Manfred and Claudia Loch bought their first half-hectare plot in the Schodener Herrenberg vineyard in 1991. Each year they try to buy another 0.2ha and another steel tank. They currently have 2.5 hectares and 8 tanks. The steep Herrenberg is an almost fan-shaped slope overlooking the Saar and the village of Schoden 3kms north of Saarburg. Yields in the area are often over 100hl/ha, but the Lochs are working between 20-35hl/ha. You can taste the difference! The Saar is known for producing wines of racy acidity, hard to taste young, tightly-wound and softening only with age.
The Loch style is something else: much riper, much fleshier than your everyday shrill Saar wine. They still have a refreshing, exhilarating acidity, but with richness, depth and a unique mouthfeel. They leave the grapes on the vines incredibly late hoping to squeeze another degree Oechsle (ripeness level) or two out of the late autumn sun.
Their plots are dotted over the vineyard. Each parcel is picked separately, placed in separate tanks and bottled separately without fining and only one very light filtration. The Lochs (and we) are fascinated by the differences – each is clearly distinct.
New this time is the Wiltinger Schlangengraben old vines trocken, from a parcel (unlike most from that vineyard) overlooking the Saar. Also we had to wrestle Manfred for a few bottles of the Ockfener Bockstein trocken – he would dearly love to get hold of more vines in Bockstein – but there are three large land-owners who hold most of it and unfortunately don’t want to sell – shame, in Manfred’s hands the wine achieves another level of spicy intensity.
Also a new label – the third in as many years…a gentle identity shift. First there was Weinhof Herrenberg, then there was equal billing for Weinhof Herrenberg and Loch, now it’s simply Loch.