GERMANY

German wine is primarily produced in the west of Germany, along the river Rhine and its tributaries, with the oldest plantations going back to the Roman era. Approximately 60 percent of the German wine production is situated in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where 6 of the 13 regions (Anbaugebiete) are situated. Germany as the eighth largest wine-producing country in the world. White wine accounts for almost two thirds of the total production. Among enthusiasts, Germany's reputation is primarily based on wines made from the Riesling grape variety, which at its best is used for aromatic, fruity and elegant white wines that range from very crisp and dry to well-balanced, sweet and of enormous aromatic concentration.

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  1. 2NATURKINDER 2018 FLEDERMAUS WHITE NATURAL WINE, BIODYAMIC, UNFILTERED

    Item #: i_376691
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Importer: Jenny & Francois
    No temperature control.
    Organic/Biodynamic
    Total Sulphites: 7 mg/L (LOW!)
    This wine is fermented spontaneously.

    A blend of Muller-Thurgau and Silvaner, aged on the lees in stainless steel tank, unfined and unfiltered with no sulfur added. At first, the lactic note cuts through and gives the wine a citrus-laced sour, salty beer (Gose) vibe when first poured. Then, the palate fleshes out into juicy tart underripe peach, starfruit and pineapple, and evolves onwards to notes of olive brine and key lime curd.
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  2. ALFRED MERKELBACH 2017 RIESLING SPATLESE "URGLUCK" URZIGER WURTZGARTEN, A.P. #6

    Item #: i_318005
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    WINE SPECTATOR - 92 POINTS Offers aromas of quince and honey, with the quince note continuing on the palate and combining with nervy citrus accents. Very suave and smooth, showing enough acidity for balance and dense flavors that carry through the finish. Drink now through 2031. 90 cases imported. — AZ

    MOSEL FINE WINES 93 POINTS "The 2017er Urziger Wurzgarten Spatlese “Urgluck” was harvested at a whopping 96 Oechsle, i.e. well into Auslese category. It delivers a captivating and elegant nose of flowers, minty herbs and candied grapefruit. These are joined by riper scents of whipped cream and vineyard peach as the wine gains from airing in the glass. This delightful Auslese in all but name shows quite some creamy and ripe fruits on the palate yet remains at all time very delicate and refined. A touch of exotic fruits and honey make for a smooth and juicy feel in the long finish. A hint of zest comes through in the after-taste. This is a gorgeous Auslese-style wine in the making! 2027-2047."

    Terry Theise note "Probably the masterpiece of their vintage, but not an “easy” wine. Extreme sassafrass, and very stony, but a hyssop-y spice trails along a subtle vein of fruit. Mosel at its most masculine, but hugely impressive, with its serious “resting face.”"
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  3. ALFRED MERKELBACH 2018 RIESLING AUSLESE URGLUCK #11

    Item #: i_318007
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    WINE SPECTATOR - 93 POINTS Graceful, with crunchy minerality and vivid acidity paving the way for elderflower, bergamot, vanilla and poached pear flavors. Shows great balance between sweetness and acidity. This is almost ready to drink now, but should integrate more after several years in the cellar. Best from 2023 through 2038. 198 cases imported.

    NOTE: THIS WILL BE THE LAST COMMERCIAL VINTAGE FROM MERKELBACH
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  4. ALFRED MERKELBACH 2018 RIESLING SPATLESE URZIGER WURZGARTEN A.P. #7

    Item #: i_318008
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    WINE SPECTATOR - 90 POINTS This features a creamy texture, with yellow apple, candied orange and apricot flavors. Presents immediate appeal, yet the acidity denotes a promising life ahead. Slate minerality adds to the complexity. Drink now through 2030. 184 cases imported.
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  5. ALFRED MERKELBACH 2018 RIESLING URZIGER WURZGARTEN Kabinett #13

    Item #: i_318009
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Of course this is a Spätlese but it was the only Fuder one could even think of declassifying; it’s on the strawberry side of UW, and ridiculously long. Würzgarten has two profiles, which normally overlap while emphasizing one side or another. You have strawberry of various types, and you have another face of kiwi and sassafrass. And of course you have slate. These may be variations based on cadaster, as it stands to reason that steepness, altitude and soil-structure would all play roles. As a rule I’d say, if it looks rocky the wines will probably taste rocky.
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  6. DONNHOFF 2018 ESTATE RIESLING QBA FEINHERB NAHE, GERMANY

