Being established in the 1700’s, Koehler- Ruprecht has attained great international recognition by producing traditional ‘old school’-wines of outstanding quality. The estate was long managed by the iconic Bernd Philippi, but today it is the dedicated Dominik Sona alongside cellar master Franziska Schmitt that are continuing the legacy.
Before joining Koehler-Ruprecht Dominik worked with acclaimed estates as Littorai and Van Volxem, gaining valuable experience and knowledge. Already being a fan of the wines of Koehler-Ruprecht when arriving plus working beside Bernd for 30 years, learning all the traditions of the estate, Dominik has vowed not to alter any process under his era. Bernd in his turn had learnt from his grandfather whom he admired greatly – so the techniques being implemented go further back in time than 100 years, thus being more akin to the 1900’s rather the the 2000’s.
Koehler-Ruprecht cultivates 12.5 hectares of vines with top vineyards around Kallstadt. 50 % Riesling and the rest divided among Scheurebe, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Spät-, Weiss-, and Grauburgunder. Despite the less photogenic aspect of Kallstadt, if we compare with the southern neighbouring Pfalz villages, it may well deserve all the recognition due to the magnificent limestone-based site of Saumagen. Basically all vineyards in Kallstadt have a calcareous bedrock, topsoil varies though, ranging from clay, sand, gravel and loess. Koehler-Ruprecht owns 4.2 hectares on the prime location of the original Saumagen, a late ripening site, due to its altitude and cooler soils; favouring the development of complex Rieslings that 10 to 14 days of extra hang time brings. It is the Rieslings from here that have made this traditional estate so famous, alongside the sites of Steinacker and Annaberg. Steinacker, a site based on chalk and limestone where Koehler-Ruprecht owns 3.8 hectares producing fine chiselled wines. The entry-level Riesling Kallstader Riesling is sourced from the Annaberg vineyard where they farm 2.3 hectares and craft perfumed and elegant Kabinett.
The work in the vineyards is exemplary. Yields are kept to a minimum, no green harvest is practiced, no irrigation and the use of chemical fertilizers and herbicides are avoided categorically.
There is no rush at Koelher-Ruprecht, the wines take their course calmly in their cellar. Once harvested destemming is avoided. Follow does a long press, the juice is transferred to neutral large oak casks, mostly stück (1200 litre) or doppelstück (2400 litre) for fermentation, which rely entirely on ambient yeast. No attempt is made to control the temperature of fermentation. Patience is key here and fermentations are never forced, taking its time. The wines are left on the fine lees and stays here for an extensive period. Yeast nutrients, enzymes or nothing else for that fact is ever added, nor is anything ever taken away.
As a result, these are truly magnificent wines, unique in their character yet truly sublime examples of Riesling very well placed among the finest in the world. It is a mythical estate and their legendary “R” and “RR” bottlings have to be mentioned, these are selected casks that show unique quality and are kept at the estate until deemed ready to be drunk. Wines from Koehler-Ruprecht are unique. These are wines that combines concentration, relaxed power, silky textures, saline notes, mineral energy and structure. All marvellously lifted by complex aromatics which often suggest yellow fruits and floral notes.