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.
- Item #: i_372051Bottle Size: 750mlProduced from 38+ year old vines in the historical Premier Cru vineyard of Neuberg. Red slate soil is unique to Uerzig and the 60%gradient slope makes for a very difficult time in the vineyard. The wine is aged a minimum of 18 months after bottling before release andis off dry.
This bottling exhibits what i like to call "hidden sweetness" namely an effacious level of residual that barely if at all reaches the threshold of perceived sweetness. Bright lime and fresh strawberry supply a Wuerzgarten typical nose and palate. Polish and buoyancy go delightfully hand in hand. The sustained finish is vivacious, a consummately refreshing, mouthwateringly saline, invigoratingly accented with apple and strawberry seeds and transparent to subtly smoky, stony nuances. David Schildknecht, Vinous
- Item #: i_306867Bottle Size: 750mlNatural. One of Enderle and Moll’s rarest and smallest production wines, from old Müller-Thurgau vines grown solely on colored sandstone. 2-3 week maceration and fermentation, then pressed and moved to used barrique where it stays on the gross lees for 10 months. Then a very light filtration and a tiny addition of sulfur. The most aromatic of their white wines.”
Importer notes: “ In Germany many insiders consider Enderle & Moll the country’s single greatest producer of Pinot Noir. That’s a wild claim to be sure, but then you taste the wines and you think to yourself, “…yeah, alright, well maybe…” The wines are that compelling. What you can say with certainty is Sven Enderle and Florian Moll fly in the face of just about every conventional estate in Baden. It’s hard to emphasize how contrarian (and even confrontational) their vineyard and cellar work appears to the powerful coops of the region, to say nothing of the “famous” estates who still seem to pursue efficiency, ripeness, size, alcohol and, yes, new oak, with abandon. Sven and Florian work with very old vines. In fact their vines are among the oldest Pinot Noir vines in Baden. They farm all the vineyards organically and biodynamically. Absolutely everything is done by hand in the vineyards (which are quite steep) and in the cellar. They have a direct line on barrels from this little Burgundy estate called Domaine Dujac – the barrels range from one to over five years of age. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.”
- Item #: i_304784Bottle Size: 750MLWINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS Late harvested at the end of October, the 2013 Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling Spatlese was picked with a very small part of botrytis, which was obligatory in this vintage. Nutty flavors emerge on the ripe and quite complex, though somewhat reductive, nose that currently lacks the purity and clarity of Adam's Spatlesen. Haart's Goldtropfchen is noble, rich, sweet, very juicy, creamy and elegant on the palate, well structured, but needs some years of bottle age. Johannes Haart is the winemaker at Reinhold Haart since 2011, and he experiments more with Riesling trocken than his father did. Since 2011, the Grosses Gewächs Rieslings from the Piesport Goldtröpfchen (where Haart holds 4.5 hectares) and the Wintrich Ohligsberg were completely fermented in fuders (at higher temperatures than in former times) and kept on the lees until August, before the wines were bottled the same month. Johannes keeps his trocken wines rather lean by processing fully ripe and healthy grapes without botrytis. He also forgoes maceration or, depending on the vintage, he keeps the must on the skins for just a few hours. In 2013, both Grosses Gewächs wines are bottled with 12.5% alcohol and residual sugar levels of 9.5 grams per liter, so they are on the (legal) border of trocken. However, these are firmly structured wines that carry their full bodies easily over the palate and into a complex finish, whereas in former times the stainless steel-fermented wines were kept much shorter on the lees and tended to taste more alcoholic, although they were bottled with 12% alcohol or even less. The sweet predicates are fermented slowly at cooler temperatures (10 C in 2013, 8 C in 2014) in stainless-steel tanks and Johannes aims for alcohol levels of 7.5 to 8%, whereas the Goldtropfchen terroir integrates the sweetness very well into the mineral depth so that the wines taste much less sweet than you might expect when reading the analytic data.
Spicy pithy notes with bright lemon flavors are tempered by a smooth honeyed minerality, finishing on a long salty stony note.
The Haarts have been making wine in Piesport since 1337. In the last century Theo Haart raised it to one of the Mosel’s great estates of the Mosel, and although he has handed control of the winemaking to his son Johannes, he still looks after the vineyards. The heart of the estate is the Goldtropchen, and it is harder to find better examples in the sweeter style anywhere.
