Fine Wine Review
FWR 97: I've noticed an interesting phenomenon over the last few decades: a very good vintage comes along and gets over-hyped. It then turns out that the following vintage is even better, but initially, many with reputations on the line for pumping the earlier vintage were unable to admit the superior quality of the later vintage until some time has passed. This was the case with Médocs in 1985/86, 1989/90, and 1995/96, and with red Burgundies in 1989/90, for example. (For the record, my initial evaluations of 1985 and 1989 Médocs and 1989 red Burgundies was that they were good to very good vintages, but not exceptional; I did not taste the 1995 Médocs until spring 1997, when I was tasting the 1996 Médocs at the same time.) It appears that the 2001/2002 vintages in Germany may present yet another such pair.
Why this phenomenon? Actually, it's easy to explain. In many cases, people have their minds made up about a vintage and their reputations on the line, and they're not about to admit that they have bought and/or sold wines that are not as good or appreciably better than those of the new vintage.
In the case of 2001, by all judgments, the German region where the vintage was strongest was the Mosel Valley, which leads us to some interesting comparisons. For Eymael/Mönchhof, J. J. Christoffel, Selbach-Oster, von Kesselstatt, and Schloss Lieser, among other examples, 2001 appears to have been the better vintage. On the other hand, for Fritz Haag and probably J. J. Prüm and Willi Schaefer, 2002 apparently was the better vintage based on what I've tasted - if one is not too influenced by the fact that there is virtually no Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese in 2002. For still other estates, the question is close, and one must go wine by wine. 2001 may be the longer-lived vintage, although there certainly is no reason to expect that 2002 will fade quickly. What is true is that the 2002 vintage cannot compete with 2001 for the prestige late harvest wines - Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese, and to some extent Long Gold Capsule Auslese. On the other hand, 2002 is a superb, if somewhat variable vintage, for Eiswein.
In the Saar, the question is still close, but I am inclined to go with 2002, again understanding and forgiving that there is a lack of BA and TBA in that vintage. In the Ruwer, forget BA and TBA, but otherwise, 2002 is a very great vintage, rivaling 1997, and the von Schuberts and Karthäuserhofs, in their respective styles, are absolute must-haves for anyone who has ever admired a wine from these two very great estates.
In the Nahe, from what I have tasted, the question is similarly close. I am inclined to view the aging capacity of 2002 as medium-term, and 2001 in general may last somewhat longer. Generally, the QbA wines (no designation of Riesling Kabinett, Spätlese, Riesling Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, or Eiswein) can be consumed young, but will hold surprisingly well; 8-10 years at least for this vintage, I should think; Riesling Kabinetts from top producers and vineyards can hold 15-20 years, Spätlesen 20-30 years, and sweeter wines will outlast your winedrinking years.
Another question is whether the wines will close up and go through a dumb period. This is not easy to answer. Carl von Schubert, of the great Maximin Grünhäuser estate has an interesting theory that makes sense: in years where the summer was warm and thus the malic acidities are relatively low, the wines do not close up. In other years, they will close up for a period of time. For the most part, 2002 is a year where the malic acidities seem relatively gentle, and one can hope that these wines will always remain open.
Weather conditions. This was a very hot year, the third hottest recorded at Geisenheim since recordkeeping began in 1884, and overall 3º F above the long term average. As a result of a warm March, budbreak in the Mosel was April 16, 15 days ahead of 2001 and 16 days ahead of the long term average. Flowering is listed as June 15, a week ahead of 2001 and ten days ahead of the long term average. The hot summer led to an early start of the ripening, although not as early as 2001: August 26 in 2002 vs. August 23 for the previous year, but that compares with a long term average of September 7. On the whole, conditions in August and September seemed even more favorable than in 2001, and already by the second week of October, there were Mosel estates harvesting Gold Capsule Auslese. However, intermittent rains in the last part of October slowed things down a little and put an end to hopes for Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese. But the steep slopes of the vineyards meant that the water did not penetrate the soils to dilute the grapes, although they did delay the harvest somewhat. A significant amount of grapes were left for Eiswein, and they were amply rewarded by freezes in late November and early December (1500 liters of Eiswein at Karthäuserhof!). The downside of the Eisweine is that some contain botrytis, which has been an increasing trend in recent years. Where the botrytis is present in Eisweine, it generally, but not always, is much better mastered than in prior vintages, but for those wines, I would be inclined to drink them early.
Overall in Germany, yields are 7% above the long term average and 19% above the 2001 crop. The Mosel-Saar-Ruwer is about 25% above 2001, and the Nahe is about 3% above 2001 in quantity. Acidities are often above 2001, but the percentage of malic acidity, which determines the hardness of the wines, varied from property to property, according to my conversations with producers. On the whole, though, I find a better sugar/acid balance in 2002 than in 2001.
Speaking of sweetness, if you have not been trying the dry (trocken) and medium-dry (halbtrocken, usually wines that do not taste sweet but are rounder than the trocken wines), give them a try. The wines are much easier to take than in the early-1990s and from the best producers provide nervosity and purity.
Reference Sources. The must-have book in the English language, even though it is out of print and badly in need of a revision, is Stuart Pigott's The Wine Atlas of Germany (Mitchell Beazley, 1995). The maps are the best I know of, and there is excellent commentary describing all the major terroirs in Germany. Used copies are frequently available through amazon.com. Should you not be able to obtain that book definitely go for Hugh Johnson's and Jancis Robinson's World Atlas of Wine (5th Edition) (Mitchell Beazley, 2001). The book contains most of the same maps as the Pigott book, and the text, while greatly reduced from that of Pigott's, is most useful. Stephen Brooke, an excellent British writer, has just published The Wines of Germany (Faber and Faber, 2003). I have had only the most cursory examination of it, but it appears to be a distant third choice behind the two others mentioned above.