    Item #: i_328015
    Bottle Size: 750ML
    JAMES SUCKLING - 91 POINTS Green apples, pear drops and chamomile are in play here. Lightly off-dry with some softness and a fruity finish, but some pretty acidity crunch. Drink now

    “A PERFECT VINTAGE OF THE BEST WINE VALUE IN THE ENTIRE DAMN WORLD, any color, any grape, any country, any price-point. This year for the first time it also contains fruit from a new acquisition, a hectare in the (Niederhauser) Klamm (see also Jakob Schneider; the site is a mélange of Rotliegend and weathered porphyry, and has both steep and flat sections.)” - Terry Theise

    JANCIS ROBINSON - 16 POINTS The QbA bottling, described as 'fruchtig'. TA 8 g/l, RS 29 g/l. Richer and riper on the nose than the Höllenpfad Riesling trocken. Medium sweet but balanced. Creamy in the mouth thanks to the fruit ripeness but still deliciously fresh. Reasonably persistent too. JULIA HARDING, MW (JH)

    JOHN GILMAN, VIEW FROM THE CELLAR - 89 POINTS The 2018 Estate Riesling Feinherb had also been bottled at the start of the week, ahead of my Thursday afternoon visit, but it was showing quite well indeed (despite having to follow-up all of those GG fireworks). This wine comes in at 10.5 percent alcohol, has acids of 8.5 grams and sports around twenty-five grams of sugar this year. The bouquet is very pretty, offering up scents of white cherries, apple, salty minerality and spring flowers. On the palate the wine is medium-full, crisp and juicy, with very good backend mineral tug, bright acids and lovely focus and grip on the absolutely delicious finish. Another bargain! 2019-2040. 89.

    "This is from two main vineyards Oberhauser Felsenberg (volcanic) and Kieselberg (slate) as well as declassified fruit from the Grand Cru sites and Klamm, a new acquisition, a hectare in the (Niederhäuser) Klamm which we know from Jakob – it’s a mélange of slate and weathered porphyry, and has both steep and flat sections.. The idea here is to make a village wine, basically, though it’s sold and marketed as a Gutswein or Estate bottled basic wine. The Estate wine combines the two major soils that dominate the holdings for the estate, giving the drinker a look into what Donnhoff is all about. The basic wine is a calling card and thus Cornelius wants to make statement" - Importer
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  7. DONNHOFF 2018 RIESLING NIEDERHAUSER HERMANNSHOHLE SPATLESE

    Item #: i_311009
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    WINE ADVOCATE - 95 POINTS The 2018 Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Spatlese is deep and flinty as well as complex on the stony nose with its ripe and even stewed peach aromas. Silky, lush and refined on the palate, this is a concentrated yet pure, crystalline and delicate Riesling Spatlese with a long and complex, very mineral and filigreed, lingering salty finish. Highly stimulating and fresh. A gorgeous Spätlese from the famous Hermannshöhle. Tasted in July 2019.
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  8. DONNHOFF 2018 RIESLING OBERHAUSER BRUCKE SPATLESE

    Item #: i_311010
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    WINE ADVOCATE 93+ POINTS The 2018 Oberhauser Brücke Riesling Spatlese is very intense and aromatic on the dense and voluptuous nose. Lush and creamy on the palate, this is a generous and dense, lush and persistent Brucke Spatlese with remarkable freshness and piquancy. It's pretty straight and piquant, with remarkable finesse and mineral tension. Tasted in July 2019. Stephan Reinhardt.

    Before we go into Donnhoff's 2017s and 2018s, let me report about a record the estate made at the auction in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, in late September. The one and only magnum of the 2015 Hermannshöhle Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese Freitag—a wine that I scored 100 points three years ago—came under the hammer and fetched 22,491 euros (incl. fees and taxes). The one and only Dade Thieriot from Dee Vine Wines in California was the last man standing. He bought the wine not for a collector and not even for himself but for his four-year-old daughter who likes Riesling—"sweet Rieslings in particular," as Dade told me a few days later. So, huge congratulations to Marie-Katharina for what Helmut Donnhoff calls "a monument of German Riesling culture" and "possibly the finest wine we have ever produced at our estate." Four bottles of the standard size were auctioned for a total of 13,744.5 euros and 16 of the 375-milliliter bottles fetched a sum of 20,391.84 euros.

