Helmut Hexamer Quarzit Riesling 2019
Harald Hexamer’s dedication to producing exceptional German wines from the Nahe region is seen both his work in the vineyards and in the cellars. Hexamer holds 7.5 hectares in the Meddersheimer Rheingrafenberg, a steep south-east facing slope of red sandstone with deposits of quartzite, which is known for producing especially small berries. Hexamer often harvests riper grapes from another site (Marbach) but the wines of Rheingrafenberg grapes are “more filigree and better-structured.” Schlossböckelheimer In den Felsen (“In the Rocks”) is a small vineyard at 6.5 hectares, of which the Hexamer’s own 4.5. The vineyard is markedly steep (70º) with south facing slopes composed of rocky porphyry and produces wines characterized by softer acidity and a subtle smokiness.
Hexamer’s meticulous work in the vineyard is marked by pruning to control yields (“often six to eight bunches per wine”) and hand-harvesting. The grapes are picked exclusively by hand and fermented very cold (below 12 degrees C) with cooling utilized only when necessary – “but we often pick so late we bring naturally cold fruit — below 10 degrees — back to the winery.” Hexamer handles the wine as little as possible: no dosage (no sugar) is used, inoculations are made only with native yeasts, and all wines are whole-cluster pressed. 95% of all Rieslings at Hexamer are made in stainless steel and racked only once, three to six weeks after fermentation is complete. The wines are bottled early to preserve their vigor. For the Burgundian varieties, Harald constructed his own barrels in Meddersheim using oak from the Hunsrück forest seasoned for 5 years. When tasting the wines, one sees the purity of the vineyards, the intensity of minerality, and remarkable clarity. Hexamer’s wines are balanced in the ultraviolet spectrum; they’re steely, acid-driven, clean, and transparent.
James SucklingWhat a seductive fruit-salad nose this animating and elegant, medium-dry Riesling has! Very clean and bright with a touch of tannin at the finish giving it structure.