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_318005Bottle Size: 750mlMOSEL FINE WINES 93 POINTS "The 2017er Urziger Würzgarten 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.”"
- Item #: i_362354Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ENTHUSIAST 93 POINTS This wine's shy nose gives way to a still tightly wound palate. Its concentrated body holds ripe, bright lemon and salty sage flavors in a tight embrace. Driven and taut, it promises lasting refreshment.
- Item #: i_311001Bottle Size: 750mlJAMES SUCKLING - 93 POINTS A juicy and elegant wine that turns really dry, thanks to the serious minerality that powers the long, delicate finish. From organically grown grapes. Fair'n Green certification. Drink or hold. Stuart Pigott.
JOHN GILMAN - VIEW FROM THE CELLAR - 93 POINTS The 2017 Kirschheck Spatlese is a lovely example of the vintage, offering up a very pretty bouquet of white cherries, apple, wild yeasts, a touch of sea salts, bee pollen, apple blossoms and a superb base of minerality. On the palate the wine is medium-full, pure and dancing, with a juicy core, great cut and grip and a long, vibrant and perfectly balanced finish. This is going to be delicious to drink in its youth, but will have no trouble keeping several decades. 2018-2045. 93.
- Item #: i_362344Bottle Size: 750mlEnderle & Moll's 2017 Spatburgunder Rose is deep, serious and beautifully structured. It is more of a Pinot Noir than rose, truth be told. The rose has nicely lifted aromatics of flowers, herbs and bright fruits. There’s also an earthy undercurrent that adds further complexity. There’s plenty of freshness, but this isn’t a crisp and easygoing rose. It’s packed with complexity and an expansive presence. A testament to its seriousness is that they don’t rush the wine to market. It gets released well after rose season is over. Everything is hands-on. Sven Enderle and Florian Moll basically do it all by themselves. They’re incredibly conscientious in the vineyard, following biodynamic principles. All of this shows in the wines. They’re individual and soulful. Their rose is no exception. Few wines in the category deliver as much complexity and even fewer offer this level of fascination.
- Item #: i_320482Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ADVOCATE - 94 POINTS The 2017 Graacher Himmelreich Spatlese is deep, clear and flinty on the fascinating, elegant and complex nose. It is lush, precise, piquant and refined on the palate, with more transparency, freshness and crunchy slate minerality compared to the Bernkastel and Zeltingen. The wine is highly stimulating and salty, with concentrated grapefruit aromas. This wine is really enchanting. Open the bottle and glou-glou... Tasted in March 2019.
Katharina Prum started harvesting on September 25th in 2017, benefited from a golden sunny October and finished in a little bit more than three weeks on October 18. The team picked all predicates from Kabinett (the Graacher Himmelreich is one of the finest produced in the Mosel that year) to TBA yet with a focus on Spatlese and Auslesen, which are absolutely fabulous in their purity, finesse and weightless elegance. Only the higher predicates, including the gold-capsuled Auslesen, are based on a good amount of carefully selected botrytis and overwhelming quality. Prum also produced BAs and TBAs in Graach and Wehlen, which will be released later and which I didn't taste so far. 2017 is another great collection for this iconic family domaine in Wehlen.
WINE SPECTATOR - 93 POINTS Very expressive and open, offering a rich yet zingy framework. This features apricot, lime and candied orange flavors, with a minerally texture and vivid structure. Shows intensity and depth, but remains almost weightless and very graceful. Harmonious from start to long-lasting finish. Drink now through 2035. (5/2019)
WINE ENTHUSIAST - 94 POINTS Pristine aromas of lemon and lime introduce this crystalline spatlese. It’s lip-smackingly sweet, marked by concentrated honeysuckle and hibiscus flavors. Electric grapefruit acidity leads a long pure finish. Delicious already, it will only improve through 2030, and likely hold much further. *Editors’ Choice* (AI) (4/2019)
Jasmine tea and gun-powder aromatics. Really floral and petal-detailed delicacy, clementine, and as it unfurls there’s earl grey tea leaf. Keeps opening in the mouth and keeps opening on the finish. So much here already and so much more to come. 17.5/20 points. (TC) (9/2018)
- Item #: i_331141Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ADVOCATE - 97 POINTS The 2017 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese is intense and concentrated on the nose, with raisin, grapefruit and even vegetable aromas at the moment. This is highly attractive and noble on both the nose and palate. The wine is lush and dense on the palate but highly elegant, crystalline and fine, revealing a highly stimulating, salty-piquant and intensely aromatic and complex finish. This is an outstanding wine, and it's highly digestible. Tasted in March 2019.
