2018 KELLER barrel tasting - 2018 is the year of the old vines

„2018 is the year of the old vines“

I am still deeply impressed by the „Jungweinprobe“ or barrel tasting at the estate Keller on Saturday. The Keller family presented balanced, clear and fresh wines with 12-12,5% and sometimes even 11,5%. Fair to say during summer with 40C in Berlin, I thought oh my god, this will certainly be a vintage like 2003 with a lot of alcohol and fat&flabby wines. NO, thankfully not.

The key for these fresh wines on Saturday were old vines and complete shadow of the grapes. It was a wet winter 2017/2018 and the old wines could revert on these water reserves and so the old vines could deal with these hot temperatures. Fair to say the young wines had a lot of problems in 2018. In addition the Keller family anticipate the hot summer and therefore made the decision not to cut the leaves, so the grapes had a good shadow.

Let me point out that my impressions are just a snap-shot and of course the wines are in development.

Before I start I will also say that you will find a lot of good Keller wines in 2018 for little money, like Grüner Silvaner (9€), von der Fels (GG-quality for 17-18€), limestone Kabinett (16€), all three wines offer impressive quality and drinking pleasure.


2018 Scheurebe
Fresh, racy, vivid acidity and notes of menthol.

2018 Grüner Silvaner
Such good. Good grip and push. Huge drinking pleasure and simply well-made. What a value for under 10€. I recommed it also for restaurants to serve it by glass. BUY

2018 Silvaner “Feuervogel”
Silvaner on GG level. Very distinguished with herbs, spice, acidity and 11,5%.

2018 Riesling
Fresh and crisp. Solid entry-level Riesling.

2018 von der Fels
This year for the first time (!) and exclusively from very old sites. And you will taste it!
What a vibration, spice, smokiness and fantastic structure on the palate. 2016&2017 von der Fels was already such good and offered a stunning QPR, but this year even better. Best von der Fels ever for me. BUY

2018 Nierstein Riesling (Hipping & Pettenthal)
Here we have Pettenthal GG auction l_ight_. It shows the spice and dirtiness of Pettenthal and the juiciness of Hipping. Fantastic.
Again GG level. Great great value. BUY

Very wild and challenging. You have to chew on the wine.

2018 PETTENTHAL GG auction wine
A monolith. Best Dry German Riesling, period.

Such dirty, spice, smokiness and depth. liquid cocaine
Like last year, everyone was thrilled about this wine. 100/100

After Pettenthal auction wine, the Kirchspiel had an difficult and impossible job to impress the tasters. Not such electrifying like last year. But still quite good, crisp, precise and LIMESTONE. Classic Kirchspiel.

Much better than 2017. Energetic and with a touch baroque. Good mix. In addition grip and structure. BUY

As always offers a bombastic minerality.

Simply mind-blowing. Finesse&Elegance with no end.
I am always wondering about the hype of G-Max. I am telling my friends every year, buy Abtserde. Such terrific and comes quite close to G-Max and is soo much cheaper than G-Max. Also available. Fair to say that G-Max is a touch more complex. BUY

2018 G-MAX
A sleeping giant.

Note: there will just 1 bottle of G-Max in the famous KELLER-KiSTE

2018 “limestone” Kabinett (AbtsE and Kirchspiel)
Bewitching, juicy and light leichtfüßig . BUY

2018 HIPPING Kabinett “Prince Louis”
Kabi at is best. Its floating…a dream.

2017 Bürgel GG Spätburgunder
Shows clearly more spiceness, tension than the 2016 version. Firm core, clear structure and a huge minerality. I am quite surprised, as normally Bürgel shows a basket of red fruits and is charming. Now we have clearly a more nuanced&complex Bürgel. BUY

2017 Frauenberg GG Spätburgunder
Huge focus on fruit. Sour-cherry all over. Velvety texture and great length and depth.

2017 Morstein “Felix” GG auction Spätburgunder
Best German Spätburgunder for me. What a silky elegance. Never-ending length and depth. In addition pure&precise and focused. What a beauty.