FWR 99: My first impression on tasting wines from the 2002 vintage
was that it was superior to the 2001 vintage. Now, having tasted a great
deal more, I have to say that it is up in the air between the two, with
the exception that there are more late harvest wines in the earlier year.
Without a doubt, there are fabulous wines in 2002, but as with every vintage
(2001 included), you have to be selective, sometimes even within the range
offered by a particular producer.
Mönchhof Mosel region
Mönchhof 2002 Estate Riesling - The wine,
from Ürziger Würzgarten fruit, is stony, sweet, and spiced with
a juicy texture and pear flavors.
Mönchhof 2002 ASTOR Riesling Kabinett
- The Astor Riesling Kabinett likewise is from Ürziger Würzgarten
fruit. It is stony, spicy sweet, and juicy with pear flavors, ideal for
drinking over the next several years. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 02 03.
Mönchhof 2002 Riesling Spätlese ÜRZIGER
WÜRZGARTEN - Rose and spice aromas, with a racy, medium-sweet mouth, and fine supporting
acidity and good length. It should age well. Last digits of A.P. Nr.:
Mönchhof 2002 Riesling Spätlese ERDENER
TREPPCHEN - Weighty and powerful,
but driven by a strong acidity. There are tinges of brown sugar in the
nose and mouth, suggesting a little botrytis, and plenty of depth. Give
this wine 6-7 years in the cellar before you start to drink, if you can
resist it - which I find hard to do. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 005 03.
Mönchhof 2002 Riesling Auslese ÜRZIGER
WÜRZGARTEN - The Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese has
a cinnamon/clove nose with apple/pear and cinnamon flavors, excellent
acidity, and great raciness. I imagine that in 7-9 years, this should
be a splendid bottle. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 008 03.
Mönchhof 2002 Riesling Auslese ERDENER TREPPCHEN
- Plenty of acidity, a medium/medium-light round body with hints of botrytis
and plenty of raciness. Expect to hold this wine 8-10 years before it
is fully ready to drink. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 009 03.
Mönchhof 2002 Riesling Auslese ERDENER PRÄLAT
- An outstanding success with stones and quince in the nose, and a ripe
body with cinnamon-tinged fruit, and a lovely sugar-acid balance. Last
digits of A.P. Nr.: 10-03. $49.00
Mönchhof 2002 Riesling Gold Kapsule Auslese
ERDENER PRÄLAT - Rich, dense, deep, and full with botrytis,
pear and apple flavors, and pinpoint acidity. This is a wine to hold 8-12
years before drinking, but it is superb. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 016
Mönchhof 2002 Riesling Eiswein ÜRZIGER
WÜRZGARTEN - Sweet with pure lime fruit and some honey (but
not from botrytis, I think), and great length - a beautiful Eiswein. Last
digits of A.P. Nr.: 17 03. $110/375ml.
Reinhold Haart Mosel
Reinhold Haart 2002 Riesling Kabinett PIESPORTER
GOLDTRÖPFCHEN - Haart really begins to excel with the Piesporter
Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett, a wine that has the typical Goldtröpfchen
ripe peach aromas and flavors, full, pow-erful body, and some sweetness,
making it a borderline Riesling Spätlese in style. Last digits of A.P.
Nr.: 5 03. $22
Reinhold Haart 2002 Riesling SpätleseDRHON HOFBERGER
Drhon is a village a little upriver from Piesport and the Hofberger is
a southwest-facing slope. The Riesling Spätlese shows the spiced peach
aromas and flavors similar to what one finds in Piesporter Goldtröpfchen,
but with less depth and intensity and more finesse, making for a fascinat-ing
variation. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 6 03.
Reinhold Haart 2002 Riesling Spätlese PIESPORTER
Reinhold Haart 2002 Riesling SpätlesePIESPORTER GOLDTRÖPFCHEN
Reinhold Haart 2002 Riesling Auslese PIESPORTER GOLDTRÖPFCHEN
Reinhold Haart 2002 Riesling Auslese WINTRICHER OHLIGSBERG
Fritz Haag Mosel region
Fritz Haag 2002 Riesling - Is virtually a
medium-dry wine. Bright, crystalline, and stony, this wine will improve
in the bottle over several years. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 1 03.
Fritz Haag 2002 Riesling Kabinett BRAUNEBERGER JUFFER
- Has stony pear and plum aromas, and dark plum, peach, and cassis flavors
with depth, power, and balance. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 3 02. $23.00
Fritz Haag 2002 Riesling Kabinett BRAUNEBERGER JUFFER-SONNENUHR
- The Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett is pure, deep, round,
powerful, and elegant with classic Juffer-Sonnenuhr peach fruit. A classic.
Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 5 03. $25.00
Fritz Haag 2002 Riesling Spätlese BRAUNEBERGER JUFFER-SONNENUHR
- Is a fabulous bottle with minerals, purity, and a beefy texture, everything
a J-S should be. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 7 03. $35.00
Fritz Haag 2002 Riesling Auslese BRAUNEBERGER JUFFER-SONNENUHR
(AP# 06 03)
Fritz Haag 2002 Riesling Gold Kapsule Auslese BRAUNEBERGER
JUFFER-SONNENUHR (#12) - Is phenomenal for its depth, concentration,
and purity of slaty lime fruit, hints of botrytis and spice, and great
length and purity. Fabulous penetration, or as Stuart Pigott would say,
electricity to this wine. This is a wine with 40-50 years of great evolution
ahead of it. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 12 03.
Fritz Haag 2002 Riesling Gold Kapsule Auslese BRAUNEBERGER
JUFFER-SONNENUHR (#13) - Has more flesh as though it were from
older vines but not quite the electricity and penetration and austerity
of the previous wine. But we are splitting hairs here. Both are fantastic
wines. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 13 03.
