Ernst Loosen's estate has been in the same family for 200 years. They operate two wineries, their headquarters are at their St. Johannishof estate located in Bernkastel in the heart of the stunning Mosel Valley, with a second winery, Villa Wolf in the Pfalz. Ernst “Erni” Loosen took over his family's business when his father retired in 1988. Erni initially trained as an archaeologist, but as none of his siblings wanted to take the reins of the wine business at the time, Erni took up the challenge and completed his viticulture and oenological studies at the renowned Geisenheim University. H then visited many of the world's prestigious wineries, which inspired his own philosophy - that individual terroir triumphs over technology, and quality always comes before quantity; that great wines come from great passion and dedication, and from clear convictions that should be realized without compromise. By the end of the 1980's the taste for German wine was in decline, but Erni set out to change all that. He wanted to make great wines and re-establish Riesling as a vinous treasure. He started by looking at how German Rieslings had been made in the past, when they had been revered worldwide and commanded high prices. Erni read that in Goethe's day it was common practice to leave Rieslings from the Rhine and Mosel in barrel for between 20 and 30 years. He experimented with this concept himself, bottling a 1981 wine in 2008 and was amazed at the results. Erni's father also told him that in his great grandfather's time, all the wines underwent spontaneous fermentation in traditional Fuder barrels, remaining on their full lees in barrel for a minimum of two years, with the best barrels left for eight years. Furthermore at no time was any lees stirring carried out. Impressed with this information, from the 2008 vintage Erni switched all his dry Rieslings to spontaneous fermentation in wooden barrels, and they are left on their lees for 12 months with no stirring. From the 2011 vintage the wines from the best and oldest sites remain on full lees for 24 months, and are kept in bottle for another 2 to 3 years before release. The resulting wines are more elegant and refined, harmoniously structured with delicate aromas and, quite simply, seductively charming.
The stony slate soil on the steep, south-facing slopes of the Mosel with the moderating effect of the river, creates the perfect conditions for growing the queen of German Grape varieties, the noble Riesling. Some Loosen vines are over 130 years old, on their original ungrafted rootstocks. 50 hectares are under vine on 8 different vineyard sites, which are some of the best in the Mosel.
Bernkasteler Lay: Lay is an old word for slate, and the soils here are deep weathered blue slate, which produces powerful fruit-driven Rieslings.
Bernkasteler Johannisbrünnchen: the vineyard lies above their Bernkastel estate, and gave the property its old name of St. Johannishof; the classic Devonian slate here produces mineral, fruity and elegant Rieslings.
Graacher Himmelreich: the particularly deep blue slate soils here produce Rieslings that are forceful in their youth, but develop beautifully after cellaring for a few years.
Graacher Domprobst: the Devonian slate soils here produce Rieslings rich in extract with herbaceous-earthy notes.
Wehlener Sonnenuhr: this famous “sundial” vineyard is extremely steep, and produces the most elegant and delicate Rieslings from its stony shallow blue slate soils.
Urziger Würzgarten: the soil here is unique in the Mosel - red volcanic sandstone and red slate on precipitously steep slopes, produces Rieslings of great depth, with exotic fruit and spicy aromas. Some Pinot Noir is also grown here for their Rosé Sekt.
Erdener Treppchen: the iron-rich red slate soils on this exceptionally steep vineyard produce full-flavoured, racy and complex Rieslings with an intense mineral finish.
Erdener Prälat: this is their finest vineyard, planted on red slate soils, producing Rieslings full of power and complexities.
From the 1988 vintage all Riesling from vineyards classified as Grossen Lagen are bottled as Single Vineyard Rieslings, whilst all other wines are bottled as Estate or Village Rieslings. Dr. Loosen's iconic wines have changed the way German Rieslings are viewed, and Erni is regarded as one of the most influential winemakers in the world today. His multi-award winning wines reflect their origins and are some of the finest Rieslings money can buy, and yet they will not break the bank. They are totally tantalizing and beguiling!