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. 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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    was $32.98 Special Price $29.99
  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. EGON MULLER 2015 RIESLING SCHARZHOFBERGER AUSLESE 375ML **HALF BOTTLE**

    Item #: i_311017
    Bottle Size: 375ml
    **Please note, this is a half sized bottle
    WINE SPECTATOR - 95 POINTS This sings with a pure, elegant mix of peach, quince, dried pear and apple tart flavors. Rich and creamy midpalate, this features an exuberantly minerally and fruity finish that glistens with acidity. Drink now through 2042. 20 cases imported.

    JAMESSUCKLING.COM - 96 POINTS A creamy-dreamy nose with a lot of tropical flowers that is very enticing. Very lush and concentrated but with great purity and delicacy too. If you have never tasted an Auslese from Egon, then you've missed something in life. This wine is the ideal one to put that right. If you're already familiar with this wine from other vintages, you could wait years or decades for this. Stuart Pigott

    JOHN GILMAN - VIEW FROM THE CELLAR - 97 POINTS The 2015 Auslese from the Scharzhofberg vineyard that I had the pleasure to taste from Egon Müller is utterly brilliant. The bouquet offers up a very, very pure and discreetly glazed bouquet of white cherries, pear, bee pollen, a touch of orange zest, gentle slate undertow and a pungent topnote of cherry blossoms. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and stunningly pure, with a creamy core, ripe, juicy acids and magical length and grip on the nascently complex and absolutely electric finish. This is a breathtakingly magical wine in the making, and keep in mind, this is only the tip of the Auslesen iceberg at Weingut Müller! 2025- 2100. 97.

    MOSEL FINE WINES 96+ POINTS Gorgeously vibrant scents of white peach, herbs and spices give way to richer and more complex notes of apricot, pineapple and fresh herbs and white flowers with airing. The wine manages to be delicately smooth and, at same time, racy as an almost Eiswein-like acidity cleanses the palate and provides focus to an area of complex cocktail fruits, herbs and minerals in the finish. This beauty in the making has stunning development potential. 2025-2060
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    $250.00
  12. EGON MULLER 2015 RIESLING SCHARZHOFBERGER AUSLESE 750ml

    Item #: i_311012
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    WINE SPECTATOR - 95 POINTS This sings with a pure, elegant mix of peach, quince, dried pear and apple tart flavors. Rich and creamy midpalate, this features an exuberantly minerally and fruity finish that glistens with acidity. Drink now through 2042. 20 cases imported.

    JAMESSUCKLING.COM - 96 POINTS A creamy-dreamy nose with a lot of tropical flowers that is very enticing. Very lush and concentrated but with great purity and delicacy too. If you have never tasted an Auslese from Egon, then you've missed something in life. This wine is the ideal one to put that right. If you're already familiar with this wine from other vintages, you could wait years or decades for this. Stuart Pigott

    JOHN GILMAN - VIEW FROM THE CELLAR - 97 POINTS The 2015 Auslese from the Scharzhofberg vineyard that I had the pleasure to taste from Egon Müller is utterly brilliant. The bouquet offers up a very, very pure and discreetly glazed bouquet of white cherries, pear, bee pollen, a touch of orange zest, gentle slate undertow and a pungent topnote of cherry blossoms. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and stunningly pure, with a creamy core, ripe, juicy acids and magical length and grip on the nascently complex and absolutely electric finish. This is a breathtakingly magical wine in the making, and keep in mind, this is only the tip of the Auslesen iceberg at Weingut Müller! 2025- 2100. 97.

    MOSEL FINE WINES 96+ POINTS Gorgeously vibrant scents of white peach, herbs and spices give way to richer and more complex notes of apricot, pineapple and fresh herbs and white flowers with airing. The wine manages to be delicately smooth and, at same time, racy as an almost Eiswein-like acidity cleanses the palate and provides focus to an area of complex cocktail fruits, herbs and minerals in the finish. This beauty in the making has stunning development potential. 2025-2060
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    $450.00
  13. EGON MULLER 2018 RIESLING SCHARZHOFBERGER KABINETT A.P. #2

    Item #: i_311091
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS The 2018 Scharzhofberger Kabinett is brilliant, clear and coolish on the nose, with cold, wet and clayey yet also crunchy slate aromas and bright fruit. Lush and precise, with lingering salinity and mineral expression, this is a complex and structured Scharzhofberger Kabinett with great aging potential. Tasted in June 2019. Stephan Reinhardt.