Fritz Haag 2002 Riesling Long Gold Kapsule Auslese
BRAUNEBERGER JUFFER-SONNENUHR (#15) - Is mind-boggling for its
finesse, depth, and restrained, yet very deep, botrytis. Citric, elegant,
every-thing that a Mosel wine should be. I've had many great wines from
this, one of Germany's very greatest producers, but I'm not sure I've
ever had a wine of this stunning quality before. Last digits of A.P. Nr.:
von Hövel Saar valley
von Hövel 2002 Riesling Kabinett SCHARZHOFBERG
- Is firm and stony, with crystalline apple fruit, but I am not finding
as much depth as in still better wines. Frankly, von Hövel does not
have the best portion of this famous vineyard, and his Hütte vines
have much more potential. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 3-03.
von Hövel 2002 Riesling Kabinett OBEREMEMMELER
HÜTTE - From an outstanding Saar vineyard that von Hövel
is the sole owner of, shows cassis and pear aromas, and cassis flavors
with a stony, chalky texture. A clas-sic. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 5-03.
von Hövel 2002 Riesling Spätlese SCHARZHOFBERGER
- Despite the more famous vineyard name, Scharzhofberger is usually nowhere
near as good here as the Oberemmeler Hütte, but this Riesling Spätlese
is an exception, almost equivalent in quality. The wine features pear,
peach, and lemon aromas and flavors that are pure and a body that is ripe
and nervy. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 4-03. $23.00
von Hövel 2002 Riesling Spätlese OBEREMMELER
HÜTTE - Is more closed and tight, much more a wine for the
long term, but with outstanding potential. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 6-03.$23.00
von Hövel 2002 Riesling Auslese OBEREMMELER
HÜTTE - Is an excellent example of the quality of this too-little-known
vineyard. The wine features mineral, citric aromas and flavors, with wonderful
underlying acidity. As a result of the acidity, the wine is not particularly
sweet for an Riesling Auslese, but the balance is there. Last digits of
A.P. Nr.: 9-03. $32.00
von Hövel 2002 Riesling Long Gold Kapsule Auslese
OBEREMMELER HÜTTE - As one would expect, shot with botrytis.
Indeed, it appears to be on the border of BA and LGKA in style and leaning
toward the former. Plenty of brown sugar and orange rind here, with excellent
supporting acidity, and all this wines asks is 15-20 years' patience to
let all the elements blend. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 11-03.
von Hövel 2002 Riesling Eiswein OBEREMMELER
HÜTTE - Appears to have impure botrytis in it, and as a result
closely resembles the GKA, but without the purity or integration. I'd
drink this wine young. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 12-03.
Karthäuserhof Ruwer valley
Karthäuserhof 2002 PINOT BLANC DRY -
The Pinot Blanc shows lively acidity, roundness, good struc-ture, floral
fruit, no heaviness, and overall balance. $20.00
Karthäuserhof 2002 Riesling Spätlese dry EITELSBACHER
KARTHÄUSERHOFBERG - First, the technical aspect about the
Riesling Spätlese trocken: you need to check the back label to determine
whether you have the Riesling Spätlese trocken or the fruity Riesling
Spätlese because both bear the same front label. Now, as for the wine,
what an experience!! This is rock/star wine; that is, it smells and tastes
of rocks with a great acidic attack that is so dazzling I see stars. With
time, the stoniness will open to fruit, but either way, young or old,
this is simply a fabulous wine and not to be missed if you have the opportunity.
Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 08 03.
Karthäuserhof 2002 Riesling Kabinett medium-dry
EITELSBACHER KARTHÄUSERHOFBERG - As with the previous wine,
the Riesling Kabinett halbtrocken does not indicate the dryness on the
front label; you need to check the back label to determine whether the
bot-tle you have is halbtrocken or regular Riesling Kabinett. Because
of the acidity, this wine tastes dry, but rounder than a trocken. It is
stony in the nose and mouth and promises to produce apricot or peach fruit
if you cellar it for 4-5 years, but is lovely to drink now, too. Last
digits of A.P. Nr.: 06 03.
Karthäuserhof 2002 Riesling EITELSBACHER KARTHÄUSERHOFBERG
- If you want an excellent example of a great QbA, try this Karthäuserhof.
Minerals, stones, and brilliant, crystalline clarity in the nose and on
the palate with a lovely acid attack that plays against the slight sweetness
and incipient peach and rose suggestions. Although not so labeled, this
wine in fact is a halbtrocken. The wine is gorgeous now, and with proper
cellaring should have no trouble going 15-20 years. Last digits of A.P.
Karthäuserhof 2002 Riesling Kabinett EITELSBACHER
KARTHÄUSERHOFBERG - Is ripe and shows incipient peach aromas
and flavors with some roundness to the body and good acidity. I'd opt
to wait 3-5 years before drinking this wine, though, to let it develop.
Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 07 03.
Karthäuserhof 2002 Riesling Spätlese EITELSBACHER
KARTHÄUSERHOFBERG - Has hazelnut aromas, fol-lowed by a firm,
dense, rich mouth without much sweetness showing for the moment due to
the high acidity. There are stone, hazelnut, and incipient apricot flavors
and with time, the apricot will dominate and make this an even greater
wine. I'd opt to hold this wine 6-8 years before beginning to drink it.
Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 09 03.
Karthäuserhof 2002 Riesling Auslese EITELSBACHER
KARTHÄUSERHOFBERG - Because of its cutting acidity, the Riesling
Auslese is not sweet, but it is racy, deep, and stony with some nut-shell
aromas and flavors and plenty of wet stones. If you drink it now, it is
wine for meals or an aperitif, not for dessert, but there is a long development
to come. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 12-03.
Karthäuserhof 2002 Riesling Auslese #50 EITELSBACHER
KARTHÄUSERHOFBERG - Shows strong botrytis in the nose, fol-lowed
by ripe peach and brown sugar flavors with great acidity and outstanding
length. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 13 03.