Katharina Prum started harvesting on September 25th in 2017, benefited from a golden sunny October and finished in a little bit more than three weeks on October 18. The team picked all predicates from Kabinett (the Graacher Himmelreich is one of the finest produced in the Mosel that year) to TBA yet with a focus on Spatlese and Auslesen, which are absolutely fabulous in their purity, finesse and weightless elegance. Only the higher predicates, including the gold-capsuled Auslesen, are based on a good amount of carefully selected botrytis and overwhelming quality. Prüm also produced BAs and TBAs in Graach and Wehlen, which will be released later and which I didn't taste so far. 2017 is another great collection for this iconic family domaine in Wehlen.
MOSEL FINE WINES - 92+ POINTS This 2017er Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese is almost non-saying at f irst and only timidly delivers scents of vineyard peach, grapef ruit, pear puree, spices and gingerbread. The w ine is delightfully playful and delicately sweet on the palate, where almond cream, peach and candied melon make for a smooth and round feeling. A f resher side underpinned by some zesty grapef ruit comes through in the f inish and af ter -taste. This Auslese will test the patience of wine lovers, yet reward those w ith the patience to wait: This is a great Auslese in the making, and one which has quite some upside potential if it freshens up with time. 2032-2047
- Item #: i_342382Bottle Size: 750mlThis is a superb Pinot Noir-based dry rose from the Ahr region of Germany. On the nose you find a wonderful combination of fresh berries, herbs and citrus. In the mouth the fresh berries come to the forefront followed by a trace of lemony citrus. With a hint of minerality on the lingering finish this wine is perfect as either an aperitif or served with chicken, fish and seafood.
Wine making along the Ahr was founded by the Romans more than 1,000-years-ago. Historic records give evidence for cultivation from the year 770. Since the 13th century the region has been renowned for the cultivation of red varieties. This tradition has been continued, with an emphasis on growing Pinot Noir since the 18th century.
As a fifth generation family estate, a passion for wine is at the core of Mayer-Nakel Winery. Today’s wine estate was established by the marriage of Paula Meyer and Willibald Näkel. Although Willibald Näkel only cultivated 1.5 hectares of vines he was already a pioneer for the then rather unusual dry red wines from the Ahr valley. Today’s 15 hectares estate is managed by his son Werner Näkel, Werner's wife, Claudia, and their daughters Meike and Dorte.
- Item #: i_399957Bottle Size: 750mlDECANTER.COM 91 POINTS This wine, from the blue Devonian slate of the Ahr valley, has been the Meyer-Nakel calling card for years. Sourced from different parcels in the village of Dernau, it spent 10 months in used barriques and presents a wonderful introduction to Ahr Pinot Noirs. It's a lovely blend of smoke and cherry on the nose, while the palate is slender and shows lots of tart red fruit. The tannins have a gentle grip and the freshness is mouthwatering. Drinking Window 2019 - 2025
Ahr Valley's Werner Nakel is called the "red-wine wizard" - one of the leaders of modern Germany's high-quality Pinot Noir movement. This Estate Pinot has a wonderfully bright ruby red hue, with aromas and flavors of ripe raspberries and blackberries. It shows both a juicy fruit filling and a fine minerality from the distinctive blue slate makeup of the vineyards, with subtle notes of smoke and cloves. The tannin is velvety, elegant and full of finesse.
