Karthäuserhof

Region: Mosel

The historic Karthäuserhof estate is just before the confluence of the Ruwer and Mosel rivers, nestled along a side valley adjacent to the small village of Eitelsbach. While winemaking here dates back to Roman times, most consider the “official” founding of the estate as we know it to be 1335—when Balduin, the Archbishop and Elector of Trier, gave the vineyards to The Carthusians monks, calling it the “Farm of the Carthusians,” or Karthäuserhof in German.

In the early 19th century, Napoleon secularized the region, and the property saw an auctioning off in Paris. Valentin Leonardy bought the property on this auction in 1811, and miraculously, despite turbulent times over 200 years, it has remained in the same family—from Leonardy to Rautenstrauch to Tyrell, who inherited the estate in the mid-20th century. The eldest Tyrell son, Christoph, oversaw all operations of the vineyard and cellar until 2012. In that same year, the estate was turned over to Christoph Tyrell’s cousin, Albert Behler.

The wines that come from this place (although 15 years ago grouped under appellation Mosel) are unmistakably different and unique to the Ruwer valley. Ruwer is much smaller, almost like an expansive stream, and runs only 30 miles (49 kilometers) with just on the last 10 miles vineyards on hills alongside the river. The region is nothing like what you see on the hills of the Mosel riverbanks. There are forests and bushes, and the feeling is more rustic, and thus, the wines are slightly more rigorous and somewhat austere. From the 2020 vintage, producers are allowed to label their wines as Ruwer.

For a long time, Karthäuserhof was a single-vineyard Ruwer estate that made wines exclusively from the Karthäuserhofberg vineyard. The 19 hectares (47 acres) here are planted almost entirely to Riesling, partly on original rootstock. While the expositions and expressions are unique, the soils throughout the vineyard are quite similar, consisting of iron-rich, oxidized blue, and gray slate, which is unique also for the Ruwer region. Eitelsbach, the name of the surrounding village, stems from the German word “Eisen,” meaning iron.

Recently other vineyards have been strategically added to the estate in Waldrach (monopole Laurentiusberg) and Mertesdorf (Herrenberg). Today, the estate totals over 28 hectares (69 hectares) of vineyards.

In 2020, estate management also changed. Albert Behler hired Mathieu Kauffmann, 2020 Gault Millau Winemaker of the Year, who previously worked at Von Buhl, and before, the esteemed Champagne producer, Bollinger. Since he joined, the estate started enhancing the soil with natural fertilizers, and 30 percent of the vineyards turned to organic production. Kauffmann is a big devotee of biodynamic practices, and his goal is to get the entire estate certified. There is no use of pesticides or artificial sprays. In the cellar, wines are made using whole bunches, no added enzymes or yeasts, and bottled without fining. Wines age in small stainless steel tanks and 500- and 1,200-liter used oak barrels.

While the estate produces the classic Prädikat wines, they have long been ahead of the curve and are renowned for their dry Rieslings—most of their production is dry. These wines speak about Ruwer, about the forest, with a range of flavors that includes forest floor notes, pine, star anise, and dried fruit. They show a crystal-clear structure, paired by its typical minerality and a fruity acidity. They are also famously age-worthy, and few German wines have a reputation for being as long-lived as the wines of the Ruwer.

Estate Profile

Owner

Albert Behler

Wine Makers

Mathieu Kauffmann

History

Since 1335

Growing Area

Ruwer (Mosel)
Karthäuserhofberg (Monopole)
Waldrach (Monopole Laurentiusberg)
Mertesdorf (Herrenberg)
Total of 28 hectares

Bottle Production

150,000

Soils

Iron-rich, oxidized blue, and gray slate

Varietals

95% Riesling
5% Pinot Blanc

Wines

BRUNO by Karthäuserhof Riesling Dry 2019
BRUNO by Karthäuserhof Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2020
Karthäuserhof Schieferkristall Riesling Dry 2019
Karthäuserhof Eitelsbacher Alte Reben Riesling Dry 2019
Karthäuserhof Riesling Kabinett 2019
Karthäuserhof Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Auslese 2019
Karthäuserhof GG Riesling Dry 2018

Dry vs Sweet

80% Dry
20% Sweet

Eco-Friendly

Sustainable vineyard practices, working toward organic and bio certification

Trade Resources

BRUNO by Karthäuserhof Riesling Dry 2019

BRUNO by Karthäuserhof Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2020

Karthäuserhof Schieferkristall Riesling Dry 2019

Karthäuserhof Eitelsbacher Alte Reben Riesling Dry 2019

Karthäuserhof Riesling Kabinett 2019

Karthäuserhof Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Auslese 2019

Karthäuserhof GG Riesling Dry 2018