Karthäuserhof 2002 Riesling Auslese #33 EITELSBACHER
KARTHÄUSERHOFBERG - Shows botrytis with sweetness and great
acidity. It is a wine to wait 10-15 years for. Last digits of A.P. Nr.:
Karthäuserhof 2002 Riesling Gold Kapsule Auslese
#52 EITELSBACHER KARTHÄUSERHOFBERG - Is quite heavily botrytised
and shows great acidity. It is not easy to judge at this point, and I'd
expect to lay this wine down 15-20 years before opening it. Last digits
of A.P. Nr.:16-03.
Karthäuserhof 2002 Long Gold Kapsule Auslese
#54 EITELSBACHER KARTHÄUSERHOFBERG - Is simply a phenomenal
wine with tremendous acidity backing botrytised, ginger-spiced fruit and
great length, balance, and harmony. A ballerina of a wine. Last digits
of A.P. Nr.:17-03.
Karthäuserhof 2002 Riesling Eiswein #48 EITELSBACHER
KARTHÄUSERHOFBERG - Is incredible for its purity and cutting
flavors. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 18-03.
Karthäuserhof 2002 Riesling Eiswein #55 EITELSBACHER
KARTHÄUSERHOFBERG - Is just that much more intense and deep.
Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 19-03.
Schloss Lieser Mosel valley
Thomas Haag, who one day will take over from his father at the great Fritz Haag estate in the meantime continues to make excellent wine at this estate.
Schloss Lieser 2002 Riesling - The wine is
crystalline and stony with bing cherry fruit and fine acidity. For sipping
or with simple foods. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 2 03. $13.00
Schloss Lieser 2002 Riesling Kabinett - Shows
stony peach and peach liqueur aromas and flavors with outstanding density
and fine length. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 3 03. $18.00
Schloss Lieser 2002 Riesling Spätlese LIESER NIEDERBERG
HELDEN - Has earthy peach and petrol aromas. In the mouth, the
wine is ripe and chewy with a smooth texture and plenty of power. This
is a change in style from previous vintages which had been more elegant.
Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 5 03. $25.00
Schloss Lieser 2002 Riesling Auslese LIESER NIEDERBERG
HELDEN ** - Is a beautiful expression of the terroir here. The
wine corresponds to a GKA, but being from this location, is light, airy,
and dancing, with lemon chiffon aromas and flavors. Last digits of A.P.
Schloss Lieser 2002 Riesling Auslese LIESER NIEDERBERG
HELDEN *** - Is quite similar in profile, but deeper, more intense,
and with somewhat more botrytis that gives additional lime and peach dimensinos,
and fabulous acidity to balance the sweet-ness. This wine coresponds to
LGKA. Last digits of A.P. Nr.:12 03.
Milz 2002 Riesling Kabinett NEUMAGENER NUSSWINGERT
- Features an attractive nose of lemon peel, pear, and stony, dusty aromas.
In the mouth, the wine is ripe and round with pear, yellow plum, and lime
peel flavors, subdued acidity, and richness for a Riesling Kabinett. Last
digits of A.P. Nr.: 02 03. $20.00
Milz 2002 Riesling Spätlese TRITTENHEIMER APOTHEKE
- Shows ripe pear and orange peel aromas and flavors, medium-weight on
the palate, and a lush texture. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 05 03. $25.00
Milz 2002 Riesling Spätlese TRITTENHEIMER LEITERCHEN
- Has stony, mineral, citric aromas and flavors with a ripe, round body
and fine length. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 04 03.$27.00
Milz 2002 Riesling Spätlese TRITTENHEIMER FELSENKOPF
- Features pear, vanilla, and quince aromas with slate/lime overtones.
In the mouth, the wine has vanilla and quince flavors with a bit more
nervosity than the previous wines and a citric finish. Last digits of
A.P. Nr.: 03 03. $27.00
Milz 2002 Riesling Auslese TRITTENHEIMER LEITERCHEN
- Has pear and vanilla aromas, a medium-light body, and typical red fruits
in the mouth, with an overall light and airy impression. Last digits of
A.P. Nr.: 08 03. $35.00
Milz 2002 Riesling Auslese TRITTENHEIMER FELSENKOPF
- Sweet with minerality, but less complex than the Leiterchen. Last digits
of A.P. Nr.: 06 03. $35.00
Milz 2002 Riesling Gold Kapsule Auslese TRITTENHEIMER
Milz 2002 Riesling Eiswein TRITTENHEIMER APOTHEKE
- Typical Eiswein with high acidity and plenty of sweetness, but without
the extreme purity that I have found in some other vintages. Still, it
is a most pleasurable wine. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 09 03.
Wegeler 2002 MOSEL RIESLING - It's labeled
QbA Riesling, but the wine can pass for a fine Mosel Riesling Spätlese,
showing orange peel aro-mas and flavors and fine acidity to put everything
in crystalline balance. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 15 03. $15.00
Wegeler 2002 Riesling Kabinett WEHLENER SONNENUHR
- The Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett has classic Sonnenuhr vanilla
and peach aromas and flavors with good acidity, but lacks by a little
the depth of the greatest Sonnenuhrs. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 06 03.$20.00
Wegeler 2002 Riesling Kabinett BERNKASTELER DOCTOR
- The Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Kabinett has hazelnut and pepper aromas,
mineral lime blossom and peel flavors, elegance with subtlety and complexity.
Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 12 03. $36.00
Wegeler 2002 MOSEL Riesling Spätlese - The
Riesling Spätlese is citric in the nose and shows a juicy body with lemon-lime
flavors supported by fine acidity. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 14 03. $23.00
Wegeler 2002 Riesling Spätlese WEHLENER SONNENUHR
- Wegeler's Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese is pure delight with
pow-erful lime aromas and flavors, richness and power in the body great
balance. This may not stem from the greatest plot in Sonnenuhr, but everything
has been done to maximize the po-tential of the wine. Last digits of A.P.
Nr.: 07 03.
Wegeler 2002 Riesling Spätlese BERNKASTELER DOCTOR
- The Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Spätlese rises to special heights.