    JOHN GILMAN - VIEW FROM THE CELLAR 91-92 POINTS There are only two Kabinetten from the Scharzhofberg this year, with an old vine bottling also produced. The “regular” Kabinett (this sobriquet seems rather inappropriate when discussing an Egon Müller wine!) is 9.5 percent in alcohol, carries around fifty grams per liter of residual sugar and has acids of 8.5 grams and very low pH this year. The wine is young and very promising, offering up scents of apple, lime, petrol, slate, wild yeasts and an exotic touch of violet in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and fairly powerful in personality, with excellent depth and focus, excellent mineral drive and simply superb grip on the long and very well-balanced finish. As this was just bottled, my score may even be a touch conservative.
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    $132.99
  14. 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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  15. FALKENSTEIN 2018 RIESLING IM KLEINSCHOCK KABINETT A.P.#:

    Item #: i_374428
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    WINE ADVOCATE - 93+ POINTS From ungrafted 20- to 40-year-old vines (massal selection), the 2018 Niedermenniger im Kleinschock Riesling Kabinett is shockingly clear and precise on the nose. Silky-crystalline and lush on the palate, this is a very elegant and salty-piquant Kabinett with huge tonic talents, a lingering mineral grip and tension. Tight and expressive, this is still a baby—yet highly promising. Tasted in June.
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  16. FALKENSTEIN 2018 RIESLING KABINETT KRETTNACHER EUCHARISBERG ALTE REBEN

    Item #: i_374426
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    WINE ADVOCATE - 95 POINTS Exclusively from the Gisela parcel and bottled with 9% alcohol, the 2018 Krettnacher Euchariusberg Riesling Kabinett Alte Reben (AP 08) offers delicately fine and weathered slate and flint stone aromas, indicating great complexity. On the palate, this is an immensely straight, fresh and linear Riesling with highly mineral acidity and generous, intense and concentrated fruit. Very complex and amazingly long this is an expressive terroir wine that needs a decade to show its class. Great transparency, tension and mineral grip here. Great expression. Tasted in June 2019.

    If you are interested in superb, classic, highly individual Saar Rieslings, Hofgut Falkenstein is one of the very best addresses. As in old times, each plot is vinified and bottled separately, and only a very few wines blend the fruit of two similar parcels that are too small to fill a 1,000-liter fuder. Each parcel has a given name—so, there is an "Uncle Peter" or "Gisela" fuder—though it is never mentioned on the label. Thus, the wine you get is only officially the Euchariusberg Kabinett Alte Reben, but in truth—and among freaks—it's "Gisela." Like any other wine, "Gisela" always goes into the same fuder every year, and so, if you want to speak about terroir, the terroir begins here: inside the traditional Mosel barrel that is cleaned but never filled with water between the bottling and the advent of the new vintage. Instead, a part of the sediment is conserved with sulfur and helps shape the new "Gisela," as does the vineyard plot with its old, ungrafted vines. The Webers say this is how they keep the soul of each fuder alive.

    By the way, "Gisela"—or Euchariusberg Kabinett Alte Reben—is the finest Kabinett I have tasted in the Saar Valley this year. It has the luminous, precise and airy character combined with vitality, depth and complexity like Egon Müller's finest Scharzhofberger Kabinetts used to have. Really, I don't think I'm exaggerating. There was no Kabinett like Muller's Scharzhofberger before I met the Euchariusberg Kabinett from the 2017 and 2018 vintage, which actually outshine the famous neighbor in both years.