    So now, are there any other wines on the horizon to beat that one day? You never know, but I'd guess rather not. However, again there are marvelous wines to buy from Donnhoff from both vintages, 2018 and 2017.

    2017 was deeply marked by frost in April that hit the plants terribly after the early budbreak. "We are located in a narrow valley and always threatened by spring frost," says Helmut Donnhoff, who tasted both vintages with me on an extremely hot summer day in July this year (2019). "We already thought the 2017 vintage would completely fail." Torches rescued the famous Brucke vineyard where Donnhoff produces (in certain years) perhaps Germany's finest Eiswein, but other vineyards suffered a lot. "The summer was very nice and helpful for the plants, but in the end, we had losses between 25% and 50% compared to a normal year, especially in our lesser plots that we pick for our estate wine. The crus were less hit, though." Donnhoff, who celebrated his 70th birthday a day after the now famous auction, has enough experience with difficult vintages and heavy losses. "You have to work hard the whole year, but you don't gain that much in the end. The more so since you have to pay the same amount of pickers, who had to go through each parcel several times in 2017 due to an uneven ripeness. We couldn't pick everything together and had to pick very carefully," Donnhoff remembers. "However, there is a big advantage, since the remaining grapes get everything that the vine and its roots are delivering. ... There was not much botrytis, which was fine anyway: Wine lovers ask us for dry wines more than for sweet wines today. ... However, the average yield was 30% to 35% less, so we couldn't supply all our clients. Some markets even didn't get anything."

    As often in nature, a small vintage is followed by a generous one, and this was the case in 2018. "Extreme rainfalls in May and June made it very clear already early in the year that 2018 would be a vintage where we would need all our vats or even more," says Donnhoff. "Even during the very warm and dry summer especially, the old vines didn't show any hints of drought stress. Wherever we had a look, all our grapes were just marvelous, no matter in which vineyard. And the yield was even higher than we expected. The harvest weather was also beautiful, and all the grapes were in perfect condition, as if they were painted. Cornelius did great canopy management," Donnhoff senior praises his son. All in all, "2018 is a very, very good vintage. We got the same concentration and intensity like 2017, but in 2018, this is based on super clear and healthy grapes, whereas the density and structure of the 2017s was due to the heavy reduction during spring frost." However, both vintages are not characterized by botrytis and are marked by their amazing clarity, and I couldn't say which of the two fazes me more. Perhaps in 2018, the Spatlesen are a bit finer and clearer than in 2017, and without any doubt, the 2018 Hermannshohle Spatlese is the best buy this year from Cornelius and Helmut Donnhoff, whereas the 2018 Brucke Beerenauslese is the greatest wine, and the 2018 Hermannshohle GG is the finest dry Riesling—not only here but also in the entire Nahe valley. SR.
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  9. DONNHOFF RIESLING GROSSES GEWACHS GG SCHLOSSBOCKELHEIMER FELSENBERG

    Item #: i_328022
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    JAMES SUCKLING - 97 POINTS This wine is endless with apples, peaches, pears, stone, cream and white flowers. It’s so steady and long. Goes on and on. Pristine. Joyous and captivating. Drink or hold. Stuart Pigott

    WINE ADVOCATE - 93+ POINTS Bottled in July, just two days before I tasted the 2018 Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg Riesling trocken –GG– for the first time, the nose was ripe and generous but fine and flinty-mineral. Lush and salty-piquant, this is a full-bodied, rich and powerful yet vital Riesling with lots of body but also tension, purity and grip. Tasted again in August 2019.

