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.
This vineyard is so steep that, long ago, stone steps were built into the hillside to help workers reach the vines. The iron-infused, red slate soil produces wines that are muscular and complex, with an intense mineral finish. "Enormous herbal depth with a touch of anise. The palate is really concentrated and refined with a mineral finish that takes off into orbit and refuses to return to earth. Drink or hold. Rating: 95 Points; Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling .com
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