When Stuart Pigott visited Gut Hermannsberg 35 years ago, then Staatliche Weinbaudomäne Niederhausen-Schloßböckelheim or Nahe State Domaine, for the first time he recorded that moment in his diary. On Thursday 26th April 1984 he noted “I’ll never forget my very first sip of Kupfergrube, I was totally amazed and fascinated.”
Since then he has devoted himself to studying Rieslings, but those from the Nahe have always had a special place in his heart. After many adventures in the world of wine, the last of which was as Contributing Editor for James Suckling, one of the world’s most influential wine critics, Pigott is returning to Germany to live out at least a part of his fascination for Riesling in the beautiful and dramatic Nahe Valley.
This decision has a great deal to do with the fact that this year Gut Hermannsberg celebrates an important anniversary. 10 years ago the estate, founded in 1902 by the Prussian State, was purchased by Jens Reidel and Christine Dinse. As a result of many carefully planned investments, and through the sensitive leadership of winemaker Karsten Peter, Gut Hermannsberg has climbed back into the first league of German wine. Stuart Pigott followed this process in detail and he showered praise upon the wines Karsten Peter made from the last vintages (see www.JamesSuckling.com), particularly those from the great Hermannsberg, Kupfergrube and Bastei vineyard sites. In fact, all the estate’s 30 hectares of vineyards are classified VDP Grosse Lage, or “Grand Cru”.
Several months ago Jens Reidel’s son Jasper joined the team directing Gut Hermannsberg. Together with Achim Kirchner(sales) and Karsten Peter (production) the three are planning the future of this estate.
2019 is a particularly important year for us, because we have now completed a decade of groundwork at Gut Hermannsberg,”explain Jens Reidel and Christine Dinse, “we converted the vineyards to sustainable cultivation, reduced the yields and successively pushed up the quality. We also constructed a new copper-coloured press house and opened a stylish guesthouse. By the summer the tasting and sales area will also have been modernized. Then everything at Gut Hermannsberg will be ready for a glamorous anniversary celebration and an even brighter future.”
Stuart Pigott will play an important role in this process. His enormous experience with Riesling wines that reflect the geology of the vineyard, and his ability to communicate their qualities outside the conventions of modern winespeak, will be no less important for Gut Hermannsberg than his critical and analytical faculties or his global network of connections.
During their anniversary year in parallel to his journalistic work Stuart Pigott will be Gut Hermannsberg’s “Riesling-Ambassador”. He will bring his skills as a wordsmith to texts describing the development of the estate and its remarkable wines during the last decade, and he will present the estate’s Riesling wines at a series of tastings for professionals in Germany and around the world.