Keep in mind that the winemaker here, Norbert Breit, for a long time was
the winemaker at Wwe. Dr. Thanisch (Thanisch Erben), the most famous Doctor
owner, so he knows the vineyard well. The wine is very pure with apricot
and peach aromas and flavors and the requisite density to hold it together
majestically. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 11 03. $28.00
Wegeler 2002 Riesling Auslese WEHLENER SONNENUHR
- The Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese is rich and ripe apple fruit
with some honey seemingly coming from of botrytis. A wine that lives up
to the reputation of the vineyard. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 09 03.
Wegeler 2002 Riesling Auslese BERNKASTELER DOCTOR - Wegeler's Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Auslese is a prime example of why this really is one of the great Mosel vineyards, (even if many of the wines from the vineyard are disappointing). This is dense, deep, rich, nervy wine with pure apricot pit fruit. Wow! Wait 8-10 years and this may be a legend. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 10 03. FWR 97
Wegeler 2002 Riesing Gold Kapsule Auslese BERNKASTELER
DOCTOR - Certainly, there is more botrytis to the Bernkasteler
Doctor GKA, but is botrytis always better? To this taster, no. Rich, brown
sugar and lemon notes mark this wine, which certainly appears to have
a lifespan longer than any contemporary reader. Bordering on BA in style.
Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 17 03.
Wegeler 2002 Riesling Eiswein BERNKASTELER DOCTOR
- The Bernkasteler Doctor Eiswein is a fitting cap to these great
wines with purity and clarity to the ripe, rich honeyed fruit. Last digits
of A.P. Nr.: 18 03.
Dr. F. Weins-Prüm Mosel valley
Dr. F. Weins-Prüm 2002 RIESLING medium-dry (halbtrocken)
- Bert Selbach's Riesling halbtrocken shows white pepper aromas, a juicy
texture, and pear flavors. It is good either for sip-ping or with simple
dishes. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 09 03.$13.00
Dr. F. Weins-Prüm 2002 Riesling Kabinett GRAACHER DOMPROBST - The Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett is perhaps more reserved than usual, but the wine is packed with depth and concentration with ripe quince and fig fruit and fine supporting acidity. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 5 03. FWR 97
Dr. F. Weins-Prüm 2002 Riesling Kabinett WEHLENER
SONNENUHR - The Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett is a classic
for that vineyard, stony and pure with vanilla and white peach fruit.
Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 1 03. $19.00
Dr. F. Weins-Prüm 2002 Riesling
Spätlese GRAACHER DOMPROBST - From the great Graacher Domprobst vineyard, the Riesling
Spätlese has vanilla and peach flavors and aromas, but is still quite
undeveloped and needs more time to age. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 6 03.
Dr. F. Weins-Prüm 2002 Riesling Spätlese WEHLENER
SONNENUHR - The Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese is ripe and
sweet with classic peach and vanilla aromas and flavors. As always, one
of the best Sonnenuhrs. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 2 03. $26.00
Dr. F. Weins-Prüm 2002 Riesling Spätlese ERDENER
PRÄLAT - The Erdener Prälat Riesling Spätlese is rich,
deep, and intense with plenty of acidity to drive the wine. It's still
just a baby, though, and I'd give it 7-8 years in the cellar before opening.
Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 3-03.
Dr. F. Weins-Prüm 2002 Riesling Eiswein GRAACHER
HIMMELREICH - The Graacher Himmelreich Eiswein has a relaxed intensity
to it with creamy lemon curd flavors. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 13 03.
Dr. F. Weins-Prüm 2002 Riesling Eiswein WEHLENER
SONNENUHR - The Wehlener Sonnenuhr Eiswein is more intense with
a sharper acidity, but also apparently with a little botrytis that gives
the wine slightly raisiny fruit. I'd drink this wine young. Last digits
of A.P. Nr.: 14 03. $108/375 ML
Joh. Jos. Prüm Mosel valley
After observing that this may well be the greatest white wine estate on earth, what is left to say?
Joh. Jos. Prüm 2002 Riesling Kabinett GRAACHER
HIMMELREICH - The Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett shows
plenty of incipient apricot fruit in the nose and mouth. For the moment,
the wine lacks a touch of depth and grip, but I wouldn't be surprised
if that is just hidden by the structure and will come later. Last digits
of A.P. Nr.: 12 03.
Joh. Jos. Prüm 2002 Riesling Kabinett WEHLENER
SONNENUHR - No question about the Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett.
The wine is pure and deep with tremendous grip and acidity to support
the very deep, ripe, pure apricot fruit. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 10 03.
Joh. Jos. Prüm 2002 Riesling Spätlese GRAACHER
HIMMELREICH - Prüm's Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese
has characteristic grape-fruit peel flavors with great attack and grip
on the palate and fine length to the rose and peach fruit. As with all
Prüm wines, expect some cellaring until this is at its peak. Last
digits of A.P. Nr.: 6 03.
Joh. Jos. Prüm 2002 Riesling Spätlese WEHLENER
SONNENUHR - The wine has tremendous depth to its apricot aromas
and flavors, the dense, chewy tex-ture typical of J.J. Prüm wines,
and tremendous energy, electricity and depth. Last digits of A.P. Nr.:
Joh. Jos. Prüm 2002 Riesling Auslese GRAACHER
HIMMELREICH - The Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese is stony
but smooth and refined with lem-ony fruit and outstanding length. It's
way too young to be drinking 2002 Prüm wines, but this one is hard
to resist, even though it will improve with time. Last digits of A.P.
Nr.: 17 03.
Joh. Jos. Prüm 2002 Riesling Auslese WEHLENER
SONNENUHR - The Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese is sweeter
(although less so than some wines), and is more closed, but with great
depth and outstanding concentration and honeyed fruit. This is a superb
wine to lay away for a decade or so. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 13 03.
Joh. Jos. Prüm 2002 Riesling Gold Capsule Auslese
Bert Simon / Herrenberg Saar valley
This is the most underrated estate in the Saar, and perhaps the whole Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. The vineyards are impossibly steep and lately the wines Simon has been getting from them are pure Saar - stony and firm.
