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The mature Riesling specialists

by Bettina Bäck

No white wine has greater ageing potential than Riesling, according to the experts. Gut Hermannsberg confirms this theory in an impressive way. The vineyards of the VDP estate in Germany’s Nahe have Riesling vines that are up to 80 years old – the basis of their exceptional, world-class wines. The "time" factor also plays a key role in the cellar at Gut Hermannsberg. To this end, they have developed its own Riesling maturation pyramid and only release their best-known single vineyard wines, Kupfergrube and Hermannsberg, after five years of ageing.  

Since the first vintage in 1907, bottles from almost all vintages have been stored in Gut Hermannsberg's treasure trove. Very occasionally, one of the valuable bottles is taken out of the cellar for study purposes. The team recently opened a bottle from the 1914 vintage and Managing Director Jasper Reidel reported enthusiastically: 

Jasper Reidl, Geschäftsführer auf Gut Hermannsberg

"The dry Riesling still delivered freshness and precision with an intensity that exceeded all expectations. It was simply impressive." 

Jasper Reidel, CEO of Gut Hermannsberg

For Riesling to still shine after more than 100 years in the bottle, there is one prerequisite: the right "location". Gut Hermannsberg and its vineyards provide this essential foundation of mineral soils. Grape variety and vineyards are also granted a special luxury here…time! 

Karsten Peter, Winzer auf Gut Hermannsberg

"More than any other white wine variety, Rieslings, which are grown on exceptionally barren soils and have great potential, need a lot of time to develop their character." 

Karsten Peter, Winemaker at Gut Hermannsberg

Karsten Peter's efforts have been rewarded, with international wine critics and experts consistently awarding top marks to the Rieslings from Gut Hermannsberg. Recently, the Riesling Schlossböckelheimer Kupfergrube Grosses Gewächs Reserve from the 2018 vintage was honoured with the "Fritz Knorr Trophy – five years later" by the prestigious Vinum magazine, for being the best Riesling after five years of ageing. 

Committed to potential 

Gut Hermannsberg, founded in 1902 as a Royal Prussian winegrowing domain and owned by the state for almost 100 years, has had an eventful and, at times, turbulent history. In 2009, Jens Reidel acquired the former state domain and all its vineyards on the Nahe. Gut Hermannsberg was (re)born. The goal was clear: to restore Gut Hermannsberg to its former glory and bring it back to the top of the German Riesling wine estates, where it had been for so many years. The winery had the perfect conditions for this as it was established at the turn of the 20th century to serve in 1902 as a model state estate for Riesling.   

Today, the renovated winery is a jewel in the Nahe Valley. Its collection of 30 hectares of vineyards consists exclusively of certified ‘VDP.GROSSE LAGE®’, the equivalent of Grand Cru and the highest VDP vineyard classification. Four-fifths of those vineyards surround the winery and its beautiful guest house. 

Year after year, winemaker Karsten Peter and the rest of the Gut Hermannsberg team continue to uncompromisingly raise quality standards in the seven unique VDP.GROSSE LAGE® vineyards, and meticulously develop their potential by hand. The Riesling personalities of Gut Hermannsberg are characterised by unique brilliance and exceptional minerality, which begin to reveal themselves after a few years in the bottle. In a consistent quest for quality, it is logical for the estate to store the wines themselves. After all, who better to decide when a wine begins to show its drinking potential than the winemaker himself? 

Achim Kirchner, Geschäftsführer auf Gut Hermannsberg

"Nowadays, few retailers, restaurateurs and consumers have the appropriate storage facilities to give the wines the time they need. If we want them to develop their full potential, we have to keep these wines at the estate until we consider them ready to drink." 