    Before we go into Donnhoff's 2017s and 2018s, let me report about a record the estate made at the auction in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, in late September. The one and only magnum of the 2015 Hermannshohle Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese Freitag—a wine that I scored 100 points three years ago—came under the hammer and fetched 22,491 euros (incl. fees and taxes). The one and only Dade Thieriot from Dee Vine Wines in California was the last man standing. He bought the wine not for a collector and not even for himself but for his four-year-old daughter who likes Riesling—"sweet Rieslings in particular," as Dade told me a few days later. So, huge congratulations to Marie-Katharina for what Helmut Donnhoff calls "a monument of German Riesling culture" and "possibly the finest wine we have ever produced at our estate." Four bottles of the standard size were auctioned for a total of 13,744.5 euros and 16 of the 375-milliliter bottles fetched a sum of 20,391.84 euros.
    So now, are there any other wines on the horizon to beat that one day? You never know, but I'd guess rather not. However, again there are marvelous wines to buy from Donnhoff from both vintages, 2018 and 2017.
    2017 was deeply marked by frost in April that hit the plants terribly after the early budbreak. "We are located in a narrow valley and always threatened by spring frost," says Helmut Dönnhoff, who tasted both vintages with me on an extremely hot summer day in July this year (2019). "We already thought the 2017 vintage would completely fail." Torches rescued the famous Brücke vineyard where Dönnhoff produces (in certain years) perhaps Germany's finest Eiswein, but other vineyards suffered a lot. "The summer was very nice and helpful for the plants, but in the end, we had losses between 25% and 50% compared to a normal year, especially in our lesser plots that we pick for our estate wine. The crus were less hit, though." Dönnhoff, who celebrated his 70th birthday a day after the now famous auction, has enough experience with difficult vintages and heavy losses. "You have to work hard the whole year, but you don't gain that much in the end. The more so since you have to pay the same amount of pickers, who had to go through each parcel several times in 2017 due to an uneven ripeness. We couldn't pick everything together and had to pick very carefully," Donnhoff remembers. "However, there is a big advantage, since the remaining grapes get everything that the vine and its roots are delivering. ... There was not much botrytis, which was fine anyway: Wine lovers ask us for dry wines more than for sweet wines today. ... However, the average yield was 30% to 35% less, so we couldn't supply all our clients. Some markets even didn't get anything." As often in nature, a small vintage is followed by a generous one, and this was the case in 2018. "Extreme rainfalls in May and June made it very clear already early in the year that 2018 would be a vintage where we would need all our vats or even more," says Donnhoff. "Even during the very warm and dry summer especially, the old vines didn't show any hints of drought stress. Wherever we had a look, all our grapes were just marvelous, no matter in which vineyard. And the yield was even higher than we expected. The harvest weather was also beautiful, and all the grapes were in perfect condition, as if they were painted. Cornelius did great canopy management," Donnhoff senior praises his son. All in all, "2018 is a very, very good vintage. We got the same concentration and intensity like 2017, but in 2018, this is based on super clear and healthy grapes, whereas the density and structure of the 2017s was due to the heavy reduction during spring frost." However, both vintages are not characterized by botrytis and are marked by their amazing clarity, and I couldn't say which of the two fazes me more. Perhaps in 2018, the Spatlesen are a bit finer and clearer than in 2017, and without any doubt, the 2018 Hermannshohle Spätlese is the best buy this year from Cornelius and Helmut Dönnhoff, whereas the 2018 Brücke Beerenauslese is the greatest wine, and the 2018 Hermannshohle GG is the finest dry Riesling—not only here but also in the entire Nahe valley.
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  10. DR LOOSEN 2016 EISWEIN RIESLING 187ml ICEWINE

    Item #: i_311924
    Bottle Size: 187ml
    TASTING NOTES: This vibrant, racy dessert wine conjures flavors of densely packed pear, apple and guava, with an intense, nervy edge in the aroma. It is luscious, silky and juicy on the palate, with bright acidity giving it a crisp, dynamic finish.

    From the Producer:
    Eiswein ("ice wine") is another of nature's rare and wonderful gifts in our area. We hold aside certain plots of vines, hoping for a deep enough freeze(minimum 8C, or 17F) to harvest frozen grapes. These grapes are picked in the wee hours of the morning and pressed while they are still frozen, to slowly squeeze out a few drops of precious nectar, leaving the water behind as ice. The result is a vibrant, racy dessert wine that is strikingly different from the rounder, more honeyed style of the wines concentrated by botrytis.

