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Charta Luxembourg – the cream of independent winegrowers

In 2007, the professional organisation of independent wine-growers launched its own charter to identify its members’ very best wines. This year, 17 wines passed muster in a blind tasting by a selection of wine-growers and hand-picked guests.

One of the major challenges facing wine-growers is how to get the best out of their finest terroirs. Having achieved this, they must then promote their products. Charta Luxembourg, run solely by the organisation of independent winegrowers, was set up for this very purpose.

Its requirements are strict, covering the entire production process from the selection of terroirs to vine training and wine-making. Wines approved by the charter can only be produced from grapes grown in sloping or terraced vineyards. Wine-growers are only permitted to enrich their soil with organic fertiliser and their yield is limited to 60 hectolitres per hectare. Finally, chaptalisation (adding sugar) is prohibited. All these requirements are checked several times a year by a committee.

Each wine must then be approved by the wine-growers themselves (occasionally joined by expert guests) sitting on a committee that decides whether or not the wine deserves the prestigious label. It must satisfy at least 80% of the tasters in order to be selected. Sensory and analytical testing is performed blind with the wines’ labels hidden.

This year, the independent winegrowers’ committee included 12 wine-growers who tasted 21 wines. In the end, 17 were selected. All these wines are from the 2017 vintage, with the exception of the crémants produced from earlier harvests.

Jean Cao, consultant oenologist to the independent winegrowers, gives us his thoughts.

Crémants
Jean Cao: “For the first time this year, Charta Luxembourg accreditation has been awarded to crémants. They must be stored on slats for at least 36 months and be extra brut (editor’s note: 0 to 6g of sugar per litre). I was very pleasantly surprised by the three selected crémants, two from the Laurent & Rita Kox estate and one from the Krier-Bisenius estate – these are incredible wines! It is clear from tasting that they have been produced consistently from start to finish and that the evolution of aromas has been controlled over time. The Charta crémant from the Kox estate that is currently on the market is made with 2011 vintage wines (50% Chardonnay, 20% Auxerrois, 15% Pinot Blanc, 15% Pinot Noir). I thought it was amazing!”

Pinot Blanc
J. C.: “There is only one Charta Pinot Blanc and it is from the Keyser-Kohll estate by Kohll-Reuland. It is exceptionally good. The grape variety can be clearly distinguished and the wine is very elegant. Aromatically, it is perfect with good volume and intensity. As a whole, it is very well balanced.”

Rieslings
J. C.: “The wine-growers’ competence with this grape variety was apparent from tasting – the quality is high and very consistent. The Pundel-Hoffeld estate Riesling is balanced and mineral. Its aromas are complex and citrus. The Charta Riesling from the Frank Kayl wine estate is very elegant, fruity and held up by a superb, exceptionally refined structure. As for the Schlink wine estate, it offers a Riesling that is both mineral and fruity in character. It is perfectly balanced, very long in the mouth and even slightly spicy. The Schumacher-Lethal estate has produced a very elegant, clean and crisp Charta Riesling. It is lemony, mineral, rich and balanced. Its cellaring potential is very good. Finally, the Kohll-Leuck estate has produced a powerful Riesling with a nice attack, a rich mid-palate, and a long finish.”

Pinot Noirs
J. C.: “The three Pinot Noirs presented were excellent, offering great finesse as well as very pleasant concentration. The one produced by the Schumacher-Lethal estate explodes pleasantly in the nose, with mild aromas of leather and fine red fruits. It is very long in the mouth. The Pinot Noir produced by the Krier-Bisenius estate is elegant with spicy notes in the nose and a fruity and pleasantly tart attack in the mouth. It is also long in the mouth. The one produced by the Schlink estate is quite powerful, elegant and completely balanced. It is very complex, juggling with spicy and animal notes while maintaining a high level of finesse.”

Gewürztraminers
J. C.: “Only the Max-Lahr estate had a Gewürztraminer approved by Charta Luxembourg. It is exceptionally good – very aromatic with plenty of volume, but not heavy or cloying. It has a spiciness (white pepper) and great freshness.”

Pinot Gris
J. C.: “The Krier-Welbes estate has produced a highly typical, very frank and exceptionally clean Pinot Gris. It offers good concentration as well as fruitiness and freshness. Its aromas are subtle and well defined – it is a very fine wine. The Häremillen wine estate has produced a well-structured, round and balanced Pinot Gris with good length and high cellaring potential. The one produced by the Kohll-Leuck estate has a pleasant nose, offering fruitiness and minerality. It is fresh and long in the mouth. Finally, the Pinot Gris produced by the Schumacher-Lethal estate is held up by a fine mineral structure, pleasant acidity and good length. Its nose is fruity and it is complex and round in the mouth.”

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