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2020 Petershof Herrenberg Trocken
extreme Saar the debut vintage
Grand Cru dry Riesling Steal

THIS IS THE EXTREME SAAR: A razor's edge of a dry Riesling from 80-year-old ungrafted vines that fermented for 15 months before being bottled in February of 2022. }
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We are thrilled to give the Petershof winemaker/owner Peter Thelen his U.S. debut with his debut 2020 vintage.

Yes, that's a lot of debuts for one sentence.

Beginning with only a few hectares purchased in 2019, Peter is farming absolutely superb sites that fans of Hofgut Falkenstein may recognize, including Niedermenninger Herrenberg and Krettnacher Altenberg. Not only are the vineyards in some cases the same, in many ways the winemaking is similar as well. Peter tends to harvest on the earlier side and seeks to retain maximum freshness and acidity via whole-bunch pressing and fractioning.

The result is an unapologetically electric style that is tensile and nervous, intensely cutting and feather-weight. Have no doubt this is the Saar in all its steely glory, with a "Grand Cru" bone-dry Riesling clocking in at an angelic 11% alcohol.

Yet the story with this exact bottling is even more curious. We first tasted it, not yet done fermenting, in August of 2021. It was our first visit to the estate and while all the wines - especially for a first vintage - showed promise, this wine had an uncommon depth; there was something noteworthy about it. We both jotted down something to this effect in our tasting books but the wine wasn't even close to bottling so... we forgot about it.

Then in March of 2021 I made a second trip on my own and stopped by Petershof again. If I was eager to taste the 2021ers (and I was), Peter poured a few of the 2020ers just to begin the tasting. When tasting old-school, high-acid Saar Riesling, best to slowly acclimate one's palate.

I still remember it - it was the third wine poured. My eyebrow went up and while I'd be lying if I said I called it as the Herrenberg Trocken I had tasted months ago, when he told me what it was I remembered the wine exactly. This was the wine that was still fermenting when we last tasted it some seven months ago. Peter said it finally finished fermenting in February and so they had just bottled it.

So here we have a 2020 Grand Cru, only now ready for the market.

The finished wine is beautiful; it is a marriage of extremes, a lovely mix of a very sharp wine with a long fermentation and élevage, which somehow seemed to polish down the awkward angles. The wine remains intensely animated, yet it is not overwhelming. The deep citrus and lemon pith mid-palate, awash with saline and stones, feels meditative, glowing - it is unbelievably persistent.

This felt like the perfect wine to introduce this new estate to the U.S. - in some ways it's as simple as that. Those of you who have had the good fortune to taste any of Lauer's 2020 GGs knows that this is a magical vintage in the Saar for dry Riesling.

It feels inane to have to highlight this, but this is a "Grand Cru" steal the likes of which one only finds in Germany (and these sorts of steals are beginning to disappear).

There are no grand proclamations to make otherwise; we have only tasted two vintages. Yet Peter seems like a very serious grower and not shy to engage with great sites that require some serious labor. This is an address to watch for sure.

But for the moment, don't watch - engage! 

2020 Petershof Riesling Herrenberg Trocken (single-vineyard "Grand Cru" dry) 

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