- Item #: i_320484Bottle Size: 750mlThis is one of the best Monchhof Estate rieslings we've ever tasted! The Rieslings from 2017(small as the quantities might be) are superb! Ripe, bouncy fruit supported by zippy acidity. This off-dry white greets you with a bouquet of concentrated notes of lemon peel and zest, serious freshness, apples, peach, grapefruit, kaffir lime and hints of white flowers with warm minerality emanating from the bowl of the glass. On the palate: The wine is expansive with lovely delineated white fruit spritz, crushed pear skins, more lemon drops and rind, clean bright citrus character and hints of green melon, Rainier cherries and chalky minerals. The midpalate is soft and balanced and the feeling of harmony between acidity and fruit is constant through the bright rounded finish with a little tangy zest of lime at the end. Great mouth-feel and pure sippable pleasure!
- Item #: i_320485Bottle Size: 750mlMOSEL FINE WINES - 92 POINTS The 2017 Erdener Pralat Auslese was made from fruit harvested at 107 Oeschle. It unfolds a fascinating and delicately ripe nose driven by toffee, almond cream, smoke, pineapple, pear, orange blossom, minty herbs and anise. The wine develops the full presence of an Auslese GK on the palate, where intense juicy notes of ripe yellow fruits are wrapped into coconut cream and toffee. There is a hint of freshness coming through in the very long and juicy finish. This needs at least a decade in the bottle to fully shine. 2027- 2037.
JAMES SUCKLING - 91 POINTS Very minty with some passion fruit. This is a really juicy but rather sleek Auslese with moderate sweetness. It has got a lot of lemon freshness at the finish. Drink or hold. Screw cap. Stuart Pigott.
- Item #: i_360380Bottle Size: 750mlThe 2017er Spatlese Mosel Slate is a fully fruity-styled wine made from the Estate’s holdings in the Erdener Treppchen. A hint of smoky reduction gives quickly way to riper notes of quince, candied grapefruit, herbs, ripe apple and pear puree. The wine is pleasantly playful on the palate, where some nicely ripe yellow fruits mingle with fine acidity, thereby nicely balancing out the sweetness of this fully fruity Spatlese. This is already a joy to drink now but will gain in finesse in a few years’ time.
- Item #: i_362374Bottle Size: 750mlMOSEL FINE WINES - 90 POINTS The 2017er Ayler Senior Fass 6 comes from the original Kupp hill and was fermented down to just off-dry levels (13 g/l of residual sugar). It offers a gorgeous nose of grapefruit puree, candied lemon zest, cassis, pear and smoky slate. The wine proves beautifully fruity on the comparatively full-bodied palate and leaves a great touch of bitter lemon in the mouthwatering and nicely tart finish. More citrusy fruits come through in the long and persistent after-taste. This is a gorgeous bottling of Senior in the making! 2019-2027 90 points
Lauer 'Senior' is Florian's nod to making a style of wine his grandfather (Peter Lauer Sr.) would enjoy. His aim is to make a feinherb, weeknight wine from 70-year-old, ungrafted vines on the Kupp. With each passing vintage, Senior always seems to over deliver--for the price, the level of complexity is outstanding.
- Item #: i_304784Bottle Size: 750MLinfo
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. 2107 saw both frost and rot issues, and yields are correspondingly low. The quality, however, is outstanding.
- Item #: i_372079Bottle Size: 750mlJOHN GILMAN - VIEW FROM THE CELLAR - 99 POINTS The 2017 Felseneck Grosses Gewächs is yet another utterly brilliant young wine. The nose soars from the glass in a youthfully complex blend of tart orange, pink grapefruit, blood orange, spring flowers, a beautiful base of salty slate minerality, a touch of petrol and a gentle topnote of wild yeasts. On the palate the wine is full, pure and again electric with ripe acidity this year, with a rock solid core, laser-like focus and great cut and grip on the complex, long and utterly seamless finish. This is pure magic. 2027-2085. 99.
JAMES SUCKLING - 98 POINTS Deep and dark in the nose, but blessed with ravishing, tart stone-fruit character on the palate that is almost perfectly balanced by the intense mineral acidity. Enormously long and surprisingly charming finish for a Schafer-Frohlich wine. Huge aging potential. Drink or hold. Stuart Pigott.
