Katharina Wechsler’s enviable Rheinhessen vineyard holdings are in what may be today’s most famous dry Riesling area (mostly thanks to local luminaries, Klaus-Peter Keller, and Philipp Wittman), with highlights that include a big slab of the grand cru vineyard, Kirchspiel, and perhaps the most coveted of all recognized grand crus, Morstein. Between these two extraordinary vineyards, her family owns in its entirety a large vineyard, called Benn. Located between Morstein and Kirchspiel, lower on the slope, only the upper section of Benn is on the strongly calcareous sections planted to Riesling, while much of the lower slopes are a patchwork of many different grape varieties she loves to play with in her cellar, concocting a range of pure pleasure and fun, like her savory orange wines and other more “natural” wine bottlings. The highlight of her range is of course the classically styled dry Rieslings imbued with ornate lines and a deep, terroir drive.
With all of today’s fuss about the Rheinhessen’s extraordinary dry Rieslings, there is no greater irony than the region’s historical reputation of bulk wine production and of the poorest quality in all of Germany for the last hundred years. To now be at the top of the heap for dry German Riesling, gratitude is owed to the extraordinary vision, research, and craftsmanship of mainly the Keller and Wittmann families. Their impact continues to ripple through the industry, inspiring the arrival and rebirth of many new and exciting wineries along this curious and completely unique strip of limestone, including that of the young Katharina Wechsler.
The name of the wine pays homage to the small plot on which it grows. This tiny Riesling parcel high above the Westhofener Kirchspiel earned its name from its heavy clay and limestone-laced soil. Sweat and toil are required to bring out its best. That passion is an ever-present part of ourselves in these juicy, elegant bottles.