estate.


Thank you very much Maximilian for a wonderful tasting.

schiller-wine: Related Postings

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

Coming-up: Wine & Art Tour to Saale-Unstrut - Saxony - Franken - Württemberg: Germany-East Tour by ombiasy WineTours (June 11 - June 20, 2015)

Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

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schiller-wine: Related Postings (Weingut von Hövel)

Special Wine Event on March 18, 2014, in Washington DC with "Wurzelwerk": 3 Terroirs, 3 Winemakers and 9 Wines

"Wurzelwerk" Goes America: 3 Vineyards, 3 Winemakers and 9 Wines

Weingut von Hoevel – The New Generation: Max von Kunow in Washington DC, US

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