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Klaus Peter Keller curates
"The Golden Generation"
new perspectives

{ Some of you already know about Keller's "Golden Generation." }
sold out


The Golden Generation 3-Pack
(includes one bottle of each wine below)
NV Dennis Wolf "Cuvée Kurt" #1
2019 Lassak Riesling Hessigheim Trocken
2019 Keller "Alte Reben" Réserve

If you do, the easy advice is buy quickly; Klaus Peter (KP) and Felix Keller have graciously given us a very small stash of a special Keller bottling, the 2019 "Alte Reben" Réserve - a wine so rare even "Wine-Searcher" doesn't know it exists. I'm not sure if any other bottles of this wine will be brought into the U.S. so here's your shot.

For those who are new to our offerings, the idea of the "Golden Generation" is almost two years old.

In the spring of 2020, deep in the delirium of the early pandemic, I asked KP if he'd consider curating an offering for us. We have both talked a lot about the profound renaissance going on right now in German viticulture. He has called this new generation of young growers, "the golden generation." The idea was for KP to pick a few of his favorite younger, less well-known growers - to literally take some of the spotlight that is always on him, and to refocus it on these young winemakers. The idea, born of generosity, was simply to support them and to give the American public a greater sense of what was really happening, real-time, on the ground in Germany.

Well, it's been over a year since our first offer and KP is doing it again. It's a much smaller offering (there are only three growers, three wines) and we don't really have very much wine to offer. This will sell out quickly, and that will be that.

To order, please email orders@sourcematerialwine.com. 

The truth is that coordinating this offer has been very difficult; we've all heard enough about the problems with the "supply chain" so I won't bore you. Hopefully I can talk him into another, deeper offering in the spring.

But for now, while this is a much more limited offering, it's no less special. These three growers are all shaping wines of grace and curiosity. If the first "Golden Generation" offer focused on fresh takes on some very classical genres (dry Riesling, Pinot Noir), this offering shows off some new perspectives in German winemaking, with three bottlings that are very different from each other. Yet all of the wines are somehow unexpected - the grape(s), the methods in the cellar, the blending - in one case even the expectation of a single-vintage wine.

This is a heterogenous group - different price points and expectations, three different regions, three unique growers on their own path. Yet they are all delicious. We have rather extensive notes below, on each grower and bottling. I've been drinking each of these wines over the last few days; offerings like this are just pure joy.

These three-packs are in stock and can begin shipping November 3rd; the wines are available in the three-pack format only. To begin, we'll limit two per customer, but please let us know if you would like more, and in the curious case that we don't sell out directly, we'll follow up with you.

Thank you so much for the support.

Keller's "Golden Generation" 3-Pack
Includes one each of the following three bottles.

1 bottle of NV Dennis Wolf "Cuvée Kurt" #1
This wine is, quite literally - EVERYTHING. It is literally every white variety they farm, all in one wine - from Riesling, of course, to Scheurebe, Sauvignon Blanc, Weissburgunder, Grauburgunder, Muskateller, Chardonnay, Kerner and Silvaner. This is in no way a simple wine (in fact, it is layered with good complexity), but it is a light-hearted wine. I normally shy away from grower's descriptions of their wines, but I like Dennis' sentiment here. He writes about the wine," It's like an old friend, highly entertaining yet effortless." He also said to me once, as he poured out very liberal amounts of the wine into my glass: "Drink large amounts of this in large glasses!" The wine comes in a large, one-liter bottle, as if to emphasize its ease of use. Everything about this wine is about enjoyment.

The wine is named in Dennis' father's honor - there's a quite accidental, yet touching, father-and-son theme that runs through this offer - see the Keller bottle below for more. The truth is, part of the dynamism of "the golden generation" comes from the opportunities they've had, to travel, to see more. Dennis' father Kurt was the first in his family to bottle their own wine, yet this was an intense, full-time, one-man job. Kurt was "employee of the month" for 20+ years; his labors allowed Dennis to go out and see the world, which he did.

Dennis' first stop was the south of France, at the influential Domaine de L'Horizon; this was, by all accounts, an eye-opening experience. This is what convinced him viticulture was his future. He returned to Germany, to Geisenheim university, to complete his study. In 2013 Dennis went to work with Klaus Peter, another "spiritual father" for him. The journey continued and the list betrays a rigor, yet also a thoughtfulness and adventurousness: Ostertag in Alsace, Les Chais du Vieux Bourg in the Jura, Domaine Didier Dagueneau in the Loire, Chave in Hermitage.

Dennis returned to Germany in 2018 to work alongside his father. His father retired in 2019 and so with vintage 2020, Dennis is beginning his own journey. This bottle is just the beginning, a toast to the first steps of the journey.

1 bottle of 2019 Lassak Riesling Hessigheim Trocken
How's this as an intro, penned by Stephan Rheinhard in the Wine Advocate: "Lassak is to Württemberg what Wasenhaus is to Baden: a boutique winery with exciting wines that we will have to talk about here every year."

Stefanie and Fabian Lassak are farming only a few hectares in Hessigheim, a tiny village on the Neckar River about 40 minutes north of Stuttgart. We are in Württemberg, aka Swabia. This is Germany's south, a region where the narrative of "Riesling" gets a bit more complicated. Here, the reds are as famous (more famous?) as the whites. Both Pinot Noir and Lemberger (Blaufränkisch) have been planted here for centuries; the wines they shape have the vigor and energy of the great wines of the Northern Rhône.

Yet KP selected a Riesling; always expect the unexpected!

