SCHLOSS LIESER 2017 RIESLING SPATLESE NIEDERBERG HELDEN

Item #: i_333308
Bottle Size: 750ml
QOH: 2
In stock
$27.98
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WINE ADVOCATE - 93 POINTS The 2017 Niederberg Helden Riesling Spatlese is the finest and most precise of the different selections or predicates. The nose is pure and fresh, with slatey notes. The palate is lush but lean, crystalline and elegant, revealing generous but precisely defined fruit and lingering salinity. Tasted in March 2019.
Thomas Haag lost 33% of the potential yield due to the spring frost in April 2017. This led to high extract levels despite a patchy summer. The harvest started on September 25—earlier than ever before. (In 2018, however, the harvest started even one week earlier.) Haag describes the vintage as "spicy, mineral and complex, with fine and subtle fruit, vibrantly racy acidity and a lot of tension, salt and straightforwardness. The 2017s have more concentration and structure compared to 2016, whereas the 2018s will have more generous and accessible fruit," he finds. "2018 is precise and offers a charming, fruity character, but it also has a degree more alcohol than 2017. After two bottles of Riesling, you'll know the difference, though you don't feel the alcohol immediately. But you'll feel it very soon..."
Since I was only in the Mosel Valley in late winter this year, when the first 2018s were prepared to be bottled, I didn't taste the whole range of 2017, but I still tasted many impressive wines, such as all the seven Grosses Gewächs (GG) Rieslings from Piesport, Lieser and Brauneberg stream downwards to Bernkastel, Graach and Wehlen, as well as the sweet predicate wines from the same vineyards.
The quality is exceptionally high, and no wine was rated lower than 91 points. Among the dry wines, the Doctor GG (96 RP) is on top, followed by the Graacher Himmelreich and the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen (95 RP each). The 2017 Auslesen are all terrific, namely the gold-capsuled Juffer-Sonnenuhr (97 RP), which has only one rival: the glorious TBA from the Niederberg Helden (98+ RP).
The wines from Thomas Haag are all vinified in stainless steel, and the dry wines are kept on the lees until June and do not undergo the malolactic fermentation. All the GG's were bottled in July.
The five Kabinett wines all came out at 8% alcohol to serve the lighter Kabinett style, as Thomas Haag explains. However, in 2017—and most probably also in 2018—these are pretty sweet wines with about 60 grams of residual sugar. They taste sweet but also racy-piquant, and freaks will be awarded, if they remain patient.
The four Spätlesen I tasted are all made from healthy, golden-yellow berries and fermented up to 7% or 7.5% alcohol. The Goldtröpfchen and the Wehlener Sonnenuhr are my favorites in a strong quartet.
There are three "regular" Auslesen (95+/96 RP) that are based on healthy grapes free of botrytis. The gold-capsuled Auslesen (96-97 RP) are based on, respectively, 15% to 25% and 35% to 40% botrytis berries and were all selected in a singular passage. They are excitingly clear and shining and also very precise on the palate.
2017 is a terrific success for Thomas Haag, who announced some changes for 2018. Nothing dramatic, though, only some new names for well-known Spätlese trocken wines.

This Estate is one of the new stars of the Mosel that in Thomas Haag (son of Wilhelm at Fritz Haag), has one of Germany's brightest up and coming winemakers. Smoky sweet red apples lead to notes of red slate, earth and fine peaches on the palate. There's plenty of energy here and bags of punchy fruit set in an open, accessible and inviting package. A warm, open and embracing Spatlese.
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