    This estate-grown Dr. Loosen Riesling Eiswein comes from special parcels in Bernkastel and Wehlen that we hold aside every year, hoping that it will freeze before the grapes fall victim to overripeness or rot - or get eaten by the wild boars! The frozen grapes for this particular bottling came primarily from a premier cru site called Bernkasteler Matheisbildchen, which is about halfway up the steep slope behind the Dr. Loosen estate house. The higher elevation makes this a cooler site, with greater potential for Eiswein.
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  11. DR LOOSEN 2018 RIESLING BLUE SLATE KABINETT

    Item #: i_322600
    Bottle Size: 750ML
    Classic Mosel Rieslling. Loosen's generic Riesling Kabinett Blue Slate smells of mint, lime, narcissus, and ripe honeydew melon, which follow on a luscious, surprisingly softly-textured, yet refreshing palate. This is certainly delicate, yet its sweetness is impeccably-balanced.
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  12. EL IXSIR 2012 RED LEBANON

    Item #: i_342366
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    James Suckling: 92
    WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "El Ixsir (Elixir) is the top wine produced by the Ixsir winery located just outside Batroun, Lebanon. The excellent 2012 is composed of 55% Syrah, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot aged 24 months in French oak (50% new). On the nose you find aromas of blackberries, black cherries, red fruits and a hint of woody spice. On the palate silky, lush fruit flavors are balanced with good structure and a long finish. Drinking very well now if decanted, the 2012 will benefit from another year or two in the bottle. The Wine Advocate gave this 92 points praising its Cote Rotie-like style."
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  13. ENDERLE & MOLL 2018 SPATBURGUNDER PINOT NOIR ROSE NATURAL BIODYNAMIC

    Item #: i_318015
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    BIODYNAMIC. A great, rare rose of Pinot Noir, the grape must sees up to six days of skin contact, making for a wine with great texture that begs to be sipped with hearty food. Cherries and red flowers fill the nose; the palate has high-toned sour cherries, red hibiscus, and cranberries, contrasted by savory notes of black tea, and earth.
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  14. ENDERLE AND MOLL 2017 PINOT NOIR "LIASON" ORGANIC, SPATBURGUNDER, BADEN

    Item #: i_362348
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Silky and aromatic, this earthy, red-fruited Pinot Noir that could rival even the best Bourgogne Rouge bottlings. Sleek, soft, mineral-driven red fruit dominates the palate, with nuances of herb spice and soil.
    Sven Enderle and Florian Moll farm a little over five acres on the western fringe of the Black Forest. Most of their Pinot comes from two sites: one with 25-45 year-old vines planted in colored sandstone (Buntsandstein), and one other miniscule plot (0.045 ha total) from 60-year-old vines (the oldest in the region) planted in shell limestone (Muschelkalk). All work in the vineyard is done by hand, yields are low, and vineyard work is organic/biodynamic. Parcels are vinified separately, with one-third whole clusters. Grapes are crushed in an old wooden basket press and then go into second-hand Burgundy barrels (mostly from Domaine Dujac). Florian thinks it foolish to automatically equate higher ripeness levels with better quality and that doing so often leads to overripe, high-alcohol wines with lots of extract and a shortage of acidity and delicacy. These are delicious Pinots of enormous integrity, made with undeniable passion and point of view.

    Enderle & Moll has long been deemed one of the best new Pinot Noir producers in Germany. Notes of juicy red cherries, ripe raspberries, and tart orange dominate this well-balanced, insanely delicious palate.

    Organic and Biodynamic.
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  15. FALKENSTEIN 2017 RIESLING NIEDERMENNINGER HERRENBERG KABINETT TROCKEN (DRY) #19

    Item #: i_374421
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    The 2017 Niedermenniger Herrenberg Riesling Kabinett trocken is from 60- to 80-year-old vines in the "Mutter Anna" and the "Meyer-Sydney" plots. The 2017 is intense and ripe on the nose and palate and reveals pronounced, salty acidity. This is a pretty steely and almost austere dry Riesling..
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  16. HOLGER KOCH 2017 CHARDONNAY "BICKENSOHLER HERRENSTUCK"

    Item #: i_342371
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Terroir-driven Chardonnay transplanted from Puligny-Montrachet
  17. KELLER 2018 RIESLING "RR"

    Item #: i_372096
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    "RR" refers to Riesling from red soils – a half-hectare parcel within Kirchspiel that gives fruit that is a little more spicy the fruit that goes into Von der Fels. RS 11 g/l.

