2015 Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 15
The great wall of vineyards that stretches between Bernkastel and Zeltingen, roughly five miles in length, is surely one of the most impressive group of vineyards in Germany. It includes four villages. In addition to the two mentioned above, the villages of Graach and Wehlen complete the picture. Only Wehlen, which, these days is probably the best known of the villages, is on the other side of the Mosel. The Wehlen Bridge, a graceful suspension bridge, crosses to the middle of town, and if you are driving from the Bernkastel side and cross that bridge, you must make an almost U-Turn to the right, drive down to the little Ufer, or the small road that runs along the river at Wehlen, on which many of the great estates in the Mosel face the river and the magnificent vineyard.
About six houses to the left, or up river as you drive down to the Uferallee, is the unmistakable home of Martin Kerpen and his family. It’s a sort of Jugendstil (or what we call Arts and Crafts) gingerbread house, half-timbered with a high pointed roof. It really does stick out in company with the stately, sober, slate homes along the river there. The winery is behind it; there is a nice-sized garden which is, in the summer, filled with tables and is open as a simple café with a number of goodies to be enjoyed with wine.
The winery is not new – it goes back some 250 years and at least eight generations. The estate is a little larger than many Mosel wineries, but that means about 8 hectares and somewhere between 5000 and 6000 cases of wine per year. Given that they make around 15 different wines per year, this is, in fact, a rather small winery. Martin and Celia are extremely friendly, warm people. He is quite tall, a candidate for my all Mosel Basketball team – small forward perhaps – and full of energy. His wines became well-known here when the press went nuts over his 1990 vintage (as well they should have). In the twenty-five years since, he has gone from strength to strength, producing every year fine, elegant Riesling with beautiful structure and great staying power. Those 90s are still in excellent shape and drinking beautifully.
A few basic facts might help. Holdings are in the Graacher Himmelreich and Domprobst vineyards, also the Bernkasteler Bratenhöfchen and, of course, the Wehlener Sonnenuhr. - Importer