MOSEL FINE WINES - 97 POINTS This 2017er Bockenauer Felseneck GG delivers a gloriously reductive nose of grapef ruit zest, grilled pineapple, minty herbs, nettle, yuzu, lime tree and orchard fruits, all wrapped into residual scents of spontaneous fermentation, bacon, smoke and spices. The wine is beautifully focused on the palate, where ripe fruits are perfectly framed by minty herbs, grapefruit zest and ginger -driven spices. The finish is stunningly long, salty and herbal. There is still a hint of tartness in need of integration. With airing, the wine gains in density and shows huge presenc e and even a touch of power, without ever being hot. This is a magical dry Riesling in the making! 2027-2047
- Item #: i_399967Bottle Size: 750mlANTONIO GALLONI - VINOUSMEDIA - 91 POINTS
Here is one of those Nahe Rieslings from a vintage that leads with unusually Chablis-like animal and mineral elements. Saffron and sea breeze mingle with lemon rind, struck flint and chicken stock on the nose as well as on a polished, infectiously juicy palate, where an influx of ripe white peach serves for succulence and the piquancy of peach kernel and lemon pip for further counterpoint. The buoyant finish – by no means for the first time in a Schafer-Frohlich Gutsriesling – gets a remarkable purchase on the salivary glands while both enthralling and refreshing the lucky consumer. In its own way, arguably, this wine testifies as vividly to the value of Bockenau terroir as do Schafer-Frohlich’s two Grosse Gewachse from his home village, because nowadays this entry-level offering labors under the handicap of being sourced almost entirely from very young vines. Yes, the “Vulkangestein” and “Schiefergestein” bottlings that serve as the estate’s middle-tier dry Rieslings are more overtly concentrated. But in vintage 2017, they aren’t more complex than this ostensibly lesser sibling, and lack its sheer charm, buoyancy and infectious drinkability. -- David Schildknecht
JAMES SUCKLING - 92 POINTS
A seriously racy and minerally dry riesling that has serious depth at the long, sleek finish, where it achieves lift off! Drink now.
JOHN GILMAN - A VIEW FROM THE CELLAR - 91 POINTS
“The 2017 Estate Riesling Trocken here was really showing beautifully, having been bottled six weeks before my visit and having bounced back completely. This is really stunning in 2017, as the relatively low yields have given this extraordinary depth for its level, with the bouquet offering up a precisely ripe blend of grapefruit, tart orange, salty minerality, white flowers and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is crisp, fullish and racy, with an excellent core of fruit, fine cut and grip and outstanding backend minerality on the long, complex and utterly refined finish. This is made from the younger vines in all the top grand crus and with the reduced yields of 2017, this is approaching Grosses Gewachs quality! The wine is twelve percent octane and carries five grams per liter of residual sugar in 2017 and is an absolute steal! 2018-2040. 91.”
- Item #: i_303967Bottle Size: 750mlJOHN GILMAN - VIEW FROM A CELLAR - 89+ POINTS The 2017 SL Trocken is about as fine an estate Riesling bottling as one could ask for and will be an excellent value in this vintage. The wine offers up a quite refined nose of apple,. lime, a touch of mossiness, wild yeasts, a lovely base of slate and a topnote of citrus peel. On the palate the wine is medium-full, crisp and nicely complex, with a good core, ripe acids and lovely focus and balance on the long and classy finish. This is really, really good entry level wine! 2018-2030+.
- Item #: i_333308Bottle Size: 750mlWINE 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.
- Item #: i_324315Bottle Size: 750mlJOHN GILMAN - VIEW FROM THE CELLAR - 92 POINTS - The 2017 Monzinger Kabinett is a lovely wine and a clear indication that the dry wines here are not the only outstanding examples of the vintage. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a lovely blend of peach, sweet grapefruit, gentle herbal tones, citrus zest, salty minerality and a topnote of wild yeasts. On the palate the wine is medium-full, crisp and nicely filigreed, with a lovey nexus of fruit, minerality and zesty acidity coming together on the long, bouncy and complex finish. Fine juice. 2018-2040. 92.