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  18. KRAEMER 2017 PET NAT SPARKLING WINE NATURAL PETILLANT SPARKLING

    Item #: i_324091
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Natural wine. First harvest Muller-Thurgau grown on limestone soil. Whole cluster fermentation, elevage in stainless steel. No sulfur added … “liquid vitamins, squeaky clean.”  
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  19. LIESL 2016 SPATBURGUNDER PINOT NOIR

    Item #: i_375498
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Liesl's red is 100% hand-harvested Pinot Noir from small estate-owned plots, macerated in stainless steel and matured briefly in neutral oak, hand-harvested from small plots with a maximum production capacity of 1,200 9L cases. The wine undergoes a cooler maceration in stainless steel tanks using the pump-over technique for maximum extraction. The wine is then transferred to large oak barrels which help “flesh out” the Pinot Noir without imparting too much “oaky” character to the wine. Liesl then spends several months in bottle before leaving the winery. Aromas of black cherry and dark fruits are accented by cranberry and savory notes. Allspice, cinnamon and clove come through on the mid-palate with the sweet yet savory flavors continuing. A nice acidity frames the wine, with a touch of oak spices and the red and dark fruit aromas and flavors carrying through on the finish.
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  20. MERKELBACH 2018 RIESLING SPATLESE #2 KINHEIMER ROSENBERG

    Item #: i_318013
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    WINE SPECTATOR - 92 POINTS Silky and vibrant, with prominent mineral details and lively, well-integrated acidity. Firmly structured, but shows plenty of apple and lime flavors, while light creamy notes linger in the background. Not overly sweet and very harmonious, but should show even more in a few years. Best from 2021 through 2034. 124 cases imported.
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  21. MONCHHOF 2018 RIESLING AUSLESE ERDENER PRALAT

    Item #: i_320485
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    was $39.98 Special Price $29.95
  22. PETER LAUER 1991 RIESLING SEKT BRUT SPARKLING 750M

    Item #: i_304584
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    WINE ADVOCATE - 91 + POINTS The intense yellow non-vintaged Réserve 91 is from the 1991 vintage and was disgorged after 22 years on its lees in December 2014. With lime, honey and cheesy flavors on the still-closed nose, this Sekt develops a lovely complexity on the palate, revealing a matured Riesling character with dried fruit and honey favors. I would decant it and drink it from a Bordeaux glass to get all its talents.

    In the world of German sparkling wine, Peter Lauer’s Sekt Reserves are by far the greatest expressions of sparkling Riesling that we’ve tasted. They display an amazing tension between youthful acidic cut and the nuanced complexity that age brings.

    The 1991 may very well be the most finessed and captivating release to date. There are deep, haunting notes – tobacco, caramel, spice – along with green herbs brightened by citrus and an almost saline minerality. There’s a razor-sharp drive that beatifully offsets the rich and warm mature notes.

    When you consider the perfect provenance, the value that this bottle delivers is really impressive. It’s similar to what you’ll pay for many non-vintage Champagnes. Viewed through this lens, the popularity of our Lauer Sekt Reserve offers is not surprising.
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  23. PETER LAUER 2016 RIESLING SEKT BRUT SPARKLING

    Item #: i_362384
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Disgorged February 2019.
    The first Sekt at this estate was produced in the mid-twentieth century by Florian's grandfather, Peter Lauer Senior (yes, the same gentleman for whom Fass 6 is named). Generally 80% of the fruit comes from the Ayler Kupp and 20% from the Ayler Scheidterberg. It avoids the common pitfalls of Sekt in that it is neither painfully austere nor overtly sweet. It's intensely mineral and beautifully balanced with just 10 grams of residual sugar. As you can probably predict, the wine is by no means sweet, nor is it lacking in creamy, textured fruit. Most importantly, the gray slate terroir of Ayl sings through and the wine tastes unmistakably like Lauer, which to Florian's growing legion of fans should be the ultimate compliment.
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  24. PETER LAUER 2018 RIESLING AYLER KUPP STIRN FEINHERB FASS #15

    Item #: i_362375
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    JOHN GILMAN - VIEW FROM THE CELLAR - 93-94 POINTS 2018 Stirn Riesling “Fass 15”- Weingut Peter Lauer The Stirn parcel in the Kupp vineyard lies at the very summit of that grand cru vineyard and is very stony and windy. The 2018 version was still in cask, but was showing excellent potential. The bouquet offers up a mix of lemon, tart orange, smoky overtones, salty minerality, dried flowers and orange zest. On the palate the wine is medium-full, pure and nicely filigreed, with really lovely fruit tones, bright acids and plenty of mineral tug on the long and complex finish. This is going to be very, very good. 2023-2060. 93-94

