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Weinbau-Domane Schloss Johannisberg is an estate in the Rheingau region of Germany. It has exclusively grown Riesling grapes since 1720, and is thought to be the first estate in the world to have done so.
The Johannisberg estate has a history of viticulture that spans approximately 1200 years. The vineyards were first documented by Louis the Pious in 817AD, and a Benedictine monastery was established in 1100. Prince Abbot Konstantin von Buttlar acquired the estate in 1716, and built the grand palace on the site of the original monastery. In 1775, Schloss Johannisberg became the first to deliberately cultivate Spätlese grapes.
In 1816 the estate fell under the possession of the Emperor of Austria, and today ten percent of the grape harvest is given to the House of Habsburg (or its legal successors). The estate was ruined during World War II, but was rebuilt and restored to its former glory in 1965. Schloss Johannisberg became a designated wine appellation under German law in 1971.
Schloss Johannisberg sits on one of three quartzite hills southeast of the Taunus mountain range. The soils here are quartzite rich, which is well-suited to the Riesling that occupies the vineyards. Wines are fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, as well as large oak casks made from oak sourced from the nearby Schloss Johannisberger forest. During the aging process, the wines spend a significant time on their lees, in order to increase complexity.
The Weinbau-Domane Schloss Johannisberg cellar is referred to as the "Bibliotheca subterranea", or underground library, as it contains centuries-old wines including the oldest bottle of Schloss Johannisberger Riesling.
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The 2018 Schloss Johannisberger Riesling Kabinett Rotlack is intense, ripe and quite intense but fine and elegant on the nose. Lush and round, this is a very elegant, finessed and playful, silky and crystalline Schloss Johannisberger with beautiful sweetness and mineral character. This is a gorgeous wine, though too rich and structured for Kabinett but a serious and expressive, very elegant Rheingau Riesling. The wine was vinified with one-third in large oak vats that didn't undergo the malolactic fermentation like the other two-thirds of the assemblage. The 2018 has been bottled with 22 grams of residual sugar (AP no. 04 19).