    Unfortunately, the Falkensteiner Rieslings are fast-selling wines. You need to have a great relationship with your supplier, because even at the domaine you won't get a bottle to buy, only to drink. Erich and Johannes Weber could sell each bottle at least two times. There is no other domain that is as "hot" as the Falkensteiner Hof right now. The Webers are real farmers who do everything themselves and by hand. The vines have just one arch, and the soils are kept meager, with natural green cover between the rows. "After 42 years of farming the same way, we have an evolved system," said Erich. Whole-cluster pressing and natural fermentation in traditional fuders in the old, humid cellar are part of the system, too. Father and son know each single vine, and both (plus one employee) care about the plants as if they were pets. Some call the Webers (and their "wine historian" Lars Carlberg) crazy, and that's exactly what they are—but there is no better way of craziness. Just check out the wines, they speak for themselves.
    The current vintage is the 2018, an early but ripe year. The Riesling harvest began on September 15. "As soon as the grapes have 80° Oechsle we get nervous, because we want to keep the acidity Saar-like and Falkenstein-like," said Erich Weber. Like most of the domains, the yields were reduced on the press. "The first must that is running from the press is 'winzerblond' [untranslatable: bright] or colored like ice tea," he said. With more than 0.8 bar of pressure, the juice becomes dark and reflects the enormous sunshine of the vintage even in a dense canopy wall. "It was easy to lose two grams of acidity if pressed for too long, so we stopped early. This is also a kind of intervention, but it's not a chemical one," Erich told me. He described the look of the grapes as "beautifully golden and healthy like in 2015." Since he is striving for lightweight wines, which he loves to compare with a ballet dancer, he doesn't de-leaf the grape zone, doesn't pick too late and does no maceration. "We don't want to have holes in the dance floor because the dancer is too heavy." In 2018, the Webers stopped pressing at 0.8 to 0.9 bar, while in normal years and also in 2017, the pressing went up to 1.1 to 1.2 bar. "We also need the last part of the pressing, otherwise the acidity would be too high. Ours is already self-confident, but we don't need 12 grams of total acidity."
    Due to spring frost and botrytis, 2017 was a more difficult vintage, and the parts that were left on the press in 2018 were discarded in 2017. The selective picking paid off: the Hofgut Falkenstein's 2017s are extraordinary good, especially the Auslese from the Euchariusberg.
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  17. FALKENSTEIN 2018 RIESLING SPATLESE FEINHERB NIEDERMENNINGER HERRENBERG A.P. #11, MAGNUM 1.5L

    Item #: i_374429
    Bottle Size: 1.5L
    JOHN GILMAN - VIEW FROM THE CELLAR - 93+ POINTS The nickname for this parcel is “Meyer Nepal”, which had something to do with the steepness of the slope here and a gentleman named Meyer, but I cannot recall the exact story (and further evidence why we need those back labels!). The 2018 “Meyer Nepal” version of Herrenberg Spatlese Feinherb comes in around eight percent octane and carries seamlessly about 15 thirty grams per liter of residual sugar, which buffers its excellent acids and vein of minerality most admirably. The bouquet is an outstanding blend of tangerine, lime, complex slate tones, a touch of wild yeasts and a topnote of orange peel. On the palate the wine is pure, fullish and beautifully balanced, with a good core, racy acids, excellent focus and depth and a long, pure and complex finish that ends with plenty of lift and grip. 2019-2050. 93+.
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  18. 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.

