"Hölle" is derived from the Middle High German word "Halde(a) = steep hill". This southern vineyard with a fifteen degree gradient is located east of the old town of Hochheim sloping down to the River Main. The clay marl soil is made up of the finest clay particles and ample amounts of lime; it is a mineral six-pack. Due to the subsequent layers of loose brown loess loam, the vines receive abundant water and air to thrive.
Because of the proximity to two rivers, the climate in Hochheim is rather more humid than its environs. This complicates Gunter Kunstler’s urge to move in an organic direction, though he says “Generally we are working without any herbicides since 1992 and we grow on 11 hectares organically. Here we have three blocks of about 3.5 hectares. In the future, we will move step by step to 100% organic, but this, in our warm and humid microclimate, is not easy. Finally, I have to make ends meet and to pay my employees. In order to produce dry Rieslings we have to protect against botrytis in every production step.” Cellar work is generally in line with the norms among elite producers. Musts settle by gravity and are pressed clear. He ferments with cultured yeast because it’s often still warm when grapes are being picked and to work sponti would mean a greater risk of volatile acidity. The cellar orients toward cask as opposed to steel, though each is used. Wood gives the ideal low-tech micro-oxygenation. The overriding goal is to produce wines with “heart and soul”. The wines are very pure, clean, and precise, without tasting as though they’ve been sanitized and had the character stripped out of them. They are detailed and meticulous, but also delicious and satisfying.
Character: The wines boast a mineral and racy acidity coupled with a pleasant interplay of fruitiness and spiciness. When young, they are a bit of a wallflower. They do, however, have an enormous ageing potential; as they mature, they open up and show vigor as well as a delicate mineral acidity. This is a vineyard that produces wines with enormous power and minerality, which together create a synergy of aromas on the palate.