Weingut Josef Leitz is universally regarded as one of the three rising stars of the new generation of Rheingauers (with Künstler and Weil). They are a small estate of 5.8 hectares. Extraordinarily aromatic, vigorous wines from a vintner who grows more commanding each vintage. Way above-the-pack 1999s. On another PLANET in 2001! They have the lusty vitality of wines that were never racked; he bottles them off the gross lees from the casks in which they fermented. “A lot of people talk about ‘yeast-contact’ but I think I’m the only one who actually does it.” They have a remarkable reconciliation of weight, solidity and buoyancy. They tend to run stony, as is the Rheingau type—when it’s true! And they are fastidiously specific in their site characteristics. The dry wines are better than most! Still, almost none of Johannes’ wines taste “sweet.” They have the coiled power of a tightly closed fist. They are intensely fragrant, as though they wished to convince you of something. They are like Wachau wines; they crave oxygen, and they do show their best ice cold. They are, to my way of thinking, the most exciting wines currently made in the Rheingau and they didn’t get there with bazillions of yen or with mega-technology or with a Kantian superstructure of philosophy: Just a man, his dog, and their wines.
From a great parcel originally called Hinterhaus (A dream come true, said Johannes, when he obtained this parcel from Groensteyn); picked at 120º; a wildly exotic nose, less mineral or even stone — this is ROCK. A sort of balsamic apple and peach; a profound, solid, muscular wine, an Alpha-male of Rheingau Riesling; big-boned, magnetic and powerful.
The Klosterlay is back down to earth with a sedate 91º Oechsle (after the 110º of 2006) and still has its Altoid zing and taut mineral. It was subdued from bottling on this occasion but was positively intricate and tasty as a cask-sample.
The Magdalenenkreuz, Maggie for short, was 2 weeks in bottle, and I can’t give you any sort of accurate note. Again the earlier cask sample promised a rather quieter vintage than ‘05-‘06 but with the stately luminosity of this wine at its most typical.