- Item #: i_399967Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ADVOCATE - 91 POINTS
Tim Frohlich's 2018 Riesling Trocken offers a clear, ripe, intense, elegant and even pure and stony Riesling bouquet that already represents the highly elaborated style of this outstanding producer. Lush, precise and salty on the palate, with a nervy mineral acidity and herbal (marjoram) notes on the clear and structured finish, this is a medium-bodied yet quite intense and elegant dry Riesling of remarkable class. Hard to imagine there could be any other estate Riesling of this personality and complexity. Absolutely impressive. 12% alcohol. Bottled with a screwcap. Tasted in April and October 2019 (AP 07 19). "2017 as well as 2018 are two perfectly great vintages for us," Tim Fröhlich told me during my visit in July this year. This is what he says about any vintage, even difficult ones such as 2014. However, so far, he has always been right. It was already late afternoon when I arrived in Bockenau, and after I had finished with the 2017s (that were still terribly young and reductive), I decided to wait to taste the 2018 Grosses Gewächs Rieslings four weeks later in Wiesbaden during the "VDP Grosse Lage" preview at the end of August. And I tasted them again with the whole 2018 range in my home office in October.
"The distribution of rainfall was optimal in 2017," says Tim Frohlich: "We just had to take care about the phytosanitary situation of the grapes. So, we had to take the leaves away in the grape zone. As a result, the grapes were perfectly ripe and healthy when we harvested them. We also had very fine botrytis and were able to select all predicates up to a gold-capsuled Trockenbeerenauslese, whereas in 2018 we were not able to select a Beerenauslese." The acidity levels in 2017 are just perfect, and the wines already shine and reflect their particular origin brilliantly. Tim reports "a bit of frost" in Schlossbockelheim and in Monzingen, but he didn't report any damage. There also was no damage in the Halenberg, Kupfergrube or the Felsenberg. The 2017 harvest went from the last week of September until October 22nd. "We came into the cool period only in the very end of the harvest, whereas before, the night temperatures were still warm." The grapes his team picked were "golden-yellow in color but not overripe." Fröhlich also said, "Since the fruit already looked very good in September, we were not sure if we would bring them in this perfect condition into the later, cooler period. However, since the weather changed in the middle of October and the temperatures went down, we managed to harvest perfectly ripe and healthy grapes." The alcoholic fermentation (with natural yeasts as always) went through quickly, and even the BAs started fermenting spontaneously, but they had to be inoculated later since the must weighed more than 130 Oechsle.
The tasting of the 2017s was pretty challenging. The wines showed super precise but terribly young and were almost completely closed. The scores are still excellent (as always) but, perhaps, rather tentative than enthusiastic. The 2017 Halenberg GG was terrific and even better than the Felseneck, which is normally one of my favorite dry Rieslings here. The outstanding status of Schafer-Frohlich as one of the finest Riesling domains in all Germany remains untouched. His 2017 estate and village wines were already outstanding in spring last year and already gave more than just a hint of what to expect from the crus. As always, we have to be patient with those wines, though. They need some years to open up, even though their brightness, precision and taut nature is obvious even at this early stage.
The stunning thing about Tim Frohlich's 2018s is that many of them taste as if they were from a cooler vintage, especially those from Bockenau's slate soils. Cooler sites like the Felseneck were surely helpful, but more than anything else, the correct canopy management becomes crucial in those hot years like 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and also 2019. After good rainfalls in spring, 2018 was characterized by a terribly hot and dry summer and, like 2017, by a pretty early harvest. The grapes were perfectly ripe and healthy in autumn, which enabled team Frohlich to handcraft another series of exceptional wines. In particular, I fell in love with the 2018 estate Riesling and the Bockenauer village Riesling Vulkangestein. The Grosses Gewächs wines are powerful and rich but precise and terroir-driven, but they do not negate the vintage. The flavors represent ripe and intense fruit, and the body is full, the finish powerful. The feinherb Riesling crus are also remarkably fine in 2018 and so are the predicate wines that I have tasted so far. There is no Beerenauslese because the grapes were too perfect and either used for dry Riesling or a gild-capsuled Trockenbeerenauslese, which was still not filtered in July this year.