On first opening, the Lassak Hessigheim Riesling is rather hazy, gauzy - firm, yet not revealing much, like the sunrise coming up in the mist. There is a brightness, a citrus fruit brightness, a chalky glaze, yet it takes a little bit of time to come into focus. Because of the whole-bunch pressing and the extended aging on the full lees, the wine has a phenolic grip, an obvious yet minty-fresh textural density. Here is a fact I know about nearly all Rieslings yet I most often forget among the banalities of day-to-day life: Riesling needs air and nearly any Riesling you open will be better on day two. Try it for yourself - seriously. In the case of the Lassak, while I liked it on day one, I LOVED it on days two and day three... the wine comes into sharper focus, with citrus oils, mandarin orange skin, an incredibly detailed glazed bitterness, like fresh pine needles and flowers. The wine is extremely fine, a great polished chalky core - wowzer does the limestone-lees contact glaze become superbly detailed. You can tell the wine has seen oxygen, and has seen lees, yet it doesn't quite taste oxidative, though there are faint layers of dried grasses, a warm woodland brush, a very gauzy cheesecloth perhaps. What defines the wine, especially on days two and three, is the force of the acidity (also green-tinged). A touch rustic, something of a tidal wave, it's also polished and rounded - there are no sharp edges. This is just a superb and superbly original take on a German dry Riesling.

The Hessigheim is their top Riesling; it is sourced from vines that are 55 years old; grown on limestone terraces rising above the river. The vineyard is farmed organically with selected biodynamic preparations. For vinification, Stefanie and Fabian do a whole-cluster basket pressing; the wine is left on the full lees in a neutral barrel for a year before being bottled, unfiltered.

1 bottle of 2019 Keller "Alte Reben" Réserve
Ok - remember the father-and-son theme I mentioned above, in regards to Wolf's "Cuvée Kurt?" This wine is one of the first, let's say "mature" wines made by KP's son Felix. This is a profoundly important, symbolic wine in many ways, for the estate. It is the marker of a new generation. As we discussed potential growers for this offering KP mentioned this possibility and I was deeply touched by how genuinely proud he is of Felix, of this wine, yes - but more of the work he is doing both in the vineyard and in the cellar. I would imagine the stresses of any family business must be considerable, something so woven into the family and handed down over generations. Not to mention the stresses of fathers and sons, of coming of age - all of these things, even in the best of times are never easy. And yet here we have one of the most famous winemakers in the world, just beaming at the successes of his son (which are well earned, see tasting note below).

Felix and his wines also have another layer of resonance, for me. KP reminded me of an early trip I had taken to the estate - it must have been 2008 or 2009? We were eating at the kitchen table at the estate, just talking... and Felix, who at the time must have been 11 or 12, brought me a bottle he had made as a gift: a 2007 Grauburgunder BA. I was touched - it was just a really cool gesture - though to be honest a Grauburgunder BA wasn't exactly high on my list of things I had to try. I remember KP looking at me and saying, not exactly apologetically, but so that I'd understand: "We're letting him play around a bit with some of the grapes." That was that, and I took it home and it went into the wine fridge. A few months later I was rummaging through things and found it and opened it, pretty spontaneously, for a group of colleagues in wine retail. My colleagues all gave me the same questioning look - a Grauburgunder BA? Really? We opened the wine, admittedly with maybe low expectations and... there was silence. I don't want to overstate it - the wine was not 1971 Egon Müller - but it was delicious. It was clear, it had pure fruit and balance and clarity - it had finesse and even lightness... not exactly things one might associate with a Grauburgunder BA in any vintage, let alone a ripe vintage like 2007. Everyone - EVERYONE - was shocked and humbled. All this to say, Felix, at the age of 11 or 12, could already make a damn good wine... from essentially "leftover" Grauburgunder grapes. The bottle remained on the "trophy" shelf of the retail store for many years.

Fast forward over a decade; Felix has done Geisenheim and apprenticed at places like Bereche and Emrich-Schönleber. Felix is working with top grapes in top sites. Begin there. The "Alte Reben" Réserve is a mostly-Pinot Blanc cuvée, with maybe a third or so Chardonnay. These are old vines on a pure limestone rock soil. Very low yields, élevage in neutral barrels, natural ferment, no bâttonage, lower sulfur. I don't even know what to write about this wine, other than it is superb and a "wow" wine and for me, almost revelatory. To some degree, it almost reinvents things here for the potential of Chardonnay and Weissburgunder in the Rheinhessen. The closest comparison - the only comparison? - I can even conjure up is the best Wasenhaus Weissburgunder I've ever had (maybe Bellen for the fine-ness?). The overall presentation of the Keller "Alte Reben" Réserve is cooler-toned, a bit denser and more compact. I would guess this is simply a matter of terroir; Keller's neck of the Rheinhessen is gonna be considerably cooler than Baden. This wine is just bonkers clear - crystalline would be the word. It is shimmering, pure, vibrant, dancing. It is broader, more bulbous than the Grand Cru Rieslings from this address, but that is a matter of the variety, not the quality. This is one of those wines that will make you rethink white Burgundy, Chablis and many other regions you thought you understood - although obviously it is something completely unique. This is simply superb and it makes me pine, in a very serious way, for a Keller Weissburgunder Grand Cru, for a "Weissburgunder Morstein GG" or something like that. I don't know - and honestly don't care - but I think these are the only bottles you'll find in the U.S. If you do find any somewhere else, lemme know - I'm a buyer.

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