Thörle Hölle Riesling Beerenauslese, Rheinhessen
Beerenauslese (or BA) means made from individual botrytis-affected berries (selected from whole bunches). The ‘Grand Cru’ level Hölle vineyard is a rising, southern slope between two hills to the west of Saulheim at 150m to 225m elevation. The vineyard heats up quickly and is protected from prevailing winds. The soil is chalky-rich with limestone, mixed with clay and loam.
The botrytised Riesling berries and bunches are picked by hand in the last days of the harvest. They are crushed and left on the honey-like juice for 40-50 hours to extract the intense flavours and concentrated sugar and acidity, then fermented over three months in a stainless steel tank.
The Hölle Beerenauslese style is packed with botrytis; honey, caramel, dried apricot and spicy notes around a core of ripe tropical and citrus fruits. Immense and concentrated, but also well balanced and with powerful acidity, the wine is very high in rich, sweet botrytis character. Cellar for 40 years or more.
The Thörle family has been making wine at Saulheim in Germany's Rheinhessen region since the 16th century. Christoph Thörle and his brother Johannes have been running the estate since 2006. The vineyards are managed organically.