2018 Weisser Burgunder & Chardonnay
A joint-venture between father&son. KP Keller was responsible for Weissburgunder and Felix Keller for Chardonnay. The base for the Chardonnay was a little Chardonnay lot in the big site “Zellerweg am schwarzen Hergott”. Pure limestone rocks. Barrels came from Domaine Dageneau.

Good job! Not to love this wine is impossible.

2018 Weisser Burgunder “Reserve”
Wild, challenging, dense, precise…WOW. Great oak-management.

2018 Grauer Burgunder “Reserve” alte Reben (Maischegärung)
“fermented on skins for 8 days” and 55 years old vines

Oh la la…Felix Keller brings REVOLUTION to the Keller estate. This is the job of young people, isn’t ist?! haha

On the other hand, KP Keller does good eduction and give his son the space to experiment.

Finally, these two wines confirms my thesis that there are good Natural or Orange Wines when the winemaker, like Felix Keller, is gifted.
Unfortunately there are also a lot of faulty wines in this segment.

Bottom-line, very exciting wines from Felix Keller.

in vino veritas


It’s nice to see your impression and also great news that the von der Fels is once again in top shape.

How was the Weisser Burgunder Reserve and the Grau Burgunder Alte Reben? I don’t think those come to the U.S.

Did you try the Rosé?

Thanks for your notes, much appreciated.


I will post my impressions later, BUT my intentions were to write these wines are made for Robert Dentice.

Felix Keller brings REVOLUTION to the Keller estate. This is the job of young people, isn’t ist?! haha

On the other hand, KP Keller does good eduction and give his son the space to experiment.

Finally, these two wines confirms my thesis that there are good Natural or Orange Wines when the winemaker, like Felix Keller, is gifted.
Unfortunately there are also a lot of faulty wines in this segment.

Here the color of 2018 Grauer Burgunder “Reserve” alte Reben (Maischegärung)
55j. old vines, “fermented on skins for 8 days”

Gin Gin

P.S no chance to try the Rosé

WOW!!! So the Grauer Burgunder "Reserve: is skin fermented!!!

Hi Robert!

I too won’t offer a more full-scale report on personal impressions until later (apparently I have a full-time day job, or at least so they tell me…). And those impressions will be shared in a very insignificant wine publication soon coming to a place near you. :slight_smile:

But just to give a brief glimpse from the tasting, by all means just a snap-shot but a quite meaningful one nevertheless, I concur with Martin that there seems to be something really special going on in these bottles.

First of all, what impressed me the most, is the outrageously high quality in even the more entry level wines. I mean, come on… The Grüner Silvaner. What a wine… Even you poor fellow teacher colleagues around the world with similar limited funds will be able to drink & enjoy fermentd grape juice like a Royal with wines like this. Now if that was impressive, let’s not even mention the regular “Riesling Trocken”. What do you say about a wine like that? It’s just my personal and highly subjective opinion but please try to show me a Riesling Trocken anywhere in the world that’s better than this beauty. It was bouncing around on the palate way after I had swallowed the last drop - almost annoyingly long finish, since I wanted to focus on the next wine but had to wait for the minerality and crystalline clarity of the grapefruit succulence that kept lingering slowly on the palate.

The Riesling von der Fels I don’t even want to mention… Let’s NOT talk about it all, Martin. Until we have secured some bottles first…! 35 year old vines. No wonder it gives any GG out there a run for their money. It wasn’t just me - I heard several aaaahs and oooohs around the table and I can only concur.

And yes, Robert, there were some wild wines served at the table. New, fun and revolutionary projects from father & son together. So immensely pleasing to see Felix growing and evolving, gaining in experience and confidence, and some of the results from this evolution we are seeing already now. Imagine what will come of this young man once he has aquired even more knowledge and being tutored by Master KP Yoda… We will se big things coming from Felix - remember where you heard it first… :slight_smile:

The Keller Spätburgunder Rosé from Morstein vines… Oh dear… Can you imagine? This will be a wine to gobble down by the liter (allow me to dream at least…). What a fun and wonderful little new project. And how utterly delicious!

