This cuvée is a blend of fruit from high altitude sites--including the brilliantly named Sandgrub vineyard--dotted around the village. There's a good dollop of wine from Wasseros too, a steep, southwest facing vineyard that abuts the Gräfenberg vines. The soils of these sites are typically composed of stony, fragmented phyllite interlaced with loess and loam. Fruit for the 2017 was picked on the cusp of Spätlese level ripeness, bringing remarkable depth for this level. This depth beautifully complements the wine's vibrant, quenching acidity and mineral intensity. This may be Weil's first rung on the ladder, but it is just far too good to be called 'entry level'.
The Rheingau wines of Robert Weil have reached well beyond cult status and today are revered across the globe as some of Germany’s most superlative Rieslings. Based in the town of Kiedrich, Weil’s wines are fuelled by the three epic, high altitude, south facing vineyards of Klosterberg, Turmberg and most famously, Gräfenberg, all situated in the foothills of the Taunus Mountains. From these historic sites, Wilhelm Weil, a pioneer of ‘earth to glass’ wine growing, guides Rheingau Riesling to its most seamless, precise expression and in doing so produces some of the world’s most inspirational Rieslings. While Wilhelm Weil’s meticulous, everything by hand, berry by berry, approach, is a key factor in understanding the remarkable precision of these wines, it is, as always, the vineyards that dictate the ultimate quality and personality of the wines produced. These steep, stony, mineral rich vineyards are managed in order to maximise their terroir. Herbicides are never used, and as the aim here is to encourage life in the soil, only organic manure is applied and cover crops are grown to add to the organic matter. Grapes are harvested by hand with as many as 17 passes through the vineyard, ensuring only the most pristine and perfectly ripe grapes make it into each wine. In the winery all fruit receives a pre-ferment maceration, typically between 6-24 hours (or a lengthy 72 hours for the Erstes Gewächs). There is a very gentle pressing of whole berries, the musts are allowed to start fermenting naturally and spend varying time on lees subject to the cuvée. The Rheingau was historically Germany’s most revered vineyard region and once produced the world’s most expensive wines. You only need to glance at a wine map of Germany to see why. This is Riesling’s Côte d’Or; a series of sheer, south facing, rocky slopes that maximise exposure to the sun and protect the vines from the bitter northern winds. It is this confluence of natural elements that enables Riesling to perfectly ripen at this very marginal, northern climate. With some of the highest (up to 780 ft ASL) and most revered vineyards in the region, Robert Weil is today the superstar of the Rheingau.
The slight hint of funk in the nose that quickly turns into a flinty note, announces a change of style at this famous estate. Perhaps the sugar levels weren't high. Yet, this is rather bold as well as very crisp. Discreet, white-fruit character and quite a salty mineral finish. Drink now.
STEPHAN REINHARDT - WINE ADVOCATE
The 2017 Rheingau Riesling Trocken is very clear, fresh and even coolish on the nose. "We are incredibly happy with 2017," says Wilhelm Weil, who considers this estate Riesling as one of the best he has produced in the past 30 years. It is an incredibly lush but fine and singing 500,000 times (this is the number of bottles). Gorgeous and highly attractive—not just because of the price. The 2017 is Wilhelm Weil's 31st vintage, and he can be proud of it indeed. Tasted at the domaine in August 2018.