Achim Kirchner, Managing Director of Gut Hermannsberg

This decision, combined with Gut Hermannsberg’s different sites and vine ages, results in an impressive Riesling maturity pyramid, one which is solely dedicated to the expressiveness of the wines:



Released after 


Einzellage GG 

5 Years


Einzellage GG 

5 Years 


Einzellage GG 

2 Years 


Einzellage GG 

12 Months 


Einzellage GG 

12 Months 


Einzellage GG 

12 Months 

Klamm in der Rossel 

Einzellage GG 

12 Months 

sieben VDP.GROSSE LAGE® von Gut Hermannsberg
©Gut Hermannsberg


Gently nestled in the breathtaking landscape, the Kupfergrube site rises almost majestically above the surrounding vineyards. It took thousands of hours of labour at the beginning of the 20th century to turn a former copper mine into a flourishing vineyard. Since the first vintage in 1910, opinions have been divided on the overwhelming smoky, mineral character of the Kupfergrube, which is almost electrifying for some wine lovers. Its complexity always requires a period of maturation to achieve balance. Matured Grosse Gewächse from the Kupfergrube are true Riesling monuments and have unrivalled ageing potential. The Rieslings from the Kupfergrube display intense grapefruit flavours as well as herbal, spicy and smoky aromas. Gut Hermannsberg owns a full twelve hectares, or 80%, of this legendary top location.  

  • Size: 15.39 ha

  • Hermannsberg estate share: 12 ha 

  • Soil: volcanic melaphyre (andesite)

  • Altitude: 120-250m above sea level

  • Exposure: south

  • Slope gradient: up to 70%

  • Vine age: 25-80 years

  • Stone content: 48%

  • First vintage: 1910


Just 200 metres from the VDP.GROSSE LAGE® Kupfergrube, a completely different world reveals itself: the southern Niederhäuser Hermannsberg site presents sun-drenched soils shaped by the Ice Age. Hermannsberg is the only site with clay-slate soil. It is the source of the fine minerality of Hermannsberg wines. A layer of loess (fine wind-blown earth) covers the slate at different depths and gives the wines their suppleness. Grapes thrive here, maturing into particularly distinctive wines with complex flavours. The Hermannsberg does not shine with superficial charms, but rather possesses a fine subtlety and exciting power. It then develops its great depth and an almost Burgundian calm as it matures in the wine cellar.  

  • Size: 5.28 ha

  • Hermannsberg estate share: 5.28 ha 

  • Soil: Clay slate with loess layer

  • Altitude: 150-180m above sea level

  • Exposure: south

  • Slope gradient: up to 40%

  • Vine age: 25-80 years

  • Stone content: 32%

  • First vintage: 1907 


The Bastei is one of the smallest and most spectacular VDP.GROSSE LAGE® vineyards in Germany. The vines thrive beneath the highest rock face north of the Alps at 200 metres and are deeply rooted in the rhyolite scree, always surrounded by a refreshing breeze. The red rock towers above and protects the vineyard, storing heat during the day and cooling it down considerably at night. The extremely barren soil consists of stones that have been broken out of the rock over thousands of years and have accumulated at the foot of this giant. This soil and the average annual rainfall of just 500 mm have almost turned the Riesling vines here into bonsai. Despite its tendency towards opulence – ripe apricot and mango notes are typical – this Riesling always finishes cool on the palate with a distinctive mineral tingle. 

  • Size: 2 ha

  • Hermannsberg estate share: 1 ha 

  • Soil: rhyolite

  • Altitude: 120-140m above sea level

  • Exposure: south

  • Slope gradient: up to 40%

  • Vine age: 50 years

  • Stone content: 72%

  • First vintage: 1941  

In der Rossel 

September 2024 will mark the launch of the first Grosses Gewächs from Gut Hermannsberg's 7th VDP.GROSSE LAGE®. Classified as a GG site from the very beginning, the vineyard has been given the time it needed to develop and realise its potential since it was taken over in 2009. ‘In der Rossel’ is fascinating as it is one of the steepest sites in the middle Nahe, with slopes of up to 80 percent. Some of them are cross-terraced, with walls and very stony, porous soils. Just above is an old quarry. The south and south-east facing site warms up quickly during the day and then cools down noticeably at night. Riesling loves this contrast. The soil is characterised by a particular complexity and has elements that are not normally found together. This is due to very active volcanic earth movements which create a mix of carbon slate and volcanic porphyry in one place. This provides exceptional conditions for an extraordinary, multi-layered, elegant and mineral Riesling. 

