Koehler-Ruprecht Spätburgunder

Regular price $29.00

Winemaker: Bernd Phillipi

Appellation: Kallatadt, Pfalz, Germany

Grape Varieties: Pinot Noir

The grapes were handpicked, destemmed and fermented in stainless steel; pressed after 4-6 weeks and aged for two years in one new Doppelstück and some old Halbstück barrels.

While Koehler-Ruprecht has existed since the 1700's, it was Bernd Phillipi's hard work over the last 30 years that solidified the winery's world class reputation. Bernd's biggest inspiration was his grandfather, and the wines reflect an attitude of winemaking more akin to the 1900's than the 2000's. In the vineyard, no irrigation, or herbicides are ever used, and systemic treatments against pests or fungal illness were kept to a minimum, only in the rare cases when necessary. In the cellar, long spontaneous fermentations occur in large, old German oak barrels with extended lees contact. Nothing is ever added to or subtracted from the wine, and sulfur is only added moderately after alcoholic fermentation and before bottling.

Today, Bernd has moved on to winemaking projects all over the world (Germany, Portugal, South Africa, consulting in China...), and no longer has any role at Koelher-Ruprecht. Since 2008, viticulture/cellar duties have been passed on to Dominik Sona. Dominik is young but already a seasoned veteran: prior to landing at Koehler-Ruprecht, he's worked at Neiss, Kuhn, Van Volxem, Flowers, Littorai and as estate manager for J.L. Wolf. Already a fan of the winery before getting hired, he has vowed not to change a thing in the winemaking process. A few years later, he was joined by Franziska Schmitt; both are omnipresent but Franzi  has over the years taken most responsibility in the cellar.

The estate consists of 10.5 hectares of vines, principally in Riesling (50%) but also in Pinot Noir(20%), Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Scheurebe on three separate and distinct terroirs: Saumagen, Steinacker and Annaberg.

Saumagen, which translates to pig's stomach, is named after the shape of the vineyard (it also happens to be the region's most famous local dish). Established as a vineyard in 1810, this area used to be a limestone quarry in Roman times. The soils here are heavy in chalky marl and full of tiny individual limestones that reflect heat onto the grapes. Because of a government expansion in the 1980's, 46 hectares are now designated as Saumagen- including a conversion of north-facingorchards into vineyard sites- but Koehler-Ruphrecht's four hectares are on the original, southeast facing slope. A small part of the Saumagenis designated as Terra Rossa, with the limestone taking a red hue due to a heavy presence of iron oxide. 

The Steinacker terroir is characterized by chalk and sandstone. The Rieslings and Scheurebe  grown here tend have residual sweetness. Finally, at 120 years old, Annaberg is the youngest vineyard site and characterized by a high proportion of sandstone. The western part of the region features a chalk substrate where the Chardonnay grows. All grapes are hand harvested, with the team doing up to five passes each vintage to pick at optimal maturity.