Connoisseurs consider Riesling the purest, noblest and most flavourful of all white wine grapes. In the 18th century, German Rieslings fetched higher prices than Sauternes wines from Bordeaux.
Unfortunately, due to marketing errors in North America, Riesling has lost a lot of ground in the last five years. Yet there are encouraging signs that the variety is gaining market share and may some time in the future challenge the ubiquitous Chardonnay now grown everywhere.
Riesling happens to be a particular, maybe even capricious, grape that needs cool climate and well-drained soil. It ripens late, is high in acidity, and can withstand temperatures for a few days only.
“Riesling is made in the vineyard” goes the saying. The veracity of this saying is undisputable. Yields exceeding five tones per hectare result in diluted wines of little appeal and concentration.
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, now simply called Mosel, happens to grow some of the most alluring wines in villages dotting the lovely, meandering Mosel River.
The Saar, a contributory to the Mosel, yields extraordinary wines that can be cellared for decades without loosing its flavour and aromatic appeal.
Most Mosel vineyard holdings are small and on steep or very steep slopes with vines staked individually. Some vineyards are so steep that grapes must be transported from the top of the vineyard to the bottom by pulleys.
Vintages play an important role, as climatic conditions change every year. 1983, 1988, 1889, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003,2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009, were outstanding and worth cellaring, especially auslese and above quality level.
Riesling’s high acidity level preserves the wine. In fact, old Riesling with an old gold yellow, enticing petrol aromas underlined with lively fruit can be extremely satisfying.
German Rieslings represent excellent value. On average a premium Mosel vineyard requires approximately 4000 hours of labour per hectare every year a vineyard in southern Cotes du Rhone more or less 400 – 500 hours. Yet Mosel wines sell for less than their Cotes du Rhone counterparts. I believe German Rieslings in general, Mosel Rieslings in particular are best white wine values going.
Some of the consistently best wine producers of Mosel are:
Von othergraven, Dr. F. Wiens-Prum, J.J. Prum, Robert Eymael, Bert Simon, Geschwister Simon, Dr. Pauly Bergweiler, Dr. H. Thanisch, K. Hain, Scloss Lieser, J. Haart, Studert-Prum, Graus-Fassian, von Howel, Selbach-Oster, Dr. Loosen.
All above enjoy an excellent reputation and maintain their vienatrds to yield small crops of hiogh quality.
Due to small quantities these wineries produce their wines are available only through the Vintages releases, and the very best are offered through the Classics Catalogue of the L.C.B.O.
Kanzemer Altenberg, 2004, von Othegraven
Ockfener Bockstein, Auslese, 2004, von Othergraven
Kanzemer Altenberg 2005, Spatlese, von Othergraven
Kanzemer Altenberg, Auslese, 2003, von Othergraven
Erbacher Marcobrunn, Trockenbeerenaulese, 2003, Schloss Schonborn, Rheingau
Nackhenheim Rotherberg, Trockbeerenauslese, 2003, Gunderloch, Rheingau
Wehlener Sonnenuhr, 2003, Dr.F. Wiens-Prum
Bernkasteler Doctor, 2003, Dr. Thanisch
Wehlener Sonnenuhr, 2003, Studert-Prum
Seeriger Schlossberg, 2003, Auslese, Schloss Saarstein
Ayler Kupp, Kabinett, 2008, Geschwister Sim
Graacher Domprobst, Auslese, 2008, Selbach-Oster
Waldenzer Elisenberg, Auslese, 2006, Max Ferdinand Richter
Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Auslese, 2006, Selbach-Oster
Brauneberger Juffer, Spatlese, 2002, Reichsgraf von Kesselstadt
Graacher Domprobst, Auslese, 2004, J.J. Prum