Region: Mosel, Germany
Color/Style: White Wine
All the Ludes wines are time machines to a cooler world. This is a fun introduction from Mosel Fine Wines: “Julian Ludes completely nailed the vintage and the estate’s collection will go down in history as one of the finest at this traditional winery. The uncompromising style embracing acidity and finesse delivered wines of great vibrancy and cut yet with great aromatic depth, and this right from the entry level wine, the Riesling “Hermann.” In many ways, they are all cut from a hypothetical blend of Joh. Joh. Prüm’s early backwardness and Hofgut Falkenstein”s zing while embracing the delicacy and finesse from both estates. While these wines are exceptionally good, they are also exceptionally old-school and still often firmly marked by residual scents from their spontaneous fermentation. But we cannot wait to taste these beauties in 8-12 years: It is going to be a feast! Bravo to young Julian and his team for this incredible collection.”
The “Hermann” – named after both the founder as well as his first-born son, the current proprietor along with his nephew Julian – is the “basic” wine. Interestingly, the family has some flatland vineyards (previously these fields were where the animals grazed, back in the times of poly-agriculture) some of which have slightly more interesting gravelly soils. In good years, the estate may use 10-15% of the top parcels of the flat vineyards to fill out the Hermann; otherwise it is all steep-slope vineyards from Thörnich, of course, but also from Klüsserath – they own half a hectare in the Klüsserath Bruderschaft.
In most vintages the wines is fermented to just off-dry (in 2021 it has about 26 grams residual sugar per liter with 10.8g of acid) and flaunts a precocious balance, a magical, just barely perceptible off-dry-ness that reminds me of the Weiser-Künstler Feinherb, yet the Ludes is not quite as cut or lifted. This is a curvier, also lighter and more ephemeral-feeling wine – as if you don’t really even have to drink it, as if it will just saturate and then evaporate, leaving a pleasing sorta wine-tingle. If the wine can feel perhaps monochromatic, it’s monochromatic in the way that Brice Marden’s early paintings were monochromatic – which is to say, layered, complex, richly textural… just sort of so-integrated that picking out the single layers is impossible. The wine smells of the perfume of fermentation, pears, quince, spice, flowers and rocks with a rustic spritzy energy. Just essential deliciousness.