Founded in 1756, the J.L. Wolf estate was a very successful and highly regarded winery for more than two centuries. It entered an especially glamorous era with the construction of its Italianate estate house and villa in 1843. In the latter years of the 20th century, however, the estate languished, lacking a firm hand to guide its wine production. Ernst Loosen, of the Dr. Loosen estate, took over the vineyards in 1996, launching a dramatic turnaround in the estate’s quality and reputation.
Ernst Loosen’s goal at J.L. Wolf is to make powerful, traditionally crafted Pfalz wines to complement his lighter Dr. Loosen wines from the Mosel. Made in the classic style of the Pfalz, J.L. Wolf Rieslings are drier and more full-bodied than Mosel Rieslings, with higher alcohol and ripe flavors of fruit and stone. In addition to Riesling, the Pfalz region has a long tradition with other grape varieties, allowing Ernst to expand his winemaking palette to include Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer and Silvaner.
The Pfalz lies between the Haardt Mountains and the Rhine River, directly north of France’s Alsace region. As in Alsace, the mountains protect the area from cold, wet, Atlantic weather, making it one of the warmer and drier areas of Germany. This climate makes it possible to achieve full ripeness in every vintage — the key to making wines with rich concentration, fine balance and deep character.
At both the Dr. Loosen and J.L. Wolf estates, Ernst strives to make authentic wines that combine the great stylistic traditions of the region with today’s better understanding of sustainable viticulture and minimalist cellar practices. The result is pure, flavorful wines that clearly convey the regional culture, the true character of each grape variety, and the distinctive terroir of each vineyard site.