In 2018, I sampled the Gutshof Kraatz Wilde Kerle 2016. At that point in time, this apple wine made a huge impression on me and landed in my top 10 ciders of 2018. Just a quick reminder, Wilde Kerle means Wild Buddies or Wild Things (if referring to Maurice Sendak’s book ‘Where the Wild Things Are’) in German. And, it’s entirely made from wildly grown wild apple varieties collected from three different locations.
When I visited Florian at Gutshof Kraatz last summer, Florian passed me a bottle of the 2018 vintage. It took me a while to review this drop but the right moment finally arrived. Now I’m going to share my thoughts about this apple wine with you.Company: Gutshof Kraatz
Place of Origin: Nordwestuckermark-Kraatz, Germany
Apples: made from wild apple varieties
Sweetness as per label: dry
Package type: 750ml clear glass wine bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass
Appearance: pours a deep clear amber with no head. No carbonation. Body is medium.
Aroma/Nose: the scent is strong with notes of caramel, baked apples, freshly pressed apples, apple flesh and apple skin.
Taste: it begins rather dry with low sweetness and practically no acidity. On the mid-palate, strong bitterness of seeds and lightly burnt caramel. Further down, notes of bitter chocolate but also fresh apple flesh. Finishes dry with low alcohol, lingering notes of caramel and moderate astringency.
Overall: Wilde Kerle is a great example that cider or apple wine is wine indeed and that weather conditions have a huge impact on cider that ends up in a bottle. Between the 2016 vintage and the 2018 vintage, I can see a huge difference in terms of flavours but not in terms of quality. It is still very carefully made wine of the highest quality. Taste-wise, both have a different set of flavours, the 2016 vintage was more like white wine, while the 2018 vintage resembles cider in many ways, especially due to the moreish caramel flavour and moderate to high astringency. The 2018 vintage is quite unusual as at the same time it both warms up and tastes refreshing (due to refreshing fresh apple flesh and apple skin flavours). Personally, I enjoyed every sip. And, I can’t really say which vintage is better cause they are just so different. However, as I shared a bottle of it with a friend, and, she wasn’t fond of it, I guess you need to like the bitterness (although it wasn’t just pure bitterness as it came with notes of apple seeds and bitter chocolate). I will definitely get more of this when I’m back to Frankfurt. 5.5/6
Price: Florian passed me a bottle when I visited him in the Uckermark.