    WINE ADVOCATE - 92+ POINTS From 60-year-old vines on a very poor and windy terroir on top of the original Kupp, the 2018 Ayler Kupp Stirn Fass 15 is intense and concentrated yet flinty-mineral and citric on the very pure and slate-driven nose. The palate, however, is lush and intense, salty and citric on the slightly austere, very mineral and crunchy finish. The 2018 Stirn has stunning acidity and should be cellared for a couple of years. Tasted from AP #15/19 in June 2019. Stephan Reinhardt.

    Except for having problems with a speedy fermentation, Florian Lauer is pleasantly surprised with the 2018 vintage. "Plenty of grapes but a lot of crap," he thought initially. "But then everything developed so well. I have never been taken in by a vintage such as 2018, which in fact is a seriously good vintage."

    Lauer was concerned about the drought in the vineyards, which was visible, especially in the plots with younger vines, where the leaves were already colored yellow in summer. "We didn't pick the youngest vines, and we often reduced the yield dramatically to rescue suffering plants. Although I always wonder if this is meaningful, it paid off, at least we had new shoots this year..."

    The harvest didn't start earlier than September 15 since Lauer wanted to avoid any greenish flavors in his wines. In the cellar, everything went perfectly well. The dry wines, though, had problems to ferment speedily to more than just 10% alcohol. "We don't know the reasons yet, but possibly the musts were too clear, too healthy last year. At least we had less trub than usual and, thus, less nutrients for the yeasts to do their job, who knows?"

    Regarding the style of the 2018s, Lauer said it was "difficult to harvest proper Kabinett wines" since the must weights were "virtually always" at least at 90° to 92° Oechsle." In the rows trained in the Lyra system, the must weights were already at a spectacular 100° Oechsle in early September. However, Lauer managed to produce two Kabinett wines, three Spätlesen plus four Spätlesen for the auction, five Auslesen and, thanks to good botrytis, possibly one Beerenauslese and no less than five Trockenbeerenauslesen, which were still in the making in early summer this year when I visited the domain. "We have a lot of sweet wines this year because the alarm bells rang when we measured 100° Oechsle that early. We quickly recruited our harvest team and started picking step by step. Due to this situation, I decided to fraction the pressing according to the sought wine style. Sweet wines such as Spätlese and higher predicates were exclusively made from the free-run must from golden, slightly over-matured grapes. Those musts had a weight of 107° Oechsle—far too much for dry Riesling. Kabinett and off-dry Rieslings were made from the middle part of the pressing with which we yielded only 60% to 65% of the potential juice. The last fraction of the pressing, with must weights around 93° to 95° Oechsle, was used for the dry wines." This results in remarkably delicate sweet and off-dry wines without phenol structure. Since the pressing did not exceed 0.7 bar, the pH levels remained low, and the wines taste wonderfully fresh even though they have body and concentration.

    Lauer's 2018 portfolio is of outstanding quality and already includes many highlights today before the collection has been completed with the highest predicates. However, Lauer fans will detect two 2018 Auslesen that haven't been produced before—Petit Ayl and Grand Ayl. Both wines are based on overripe and/or botrytis grapes that were picked at about 102° to 103° Oechsle and have been made only in that very special year and won't be produced again.

    Lauer tried to compare 2018 with other vintages but didn't find a suitable one. "The grapes looked as ripe and healthy as in 2011, and they were as excellent in quality but tasted very different, also different compared to 2003. The 1976 were similar too but far ore mild than the 2018s..."

    JOHN GILMAN, VIEW FROM THE CELLAR - 93-94 POINTS The Stirn parcel in the Kupp vineyard lies at the very summit of that grand cru vineyard and is very stony and windy. The 2018 version was still in cask, but was showing excellent potential. The bouquet offers up a mix of lemon, tart orange, smoky overtones, salty minerality, dried flowers and orange zest. On the palate the wine is medium-full, pure and nicely filigreed, with really lovely fruit tones, bright acids and plenty of mineral tug on the long and complex finish. This is going to be very, very good. 2023-2060. 93-94.
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