Bert Simon 2002 Riesling Spätlese TROCKEN SERRIG
HERRENBERG - The Serrig Herrenberg Riesling Spätlese trocken is
a rather full wine (12% alcohol) with an oily texture, stone and hay aromas
and flavors, and a firm, succulent texture with complete dryness but also
round, soft acids. The overall effect is airier than the Pfalz (which
is not far away), earthier than a Nahe wine, and richer, less nervy than
a Mosel. Allow the wine a few years in the cellar to mature and you will
have a surpris-ingly good wine to pair with food. Last digits of A.P.
Nr.: 11 03.
Bert Simon 2002 Riesling Spätlese TROCKEN WEISSER
BURGUNDER - Simon's Weisser Burgunder Riesling Spätlese trocken
is a real surprise - unchaptalized Pinot Blanc from the Saar Valley. The
wine is austere, steely, and earthy in the nose, but on the palate, there
is an attractive creaminess and light walnut flavors, sup-ported by bracing
Saar acidity. A good wine to pair with shell-fish, poultry, pork, as well
as a host of vegetarian foods. Last digits of A.P. Nr.:2 03.
Bert Simon 2002 Riesling Kabinett SERRIG HERRENBERG
- The Serrig Würtzberg Riesling Kabinett is classic Saar wine with
great attack on the palate from the acidity and deep, pure, dense, stony,
austere aromas and flavors that even-tually will round out to lush peaches
and apricots. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 5 03. $16.00
Bert Simon 2002 Riesling Spätlese SERRIG WÜRTZBERG
- Similarly, Simon's Serrig Würtzberg Riesling Spätlese is a classic
with stony, austere, dusty aromas and incipient apricot and stone flavors
with plenty of grip. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 7 03.
Bert Simon 2002 Riesling Auslese SERRIG WÜRTZBERG
- Finally, the Serrig Würtzberg Riesling Auslese has racy, spicy
fruit with some sweetness. At least as a young wine, this is for meals
and not dessert, but it is quite tightly wound and concentrated and may
yet blossom forth to something still more spectacular. Last digits of
A.P. Nr.: 8 03.
Zilliken Saar valley
To my taste, many of these wines simply do not have the nervy, firm acidic core that I used to find at this estate and that I consider a hallmark of Saar wines. They are good wines, but they could be even better.
Zilliken 2002 RIESLING BUTTERFLY - (essentially
a halbtrocken, but not so stated) Butterfly with its new label is a great
success. It shows beautiful white peach fruit with a juicy texture, length,
and great restraint. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 1403. $15.00
Zilliken 2002 RIESLING BUTTERFLY R - Meant
as a more luxurious wine, is a bit stonier in the nose, but with similar
riper white peach fruit in the mouth and a bit more succulence to the
body. To my taste, the acidity is not high enough to support this degree
of ripeness as successfully as in the regular Butterfly bottling. Last
digits of A.P. Nr.: 1303.
Zilliken 2002 RIESLING - Is attractive for
the slate lime fruit, but the wine is just a touch too soft on the palate
to deliver its full potential. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 11-03.
Zilliken 2002 Riesling Kabinett OCKFENER BOCKSTEIN
- Shows ginger in the nose and mouth and is medium-weight. An enjoyable
wine that would be better with more grip from higher acidity. Last digits
of A.P. Nr.:10-03.
Zilliken 2002 Riesling Kabinett SAARBURGER RAUSCH
- Shows fresh bushes and orange aromas, followed by a juicy chewy texture
with mint flavors and length but seems to be relatively low in acid. Last
digits of A.P. Nr.: 8 03. $20.00
Zilliken 2002 Riesling Spätlese OCKFENER BOCKSTEIN
- Is dense and almost chewy with stony aromas and flavors and even a hint
of date on the palate. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 7-03.
Zilliken 2002 Riesling Spätlese (AP 6) SAARBURGER
RAUSCH - Has rose petal and peach aromas and flavors with better
acidity than the Riesling Kabinett and nice balance. Last digits of A.P.
Nr.: 06 03. $29.00
Zilliken 2002 Riesling Spätlese (AP 4) SAARBURGER
RAUSCH - The second batch, an auction wine, has magnificent, subtle,
and complex delineations of lime blossom, vanilla, and a touch of date
in its nose and rich, viscous mouth. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 4-03.
Zilliken 2002 Riesling Auslese SAARBURGER RAUSCH
- The Saarburger Rausch Riesling Auslese is pleasing with orange and lemon
zest and peach aromas and flavors and a chewy texture, but the wine lacks
some concentration and nervosity. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 05 03. $45.00
Zilliken 2002 Riesling Auslese Gold Kapsule Auslese SAARBURGER RAUSCH - The following wines are all auction wines. Zilliken's Saarburger Rausch GKA is an amazing wine with powerful, botrytized, smoky lime aromas and flavors that seem to last forever. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 3 03. FWR 97
Zilliken 2002 Riesling Auslese Long Gold Kapsule
Auslese SAARBURGER RAUSCH - The Saarburger Rausch LGKA is simply
a richer, more intense version of the former, with just a little less
liveliness. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 2 03.
Zilliken 2002 Riesling Eiswein SAARBURGER RAUSCH
- The Saarburger Rausch Eiswein shows no botrytis, and instead lovely
lemon rind aromas and lemon curd flavors. However, as good as the wine
is, it lacks the cutting acidity that gives the crystalline quality to
the greatest Eisweine. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 1-03.
Schäfer-Fröhlich Nahe region
This estate has recently been able to acquire some high profile vineyards, but the home base Bockenauer Felseneck is no slouch, either. Based on these wines, the first I have ever tasted from the estate, it is headed toward the top rank of Nahe producers, as these exciting wines show.
