Why is this Wine so Yummy?
About Julian Haart
Based in Piesport, in the heartland of the Mosel Valley, Julian Haart is the young star of German winemaking. His wine education could scarcely have been more illustrious, working with Heymann-Löwenstein for a year, Emrich-Schönleber for two and a half years, Egon Müller for a year, and Klaus Peter Keller for three years.
“Not many wine careers can have started off on a more superlative level than Haart’s, yet from my several conversations with him I am convinced that his perfectionism goes hand in hand with rigorous self-criticism that should preclude success going to his head.” David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate
On his return to Piesport, he took over a small half-hectare plot in the Wintricher Ohligsberg, planted with century-old vines, followed by a hectare in the Piesporter Schubertslay, a unique plot with vines planted in 1904 on original rootstocks. Because it is so rocky, it escaped the Flurbereinigung of 1992, when vineyard holdings were rationalised, new roads built and an enormous amount of replanting was done.
The estate has grown to a little more than four hectares and this is, roughly, where Julian wants it to stay. Part of the joy of winemaking, for Julian, is doing everything himself, or with his wife Nadine, or with some friends. This is vineyard work, and winemaking, at the most human scale. Nearly everything must be done by hand – most of the vineyards are steep as hell and most of them are terraced. Even walking through them is a bit hazardous.
His goal is to make superlative dry wines, but they are brilliant and elegant across the entire range. He is striving for vineyard expression rather than just fruit; fermentation is allowed to start naturally, and the cellar temperature is kept at a steady 20ºC. Terroir shines through!
In the Vineyard
It’s intriguing to hear the evolution in the vineyard and the focus on specializing vineyards for styles. Specific parcels being allocated to Kabinett allowing vineyard management to be tailored to the style.
The estate has grown to a little more than four hectares and this is, roughly, where Julian wants it to stay. Part of the joy of winemaking, for Julian, is doing everything, just he and his wife Nadine, and maybe some friends. This is vineyard work, and winemaking, at the most human scale. Nearly everything must be done by hand – most of the vineyards are steep as hell and most of them are terraced. Even walking through them is a bit hazardous.
Julian’s first vineyard buy was an awesome parcel, top center, in the grand cru site Ohligsberg, just downstream from the Goldtröpfchen (see below). The following year (2011), Haart expanded the estate with two grand cru sites, the Goldtröpfchen and Schubertslay. The Goldtröpfchen parcel includes terraces established in the early 20th century and the Schuberstlay, one of the smallest single-vineyards in all of the Mosel with only about one hectare under vine, flaunts ungrafted vines around 100 years old. This is serious terroir. So serious, in fact, that as of vintage 2018 Julian has handed the Schubertslay vineyard over to one of his best friends, this guy Klaus Peter Keller (ya heard of him?). This will be Keller’s first Mosel wine, which is a huge deal. In return, with vintage 2018, Julian will make a small amount of wine from Keller’s Frauenberg vineyard in the Rheinhessen.
In the Winery
It makes sense to speak of the “terroir wines” and the “Prädikat wines” as two distinct categories. The terroir wines are those that ferment naturally, finding their own balance that is nearly always dry tasting, though the wines might have a lil’ more sugar than would allow them to be legally called “Trocken,” or dry. In this grouping of wines we begin with the “1000L.” This wine is made from Fuder(s) of Julian’s wines that he doesn’t think are good enough for any of the above classifications. Thus I buy the entire Fuder (the traditional 1,000 liter barrel of the Mosel) and call the wine “1000L.” From here we progress up the Burgundian ladder, from “Moselle” (appellation level), “Piesporter” or “Wintricher” (village-level) up to the grand cru, single-vineyard bottlings “Goldtröpfchen” and “Ohligsberg.”
The Prädikat wines are labelled simply enough, from Kabinett up to Auslesen (rarely seen), always designated by the vineyard.
The overall style is clearly a type of Mosel-hommage to Keller. The wines showcase a glossy, super-pure fruit that shrieks across the palate with a pushing, sharply delineated acidity. Pulverized slate, polished to a fine dust, coats everything.
These are Moselle wines of consequence, well worth the perhaps difficult time you’ll have actually trying to find a bottle.
The 2019 Vintage at Weingut Julian Haart
Where in the World is Julian Haart?
Julian Haart is based in Piesporter further south down the Mosel River from Welen and Graach. Piesporter’s famous vineyards are Goldtröpchen, Schubertslay (being made extra famous by Keller’s purchase of a parcel), Domherr and Kreuztwingert.
He does a fruit exchange with Keller grabbing a few bunches of the Rheinhessen GG Frauenberg.
The German VDP has an excellent interactive map covering the wine growing regions of Germany. Clink on the Map to go to the live version. The map highlights his family’s winery. His relatively new estate hasn’t been added yet.