    “2018 takes its place in a series with 1911, 1959 and 2001,” according to Klaus-Peter Keller, describing the 2018 feinherb wines as “delicately exotic, super-fresh, lively and with a fantastic chalky minerality. Masses of pleasure with moderate alcohol…happiness in a glass – a ballerina dancing on your tongue.” This bright yellow-gold, just off-dry Riesling ~ RR ~ 2018 has an irresistible, deeply resonant nose, with penetrating aromas of fresh pineapple, Honeycrisp apples, peach blossoms and hibiscus moving in and out of the foreground, sometimes alternating with insistent suggestions of lemongrass, ruby grapefruit, wild mint, and white truffles, as the nose evolves in the glass. On the palate, the wine is creamy and succulent, yet somehow crunchy at the same time, with a juicy core of flavors including ripe apricots, roasted marcona almonds, and Meyer lemon, all wrapped in a vibrant combination of palpable dry extract, almost salty mineral intensity, and voluptuous concentrated texture, all lingering in a persistent, elegant finish, with plenty of refreshing tropical acidity, depth, and cut. About this wine producer: Klaus-Peter Keller has inspired a renaissance of viniculture in the Hügelland, where the Benedictines of the Kloster Lorch grew some of the most prestigious wines in the Rheinland, in vineyards that were forgotten after the French Revolution. His stunning dry Rieslings have been called “the German Montrachets” by Jancis Robinson, MW, the brilliant editor of The Oxford Companion to Wine. But his noble sweet wines are no less well received. In fact, Keller has won the Gault Millau “Best of Germany” award in both categories. “If I had to name the best producer in Germany today, it would be Klaus-Peter Keller, wrote Steven Tanzer, the world’s stingiest wine critic. “Everything he touches turns to gold.” Though lionized by the journalists as the greatest winegrower of his generation, Klaus-Peter is quick to point out that “great wine would not be possible here, if it weren’t for these great limestone soils. It’s only that someone had to remember the old tradition and just make good wine.”
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  19. MAX FERDINAND RICHTER 2010 RIESLING EISWEIN 375ML MULHEIMER HELENENKLOSTER #73 HALF-BOTTLE GERMAN ICEWINE

    Item #: i_362380
    Bottle Size: 375ml
    **Please note, this is a half sized bottle
    WINE ADVOCATE - 91 POINTS The Richter “two-star” 2010 Muhlheimer Helenenkloster Riesling Eiswein Fass #73 (that cask number being in effect merely a nick-name) represents the optically more concentrated, table-selected portion of December 3’s harvest (which constituted most of what little fruit there was in this site, though some had been picked out earlier and declassified to generic Riesling). Not surprisingly, acidity and residual sugar are elevated vis-a-vis the corresponding “regular” Helenenkloster Eiswein bottling; and the alcohol yet lower. High-toned intimations of herbal distillates mingle with fresh lemon and quince preserves on the nose. Intensely bright yet soothing, glycerin-rich as well as buoyant, on the palate this resembles a vanilla-, quince jelly-, and zest-laced lemon-lime sorbet. Sheer viscosity, as well as almost severe concentration and the integration of considerable bitterness preclude this offering quite the finishing refreshment of its reverberative, levity, and ostensibly lesser sibling. With tine perhaps it will prove the more complex and/or longer-lived of the pair. I would monitor any bottles along the way but anticipate its meriting 20 or more years of attention.

    “The last time I had acid levels as high as in 2010,” reports Dirk Richter, “was in 1980, and I don’t need to tell you that vintage was a disaster even by then-prevailing standards. What’s more, that was the last time I had de-acidified. Even in challenging years like 1981, patience at harvest and the right upbringing of the young wines – maceration, later bottling, encouraging tartrate precipitation, etc. – sufficed to deal with high acids. In many cases this year, we double-salt de-acidified twice, in must and then again in wine – after having done nothing for thirty years; I couldn’t believe it was happening! But it was the only way to remove a sufficient share of the malic. The finished wines are still plenty high in acidity, but I did not want to repeat my experience from 1990, in which I bottled wines with as much 11 grams acid. The second year, they started to taste sour, and that never left them even as their textures eventually creamed-up. I think that two years from now many de-acidified wines will start fatiguing whereas our best will be coming into their own.” In 2010, needless to say, the grapes were essentially ripe – indeed all met the admittedly weak legal minimum for Auslese – but as Richter notes “I had to keep revisiting parcels again and again taking just what had properly ripened because the condition of bunches was so heterogeneous.” Precautionary levels of sulfur combined with the naturally low pH levels of 2010 material are, he speculates, the reason why he ended up having to yeast most of his musts this year to achieve satisfactory fermentation. Richter reports having managed to pick-out 20 and 30 liters respectively of B.A. and T.B.A. but at such pathetically small levels he felt it made more sense to blend them back selectively into the vintage’s Auslesen. “I’m laying everything on the table,” he noted with his usual candor when we began tasting, “some are quite good, some are meager, but I’ll let you judge for yourself.”
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    $144.98
  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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