Schäfer-Fröhlich 2002 Riesling Spätlese trocken MONZINGER
HALENBERG - The Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Spätlese trocken is
from a slate vineyard, and thus has the extra minerality and severity
of a Mosel property. For now, the wine is very dry and nervy from the
acidity and with great clarity - a perfect fit for raw shellfish. A few
years in the cellar should round the wine out and make it suitable for
a wider range of dishes. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 20-03.
Schäfer-Fröhlich 2002 Riesling trocken MONZINGER
FRÜHLINGSPLÄTZCHEN"Grosses Gewächs" -
Is austere and citric, as one would expect of its slate soils on steep
slopes. This is an austere wine with just a hint of brown sugar and some
earthy flavors that is probably best given 2-4 years to round out. Last
digits of A.P. Nr.: 23-03.
Schäfer-Fröhlich 2002 Riesling halbtrocken
- Is from vineyards planted on blue slate, quartz, and scree. The nose
shows mineral lime aromas, followed by ripe, pure lime fruit in the mouth.
Lovely for drinking over the next few years. Last digits of A.P. Nr.:
08 03. $16.00
Schäfer-Fröhlich 2002 Riesling halbtrocken BOCKENAUER
FELSENECK - Lacks the depth and potential of some of the other
wines here, but for drinking now, it is sheer delight. The residual sugar
rounds and softens the wine, but only leaves a slight suggestion of sweetness
to go with the crystalline clarity of the stony, mineral flavors and aromas
and the medium-weight body that is sleek but not aggressive. This is a
great wine for food. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 04 03.
Schäfer-Fröhlich 2002 Riesling Kabinett SCHLOSSBÖCKELHEIMER
FLESENBERG - The Bockenauer Felseneck Riesling Kabinett (which
I believe may be sold as estate Riesling Kabinett in the US) is very pure
with a dusty, stony nose, and white peach flavors that feature a touch
of spice and lemon. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 11-03.
Schäfer-Fröhlich 2002 Riesling Spätlese BOCKENAUER
FELSENECK - The Bockenauer Felseneck Riesling Spätlese has an interesting,
dusty nose that seems characteristic of the vineyard, followed by a crisp,
stony body with incipient peach fruit that shows certain lime overtones
and crys-talline clarity. For now, the acidity balances the sweetness
so the wine appears off-dry. An arresting wine that with time may be stunning.
Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 10-03.
Schäfer-Fröhlich 2002 Riesling Spätlese MONZINGER
HALENBERG - In contrast, the Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Spätlese
is more perfumed and floral in the nose, sweeter on the palate, and more
forward with a riper peach and apple fruit. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 13-03.
Schäfer-Fröhlich 2002 Riesling Spätlese MONZINGER
FRÜHLINGSPLÄTZCHEN - Somewhat rounder and richer than
the two foregoing, the Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling
Spätlese is a chewy, almost mouthfilling wine that sacrifices some elegance
for its power. The fruit still centers around peaches, but more of a yellow
peach with some earthiness. Here, too, the acidity for the moment makes
this wine almost off-dry in perception. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 12-03.
Schäfer-Fröhlich 2002 Riesling Spätlese (GOLD KAPSULE)
BOCKENAUER FELSENECK - Blue slate and some quartzite are the soils
for the Bockenauer Felseneck Gold Cap Riesling Spätlese. The wine has
a dusty rose nose, with crystalline acidity on the palate and Rheingau
ripeness to the peach flavors, and an interesting orange overtone. Last
digits of A.P. Nr.: 17 03.
Schäfer-Fröhlich 2002 Riesling Auslese BOCKENAUER
FELSENECK - Is bright, mineral and acidity with orange and strawberry
aromas and flavors. Give this wine some time to develop, but it is most
promising. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 27-03. $70/375 ML
Schäfer-Fröhlich 2002 Riesling Gold Kapsule Auslese
BOCKENAUER FELSENECK - This auction wine is little short of dazzling
for its strong botrytis expression in nose and mouth and excellent acidity.
Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 28-03.
Schäfer-Fröhlich 2002 Riesling (GOLD KAPSULE) Eiswein
BOCKENAUER FELSENECK - Finally, the Eiswein appears to have some
botrytis but also great purity and cutting sharpness from the acidity,
making this wine half-way between a classic Eiswein and a Riesling Beerenauslese.
Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 19-03.
Franz Künstler Rheingau region
How gratifying it is to see Gunther Künstler return to his rightful place as one of the most elite producers in Germany after a few inconsistent vintages.
Franz Künstler 2002 Riesling Spätlese trocken
Franz Künstler 2002 Riesling Auslese trocken
(dry) (HOCHHEIMER) HÖLLE
Franz Künstler 2002 Riesling Auslese trocken
(dry) (HOCHHEIMER) KIRCHENSTÜCK
Franz Künstler 2002 Riesling halbtrocken
Franz Künstler 2002 Riesling Kabinett (HOCHHEIMER)
Franz Künstler 2002 Riesling Spätlese
Franz Künstler 2002 Riesling Gold Kapsule Auslese
Franz Künstler 2002 Riesling Eiswein (HOCHHEIMER)
Wegeler Rheingau region
Olivier Haag, son of Wilhelm Haag of the great Fritz Haag estate in Brauneberg, is the winemaker here, and his products live up to expectations.
Wegeler 2002 Riesling Kabinett trocken (dry) OESTRICHER
Wegeler 2002 Riesling GEHEIM RAT "J" Riesling
Spätlese trocken (dry)
Wegeler 2002 Riesling Spätlese trocken (dry)
Wegeler 2002 Riesling halbtrocken (medium-dry)
Wegeler 2002 Riesling Kabinett
Wegeler 2002 Riesling Spätlese RÜDESHEIMER
Wegeler 2002 Riesling Spätlese RÜDESHEIMER
Wegeler 2002 Riesling Auslese GEISENHEIMER ROTHENBERG
Wegeler 2002 Riesling Eiswein GEISENHEIMER ROTHENBERG
Robert Weil Rheingau region
These were the highest musts at Weil since 1976.
