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Dr Loosen has been in the same family for more than 200 years and its present guardian, Ernst Loosen, is one of the great characters of the wine world. He assumed ownership of the estate in 1988 and immediately realised that, with ungrafted vines averaging 70 years of age, in some of Germany's best-rated vineyards, gave him the raw materials to create stunningly intense, world-class wines. To achieve this, he dramatically reduced his crop size and stopped all chemical fertilisation, preferring only moderate use of organic fertilisers. And, most importantly, he turned to gentler cellar practices that allow the wine to develop its full potential with a minimum of handling and technological meddling.

Bernkasteler Lay, an old dialect word for “slate” is situated around the Dr. Loosen estate house, directly along the Mosel, just outside the village of Bernkastel. As the name indicates, the soil is predominantly blue slate, but it is heavier and deeper than the soil in the neighboring villages of Wehlen or Graach. This site has a gentler slope than the estate’s other vineyards. It produces richly textured, assertive wines.

Instantaneously floods the mouth with ravishingly delicious lime juice flavours, gentle but all-important acidity threaded through that fruit. Has admirable balance. Drink to 2022; 8% alc; screwcap; $37; Rating: 96 points; James Halliday

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