  • Size: 0.85 ha

  • Hermannsberg estate share: 0.85 ha 

  • Soil: Volcanic rhyolite, carbon slate, Lemberg porphyry rock

  • Altitude: 140-180m above sea level

  • Exposure: south - south-east

  • Slope gradient: up to 80%

  • Vine age: 25-50 years

  • Stone content: 66%

  • First vintage: 1957 


Nestled between the Nahe river and angular rock formations, the Felsenberg is exactly how wine lovers around the world imagine German steep-slope vineyards. In most sections, the Nahe valley is relatively wide, but here the river winds through a narrow valley flanked by steep, jagged rocks. This gives Felsenberg its characteristic as a veritable "Riesling greenhouse". Although the wines share the smoky, mineral character of those from the nearby Kupfergrube, Felsenberg wines are juicier in their youth, often with a hint of tropical fruit flavours. 

  • Size: 9.59 ha

  • Share of Hermannsberg estate: 1 ha 

  • Soil: Melaphyre and volcanic porphyry

  • Altitude: 130-200m above sea level

  • Exposure: south - south-west

  • Slope gradient: up to 60%

  • Vine age: 45 years

  • Stone content: 41%

  • First vintage: 1917 


It towers above the renowned Hermannsberg and next to the legendary Kupfergrube, but the Steinberg VDP.GROSSE LAGE® is not a fusion of these contrasting peaks in the vineyard portfolio. The same says it all, given that ‘steinberg’ means ‘stony mountain’ in English. Vines over 40 years old grow on the stone-rich volcanic porphyry soils, covered by a sparse layer of loess. A key detail for this location is the colour of the Lemberg porphyry rock, which is light in colour here – a complete contrast to the Kupfergrube, with its darker soil, just a few hundred metres away. The light colour of the Steinberg soil means that it remains cool. This results in wines with a firm and extremely mineral flavour. A wine for terroir lovers. It is also one of Gut Hermannsberg's most storable wines. 

  • Size: 5.43 ha

  • Hermannsberg estate share: 5 ha 

  • Soil: Lemberg porphyrite rock 

  • Altitude: 165-210m above sea level

  • Exposure: south

  • Slope gradient: up to 60%

  • Vine age: 25-55 years

  • Stone content: 74%

  • First vintage: 1916 


VDP.GROSSE LAGE® Rotenberg, part of the Alsenztal side valley of the Nahe, is the most distant, steepest and highest vineyard of Gut Hermannsberg. Its south-facing slopes overlook the village of Altenbamberg with the picturesque Altenbaumburg castle on the opposite side of the valley. The slopes here are even steeper and higher than in the Nahe. The soils, formed during the Rotliegend era some 280 million years ago, are interspersed with rhyolite, formerly known as quartz porphyry. This unique mineral composition gives the wines of the Rotenberg their special character. A gentle breeze caresses the cooler heights, contributing to their unique character and ensuring a continuous, slow and long growing season for the grapes – terroir conditions that are becoming increasingly rare and valuable. The soil gives the dry Riesling GGs a smoked character interwoven with fine stone fruit and citrus flavours. 

  • Size: 5.64 ha

  • Hermannsberg estate share: 4.5 ha 

  • Soil: Volcanic rhyolite, weathered clay slate

  • Altitude: 250-350m above sea level

  • Exposure: south

  • Slope gradient: up to 75%

  • Vine age: 25-65 years

  • Stone content: 58%

  • First vintage: 1958 

About Gut Hermannsberg

The original “Royal Prussian Winegrowing Domaine” was founded in 1902 as a state-run model winery for Riesling. It is notable for its picturesque location above the Nahe River (90 minutes southwest of Frankfurt am Main). Every one of the storied estate’s 30 hectares of vineyard has been classified by the VDP as a GROSSE.LAGE.

Gut Hermannsberg
Vormals Königlich-Preussische Weinbaudomäne
55585 Niederhausen

Gut Hermannsberg

Gut Hermannsberg Winzer
Bettina Bäck von Wine+Partners
Bettina Bäck
Senior Project Manager

Bettina has been with Wine+Partners since 2002, with countless projects domestic and international under her belt. She currently manages sommelier world champion Marc Almert, the culinary think tank Koch.Campus, the Styrian wineries Weingut Muster.Gamlitz, Weingut Langmann and the STK wineries, the culinary concept store Kärntnerei and the Kozlović wine estate in Istria.