Robert Weil 2002 Riesling trocken (dry)
Robert Weil 2002 Riesling Spätlese trocken (dry)
Robert Weil 2002 Riesling (dry / "First Growth")
Robert Weil 2002 Riesling Kabinett halbtrocken (medium-dry)
Robert Weil 2002 Riesling
Robert Weil 2002 Riesling Kabinett
Robert Weil 2002 Riesling Spätlese
Robert Weil 2002 Riesling Spätlese KIEDRICHER
Robert Weil 2002 Riesling Auslese KIEDRICHER GRÄFENBERG
Robert Weil 2002 Riesling Eiswein KIEDRICHER GRÄFENBERG
Robert Weil 2002 Riesling Beerenauslese (BA) KIEDRICHER
Robert Weil 2002 Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA)
From one of Germany's greatest estates, the Hasselbachs continue to turn out great wines at all levels.
Gunderloch 2002 Riesling trocken (APN 06 03)
Gunderloch 2002 "JEAN-BAPTISTE" Riesling
Kabinett (APN 02 03) $17.00
Gunderloch 2002 DIVA Riesling Spätlese
Gunderloch 2002 Riesling Spätlese NACKENHEIM
Gunderloch 2002 Riesling Auslese NACKENHEIM ROTHENBERG
Gunderloch 2002 Riesling Gold Kapsule Auslese NACKENHEIM
Reichsrat von Buhl Pfalz region
Jan Kux has replaced Frank John as the winemaker here, and the resulting wines are more forward in style, although still outstanding.
von Buhl 2001 RIESLING SEKT BRUT
von Buhl 2002 Riesling Kabinett trocken (dry)
von Buhl 2002 Riesling Kabinett trocken (dry) DEIDESHEIMER
von Buhl 2002 Riesling Spätlese trocken
von Buhl 2002 Riesling Spätlese trocken (dry)
von Buhl 2002 Riesling (Spätlese trocken / dry
"First Growth") (RUPERTSBERG) REITERPFAD
von Buhl 2002 "MARIA SCHNEIDER JAZZ" Riesling
von Buhl 2002 "ARMAND" Riesling Kabinett
von Buhl 2002 Riesling Spätlese FORSTER JESUITENGARTEN
von Buhl 2002 Riesling Gold Kapsule Auslese FORSTER
Pfeffingen Pfalz region
Perhaps it is because Pfeffingen is so consistent and reliable that it often does not receive the attention it deserves. 2002 is another outstanding collection here, as did 2001, 2000 (that most difficult of vintages, especially in the Pfalz) and so on. With this vintage, Jan Eymael, son of Doris Fuhrmann-Eymael, has now taken over operations and presents a most promising future.
Pfeffingen 2002 Riesling trocken (dry)
Pfeffingen 2002 Riesling Spätlese trocken (dry)
Pfeffingen 2002 "PFEFFO" Riesling Kabinett
Pfeffingen 2002 Riesling Spätlese UNGSTEINER
Pfeffingen 2002 Scheurebe Spätlese UNGSTEINER
Pfeffingen 2002 Gewürztraminer Spätlese
Pfeffingen 2002 Scheurebe Gold Kapsule Auslese (UNGSTEINER
Pfeffingen 2002 Scheurebe Beerenauslese (UNGSTEINER
Ökonomierat Rebholz Pfalz region
These are the first wines I've had from Rebholz, the Southern Pfalz's most famous producer and one of the few producers in that sub-region who has a reputation for Riesling. We are actually closer to the northern Alsace town of Wissembourg than to the central Pfalz villages of Forst, Deidesheim, etc. Both wines are Erstes Gewächs. They are very different because the terroirs are different.
Rebholz 2002 Riesling (Spätlese trocken) (BIRKWEILER)
Rebholz 2002 Riesling (Spätlese trocken) (SIEBELDINGEN)
Hans Wirsching Franken region
As usual, a great collection here.
Wirsching 2002 Silvaner dry
Wirsching 2002 Silvaner Spätlese trocken (dry)
IPHÖFER JULIUS-ECHTER BERG
Wirsching 2002 Pinot Blanc (Weissburgunder) Spätlese
trocken (dry) IPHÖFER KRONSBERG
Wirsching 2002 Scheurebe Spätlese trocken (dry)
Wirsching 2002 Riesling Spätlese trocken (dry)
Wirsching 2002 Riesling Eiswein IPHÖFER KRONSBERG
Wirsching 2002 Rieslaner Beerenauslese (BA) IPHÖFER
Wirsching 2002 Rieslaner Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA)
Rudolf Fürst Franken region
Fürst 2002 Müller-Thurgau Kabinett trocken
Fürst 2002 BUNTSANDSTEIN-TERRASSEN ALTER SATZ
VON RIESLING & SILVANER
Fürst 2002 Pinot Blanc (Weisser Burgunder)
Fürst 2002 Riesling Kabinett trocken (dry) BÜRGSTADTER
Fürst 2002 Riesling Spätlese trocken (dry)
Fürst 2002 Riesling Auslese BÜRGSTADT CENTGRAFENBERG
Fürst 2002 Riesling Eiswein BÜRGSTADT CENTGRAFENBERG
Dr. Heger / Weinhaus Heger Baden region
The loess soils of Ihringer Winklerberg are supposed to make it most favorable to Grauburgunder and Weissburgunder (Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, respectively), but these wines demonstrate that other varietals thrive there, too.
Dr. Heger 2002 Silvaner Kabinett trocken (dry) IHRINGER
Dr. Heger 2002 Muskateller Kabinett trocken (dry)
Dr. Heger 2002 Riesling Spätlese *** trocken
(dry) IHRINGER WINKLERBERG
Dr. Heger 2002 Riesling Spätlese ACHKARRER SCHLOSSBERG
Weinhaus Heger 2002 Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc)
"Q" trocken (dry)
Weinhaus Heger 2002 Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) "Q"
Rudi Wiest Selections
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