Klaus Peter and Julia Keller have just revealed that in 2018 they will be making their first foray into the Mosel to tend the vines in a tiny, punishingly steep 0.7-ha parcel in the Grosse Lage, or grand cru, of Schubertslay, just west of Piesport. Robert Dieth's short video below shows the Kellers and their collaborators Nadine and Julian Haart in this stunning vineyard.
Known for their brilliant range of Rieslings and Spätburgunders from the once-unfashionable Rheinhessen, not to mention some excellent Silvaner and Rieslaner, they will be returning to what they say is their 'second home (together with Burgundy)' since Klaus Peter's mother is from the Mosel and he spent a lot of time there when he was a child.
Keller continues: 'when we were offered this 120-year-old, ungrafted, 80% steep Riesling parcel, it was a decision of the heart to say immediately: Yes – we will!
'It's not only the vineyard that's tiny – so too are the yields in this pictureque piece of land: only 7–13 hl/ha have been harvested on average over the last seven years.
'We will be supported in the vineyard work by our son Felix and our good friends Nadine and Julian Haart from Piesport.' (Haart, pictured above with Klaus Peter on his right by Robert Dieth, was once one of the Kellers' apprentices.)
'This all reads a bit like an announcement of marriage – and I can tell you it really feels like it as well. We cannot wait to have the first Fuder of our new Schubertslay baby fermenting in our cellars.'
I visited the vineyard with Klaus Peter and with Julian Haart on a snowy January day a few years ago (pictured below), and it was incredibly difficult to walk in the vineyard, so I can only imagine how hard it must be to work this glorious but physically (and financially) challenging jewel in the Mosel crown. But the Kellers always go to the limit when it comes to choosing quality over an easy life. The problem will be getting one's hands on a bottle of what promises to be a glorious liquid.
One early comment from a Chinese wine merchant associate was, 'I can not sleep ... it's like Coche Dury is hand tuning the Musigny Blanc.'
Jancis adds To celebrate and calibrate this exciting news, I was moved to open a bottle of Julian Haart's Schubertslay Kabinett, 2012 vintage, which is the only one in my cellar. You can read my 2017 note, and also the one I wrote when I tasted it chez Howard Ripley in June 2013.