- Item #: i_322589Bottle Size: 750mlANTONIO GALLONI VINOUSMEDIA - 92 POINTS Like several other von Winning 2017s, this delivers cress-like cut and Sauvignon-like aromatics – here peppermint and cilantro – on top of the hedge flowers and hyacinth I find typical of this site. Firm but generously juicy, the palate bursts with bright lime and delivers an infusion of flowers and herbs. A mouth-shakingly vibrant and refreshing finish barely but delightfully hints at sweetness, and takes a surprisingly Gruner Veltliner–like turn in its stimulating persistence of cress and white pepper. For all of its nippiness and sheer energy, this still exhibits its site’s anticipated charm. -- David Schildknecht
- Item #: i_342377Bottle Size: 750mlJAMES SUCKLING - 92 POINTS
Plenty of ripe citrus and a hint of vanilla from oak. Ripe and creamy, but with more than enough acidity to carry the medium to full body. Long, silky finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.
- Item #: i_372073Bottle Size: 750mlJAMES SUCKLING - 91 POINTS A super-mineral and racy dry riesling for this humble category with plenty of lemon and smoke character and a very crisp finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold. Screw cap. Stuart Pigott.
- Item #: i_324092Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS The 2017 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese (AP #10) is ripe and intense on the nose, though not as exuberant in its fruit aromas as it could be. There is still a yeasty layer on the nose at this early stage. The attack on the palate is racy-piquant, but the lush and clear fruit wraps around it immediately. This is a crystalline, straight, linear, very salty, mineral, complex and age-worthy Domprobst with a long, crunchy, salty-piquant finish. This is a deep and expressive Riesling of great class and style. A terroir wine par excellence. Tasted in March 2019. I admit, I have been very late this year to taste the 2017s, a vintage that brought excellent qualities but only tiny quantities. I was ready to taste 2018 as well but Christoph Schaefer preferred another appointment later this year since the wines were not yet ready to be tasted in March. Also Schaefer suffered from spring frost even in the warm Domprobst. Even though those losses were small, the hail in late August reduced the crop dramatically in almost all Graach sites. "Actually all the grapes were infected, which forced us to [do meticulous] selections during the harvest. We really discarded all botrytis grapes completely. The selection had to be done in the vineyard; here at the cellar, we tried to hold the quality we received. This radical philosophy caused one of our smallest crops in history," recalls Christoph Schaefer. From 4.5 hectares of vines less than 20,000 bottles (or 14.5 fuders) were produced. "That's nature, we have to deal with it. On the other hand, nature brought us something very particular in 2017. We only selected on Auslese (Domprobst Auktion), but the rest of the series is also characterized by good acidity and structure, which gives the 2017s something very special: elegance, something rather classical with a fascinating complexity." Indeed the Spätlesen are terrific here this year and can be cellared for at least two decades, probably more.
JOHN GILMAN 93 POINTS The AP #10 Spatlese from the Domprobst is a very impressive 2016er, delivering excellent precision on both the nose and palate and already a sense of elegance that is not always easy to find in a young Domprobst. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a refined blend of pear, orange zest, petrol, complex slate undertow and a topnote of apple blossoms. On the palate the wine is crisp, medium-full and youthfully complex, with a lovely core of fruit, marvelous slate signature, bright, zesty acids and excellent length and grip on the perfectly balanced finish. There is a certain sense of delicacy here that I adore. Really a lovely, lovely Domprobst Spatlese! 2022- 2055+. 93.
MOSEL FINE WINES 92 POINTS This offers a gorgeous nose of pear, candied lemon, spices and herbs. The wine proves gorgeously elegant and pure on the palate. Unlike in other vintages, the fruity side of the Domprobst is already present and adds to the wine’s early charm. The finish is all about silk, finesse and delicacy. This gorgeously light Spatlese is all about elegance. 2026-2041. 92 points