But you haven’t even mentioned the King of Felix’s wines… And I’m not even going into the sparkling project here and I won’t mention our discussions on a straight Chardonnay from a newly aquired parcel hyet to come (when THAT materialises I will ask to by ALL bottles!!!), but I’m talking about the Gelber Muscateller… Oh Boy. Now, it took me ten years to convince his father that Scheurebe needs to be a Kabinett to reach the highest quality level, so I don’t know how much time it will take to convert Felix but the Muscateller is bone dry right now but with a little Qba-level or even Kabinett residual sugar, this wine would even compete with the Scheu. And remember, that comes from ME. Those familiar with my Scheurebe history will know that this is a big and bold statement. Mark my words…this will be CULT wine. Or actually already is. Only problem…how to get it? The production is, ehhh, “limited”. Almost non-existing. And Felix is not the easiest person in the world to persuade letting go of some bottles. For those who believe I have a special access to these wines, I can tell you that I have zero bottles of these beauties.

And so many fun new things to taste, like the Weissburgunder & Chardonnay, or the Weissburgunder Reserve (!) or…the (hold on to your hats) the Grauburgunder Reserve Alte Reben. From father & son Keller. So much fun to look forward to from these two gentlemen…

Oh…and the other wines? There’s so much to say. Some of them are…rather extraordinary. Utterly special. I mean…come on. Mother of All Eternity - the GGs… The Kirchspiel Riesling GG back to past glories (because I like them a bit bigger than the lean style prefered by many others), the extraordinary Hubacker Riesling GG, ahhhh, so Noble, so Erect. So…Yummy. The Hipping Riesling GG - a wild creature I have not seen before (in this style), the Pettenthal Riesling GG…oh dear, oh dear…unfortunately a wine for the auction, meaning I will own exactly zero bottles. Bugger! The Morstein Riesling GG…oh la-la…the Riesling G-Max…well-well, how do you THINK it tasted? A complete wine. And the Abtserde Riesling GG? I plea the fitfth here and will not make any more comments on this wine. P l e a s e stay away from it. All of you.

And then there’s the Scheurebe Kabinett, have I mentioned the Scheu? I have not. I will not. For now…

It was indeed a very, very special evening.

Despite the battle scare after chasing Pinot, The Guardian of Weingut Keller, through the rose bushes.

Miran & Martin - Thank you very much for all of the detailed information. Now I can’t wait for these wines to arrive!


I forgot to mention some wines - the reds. I’ve gotta give it to him - me not being a Pinot noir fan an all - but those three Spätburgunder GG were quite something. Most fun: that all three have a very distinct indivduality. The Bürgel GG was round, luscious and velvety with red fruit aromas, the Frauenberg GG was more focused, even erect, mineralic with darker fruit berries and the Morstein GG was, well…what can you say? The darkest of them all, with more intriguing depth and complexity than its siblings. Although I must admit that the Frauenberg GG in my opinion, wasn’t far behind.

But then of course…best in show. That could only be ONE wine. Scheurebe Kabinett. What a vintage for it. Lean, focused, precise, mineralic, crystalline and aromatic. How could you possibly go wrong with a wine like this? It wasn’t the “best” wine that evening, but again - “best in show”. Meaning, the wine that gave me the greatest smile. More Scheurebe to the people!

Thanks for the update! Only one G-Max…

None of the three Schubertslay on show?

As you know Schubertslay is tiny in yield - 120year old vines do not give a lot of yield so Kellers will not show those wines in tastings. I heart a few journalists, John Gilman , Jancis and Moselfinewines ,will be able to taste. Already curious!!!

Big change there! Wonder how or if the usual case price will be impacted.

Instead you will get 3 bottles MORSTEIN

not such bad