TheWineRambler "A German wine label is one of the things life's too short for" - Kingsley Amis

Weingut Künstler, Hochheimer Hölle, Riesling Kabinett trocken 2008

Posted by Torsten 17 Aug 2009

I would like to recommend this wine to all Anglo-Saxon wine lovers who enjoy the uniqueness of German wine labelling and, especially, naming. You might know that trocken means 'dry' and that Kabinett indicates that this wine is to be ranked among the quality wines. However, this is just the boring part of the classification system. Much more interesting is the name of the wine - artist's hell. How do the serious Germans come to such an usual name?

Well, actually they do it by being very serious. First of all the 'artist' part. The wine was made by winemaker Künstler, which is German for 'artist'. And the grapes for this Riesling come from a vineyard near the town of Hochheim that is call Hölle - 'hell'. As you can see, this is all quite orderly and no pun is intended. Very serious and systematic German classification at work.

And now the wine: A nose of peach and citrus fruit combined with elderflower and some mineral. While there is some mineral in the mouth too, think flint stone, the Künstler is not dominated by it. Lively acid, zesty lime, apple and citrus, elderflower and vegetable notes, well balanced with a pleasant zing on the palate and a good finish.

If you find this appetising but do not want to order from Germany, Waitrose are also offering this wine in the UK:

Actually Hölle isn't supposed

Actually Hölle isn't supposed to mean hell in this case. It stems from the Middle High German word Halde which means steep hill or steep slope. But of course it'S fun to drink a hell of a good wine! ;) Greets, Alex

Now you are confusing the

Now you are confusing the English, Alex! Not only do they have to know how to read a German wine label, they also need to study Middle High German... There are quite a few vineyards called 'Hölle' in Germany - in the 'Gleisweiler Hölle', for instance, Heiner Geißler, one of the grandees of the German conservative party, is growing wine - but I still think it is much more fun to think of the name as actually meaning 'hell'. Having said that, I would not want to argue with your last statement! Cheers, Torsten