Weingut Keller

Klaus Peter Keller in the Hipping vineyard on the Red Slope.

who? what? when? where? why? how?

who grows the grapes at Weingut Keller? who makes the wines?

“I am a wine drinker, not a wine taster.”  Klaus Peter Keller.

Klaus Peter works to make wines for drinking with his wife Julia and their family in a number of the historically great vineyards of the Rheinhessen.  In the cellar, Klaus Peter is in charge and runs a tight, non-interventionist ship.  If Riesling is the ultimate lens through which wine lovers can examine differences between specific vineyards, as is so often said, then Klaus Peter and his family are modern day Galileos (Galileii?), and their farming and wine-making present a clearer view of Riesling from specific sites than we have ever seen, to say nothing about their work with Spätburgunder.

Weingut Keller

what wines do they make at Weingut Keller?

From bone-dry Rieslings that are regularly cited as being among the very finest white wines in the world to Spätburgunder that rivals top-class Burgundy, Keller makes an astonishing number of world class offerings.  On the way up the ladder, the estate also has more “everyday”
wines of varying level of sweetness and age-ability.  We really don’t know how many different bottlings Klaus Peter makes each year as we regularly read reports from excited bloggers commenting on a new find from the estate.  Here at Candid we carry a wide selection of the Grosses Gewaches (Grand Cru Rieslings), Spätburgunders, and entry level wines as well.  
Keller's Kirchspiel offerings

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when did Weingut Keller start? when might you open a bottle?

The Keller family emigrated from Switzerland generations ago and has owned parts of the Dalsheimer Hubacker vineyard since 1789.  The family history is as deep as the family’s interest in the history of local vineyards.  Much of their current holdings come from extensive research into wine-making in the region hundreds of years ago.  This has lead them to rediscover otherwise forgotten plots like the Absterde site, from which Klaus-Peter produces world class wine.

In our world, there is a wine from Keller for every moment and every meal.  Passed appetizers on a hot day?  The Riesling Trocken, when young, is marked by a touch of effervescence and pairs with myriad foods.

A Grosses Gewaches site in the Rhienhessen
Back from the hunt with fresh grouse, or from the forest with foraged mushrooms? An aged Spätburgunder from the Burgel vineyard will support and uplift the earthy flavors. Dashing off to NOMA, or to any other exquisite restaurant in the world with a flair for seafood? Keller’s Grosses Gewaches Rieslings come in many sizes and shapes; from the bold and powerful Morstein to the softer white fruits of the Hubacker and from the juniper berry edge of the Absterde to the incomparable completeness of G-Max. And don’t leave the sweet wines for dessert alone. We learned at RIA here in Chicago that an aged Auslese can be a shockingly good pairing with certain oysters.

where is Weingut Keller?

Not far from Frankfurt, but a good few miles off the beaten path, away from the better known regions of the Nahe and the Mosel, you’ll find the Rheinhessen, a region known for the steep vineyard sites at it’s north end high above the river Rhine, and a penchant for producing plonk from large, flat vineyards elsewhere.  Enter the Keller family.  The town of Florsheim-Dalsheim has until recently been considered part of Germany’s oenological hinterlands, but the Kellers have proven that this area of rolling hills, far from the river, is in fact home to some of Germany’s greatest sites.


why is Weingut Keller a Candid Wine?  why might you want to taste a bottle?

 Why we represent Keller and why you might want to taste can be answered with a single line written by Master of Wine Jancis Robinson who mentioned Keller on her site years ago with the note:  Importers should be racing to this little known region.

We were unfamiliar with Keller at the time and the praise that Robinson lavished on Keller literally drove us to reach out.  If there is royalty in the wine world, surely Jancis Robinson has long been it’s queen.  She describes the dry Rieslings from Keller’s top vineyards as being on par with Montrachet and her team has found, in blind tastings, that Keller’s top Spätburgunders rival some of the best known Pinot Noirs from Burgundy.  That is why we wanted a taste, and that, we hope, is why you might too. 

Klaus and Felix Keller

how is the wine made Weingut Keller?

The wines are made to be balanced, or, as Klaus Peter told us during a visit, “for me a perfect wine is when you can’t wait to open a second magnum”!  Work in the vineyard, choices about when to harvest, selection of oak for the red wines, and the accompaniment of the whites through fermentation is all done with an eye towards creating wines that are truly a pleasure to drink.  So how does he do it, technically? He’d prefer not to say.

It’s not that he won’t say anything, but when asked about the wines, he will steer the conversation to the vineyards, their history, his farming choices and say “the smells I smell when I walk through the vines are the same I smell in the wines”.   We were reminded of a visit to Domaine de la Romanée Conti in Burgundy where we were told “here there are no secrets, but there is much mystery”.  This answer will disapoint wine geeks and sommelier, but please remember that people from all over the world visit Keller and try to disect and understand the wines.  For him, the wines are from and of the vineyards.  What happens in the cellar is of course deeply considered and planned, but it’s not where the mystery lies.  Please dive into the wines and enjoy the pleasure the experience of drinking them provides without worrying about the temperature at which they fermented.