Konz could be seen as a quaint, sleepy valley village in the Saar, surrounded by rolling vineyard hills, pastures and small houses with one modest church steeple–though it is anything but old-fashioned when Max von Kunow is around. Since assuming the estate in 2010, Max has nearly doubled von Hövel’s vineyard holdings, converted the estate to organic practices (including an intensive compost program) and he is in the process of transforming not only the viticulture, but also the style of the wines. Max’s father, Eberhard, preferred swift pressing of the grapes; Max is now working with some skin maceration, especially for the drier range, and a slower, gentler crush for the fruity range. In fact, a dry range really did not exist at this estate until Max arrived because his father did not prefer them. The wines destined to be fruity are less opulent than in vintages past; they are more crystalline and crunchy. In keeping with the organics practiced in the vineyards and the longer hang time prior to harvest, Max encourages indigenous yeast fermentations for all of his wines.
That’s a lot of change for such an iconic Saar estate in a short period of time, but Max is like a Tasmanian devil, wanting everything to evolve as quickly as possible. He seems up to the challenge! “Saar wines could be the best riesling on planet earth,” Max will tell you directly without any hint of irony or sarcasm.
This is mostly from the Oberemmeler Rosenberg, which is a particularly good site for dry riesling; it is a site with good drainage and is ideal for this style. Max also holds the best parcel in Rosenberg known as the Rosenkamm and the grapes from here make up this dry riesling. It is fermented with native yeasts and aged for 8 months in stainless steel.