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Lukas Hammelmann
force and meditation
pushing boundaries in the Pfalz

{ we have exactly six of the 3-packs to sell, a grandiose-feeling thirty of the 2-packs }
sold out

Yes, all of this is a shade beyond insane.

We are importing everything we could get from Lukas, yet it is only 12.5 cases total.

Still, we thought these bottles deserved to be a part of the conversation; the truth is these wines have stuck with Robert and me in a very unique way.

They demanded our attention back in January when we first tasted them; they stood out above everything else on the table. And it was a table heavy with bottles.

These are among the most curious Rieslings we've tasted in a long time, showing a wild and kaleidoscopic mish-mash of influence and style, from Schäfer-Fröhlich to Rebholz, Clemens Busch to von Winning, Lardot to Weiser-Künstler. (See our tasting notes below for the logic, if there is any, of these references.)

We keep trying, and failing, to find the closest, most accurate reference for Hammelmann. The wines not only push boundaries, but they seem to rearrange the walls themselves.

Lukas has, very early on (his first real vintage was only 2016), found his own unique path. And while it references the iconic, more traditional language of Riesling (citrus, stone fruit, mineral, salt) it simultaneously pushes into the new, more "natural" realm as well.

The Riesling "vom Löss" presents a mesmerizing interplay of ripe, almost tangy fruit, a very incisive and forceful acidity, a polished minerality. Yet the wine is also not just forceful; there is a meditative, expansive quality, a buoyant, airy texture, a glaze of both barrel and oxidation.

At their most searing, yes, the wines cut with citrus and lime-zest. At their most plush and buoyant they float with the red-fruited mysteriousness of a sour beer.

They are quixotic wines. I suppose you just have to try them for yourselves. The prices are more than reasonable, the adventure and discovery well worth it.

Geographically, Rebholz is certainly the closest comparison for Lukas. Both Hammelmann and Rebholz are farming in the southern tip of the Pfalz. Hammelmann, however, is just south and west of Neustadt, heading up into the Haardt mountains. This is a cooler part of the Pfalz, and part of a story we are going to be hearing more and more about: cooler sites that once probably couldn't achieve perfect ripeness, now coming into a beautiful focus.

Lukas is only farming about three hectares and makes, in total, just over 1,000 cases. At the moment, he doesn't have plans to grow the winery at all. He wants to be very involved in every detail and he seems obsessive about the vineyard work - a good sign.

These wines should be in stock next week. Please note, as we have such little wine to offer, we will limit all purchases to one pack per customer. Obviously we can arrange for temperature-controlled storage until safe shipping temperatures in the fall.

More on the wines below. To order, reply to this email or simply click here.

2020 Lukas Hammelmann 2-Pack
1 bottle 2020 Riesling "vom Löss" Trocken
1 bottle 2020 "Caesslin" Blanc de Noir (not sparkling)

The laundry list of wine references above? They are not arbitrary.

The top Rieslings reminded me of Schäfer-Fröhlich so much that on day two I opened a 2019 Halenberg GG to compare (the S-F was leaner, more linear and cooler-toned). The wines have a similar force and breadth to Rebholz, which makes some sense given the geography. As with Clemens, the wines have a lavishness, an opulence that pushes right up to the edge; von Winning, another estate in the Pfalz, can have a similar glaze of wood. The Weiser-Künstler comparison is the most suspect, but there is a delicate amount of oxidation that recalls some of the mineral tones of a Wei-Kü. The Lardot mention is much more relevant, as both use not only a slight oxidation but allow malolactic fermentation, which gives the wines more width and airiness.

2020 Lukas Hammelmann 3-Pack
1 bottle 2019 Riesling "Z" Trocken (0 sulfur)
1 bottle 2020 Riesling "vom Löss" Trocken
1 bottle 2020 "Caesslin" Blanc de Noir (not sparkling)

Brief notes on winemaking at Hammelmann
As per the winemaking, there is no formula here. Lukas says he says he will macerate, or direct-press, as he sees fit, depending on the vintage. For himself, he calls both 2019 and 2020 "cooler, more acid-driven vintages." I don't know the exposition of the vineyards or the microclimate here, so I can't really speak to what the vintage felt like here. Either way, even with the 24-hour maceration Lukas employed in 2018 and 2019, the wines do NOT lack in acidity - even in these warmer vintages. All the wines go into barrel for élevage and as this is a new estate, with some new barrels, the wines can show a touch of wood, though I found the notes discreet and well integrated. The Riesling "vom Löss" and "Caesselin" (a blanc de noir, or white wine made from Pinot Blanc) ferment naturally (as with all the wines at the estate) and do go through malolactic fermentation. They are delicately filtered and see only a lighter use of sulfur.

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