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Keith M

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The Maximin approach to bliss

by Keith M » Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:11 am

Ran into these wines in a state liquor store while visiting New Hampshire, and they proved welcome additions to take advantage of a case sale on German and Spanish wines. My previous limited experience with von Schubert/Maximin Grünhaus had attracted my interest and these wines deepened my appreciation of the producer/location and increased my determination to make a visit when back in euroland. These wines were stunning . . .

2006 Von Schubert Maximin Grünhauser Herrenberg Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Riesling Kabinett (off-dry) (Ruwer, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany) cork closure, 10% - imported to USA by Valckenberg International - appears straw gold, tiny bit of suspended bubbles within, smell nose a bit closed, nice recessed mineral, very subdued, with a swirl, POW, a lot more sweet rocks, very welcoming, taste fizz upfront, steely rock yet quite rounded, easy fun, almost spicy quality to the rocks, wonderful grabbing fruit, pleasant through and through with a lot more intensity than sweetness, on day two, perhaps a bit more delicate, layered melon and lime with rocky outcroppings, very pleasant while being quite intense, a great tightrope wine, would visit again at $24/$21 with discount,

aside: while I don't have enough experience in this estate, vineyard, or riesling in general to make an informed call, this wine seemed to be holding something back for the future and was keeping its cards close to its chest, the QbA below was fabulous and if I had any more it would have problems lasting a month--it brought so much pleasure, I could see no reason to hold it, the spätlese below was wonderful now and pleasant, but some of the savory notes seemed to indicate interesting things in the future, this kabinett, while certainly pleasant, seemed only to tease that wonderful things might be in store for a suitor with sufficient patience, but it certainly would not do to give too much detail now, oh no, it simply wouldn't do . . .

2006 Von Schubert Maximin Grünhauser Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Riesling QbA (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany) cork closure, 8.5% - imported to USA by Valckenberg International – appears medium gold, smell bit of sweaty feet at first, after a bit rocks come out, light dancing sweetness, taste very nice finely bound and integrated fizz, full rounded not quite rich sweetness combined with wonderful lightness and tartness, wonderful delicious buzz within with great fruit, sweet but ideally balanced and addictive beyond belief, great acid, delicious, delicious, delicious, delicious, delicious, back-and-forth playful delicious, $20/$17 with discount, and, at that price, I do not understand how there is not civil unrest throughout the country demanding this wine, protest movements demanding more equitable distribution, poetry slams singing its praises, offbeat references to the wine in pop culture and among folk artists and hip hop performers, addition of a third spigot spouting this wine into the sinks of the rich and famous, this is wow stuff for me

2006 Von Schubert Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Riesling Spätlese (Ruwer, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany) cork closure, 8% - appears bit darker shade of gold, slight clingers at first, smell sweet round rocks, bare hint of seawater, beautiful moss-covered rocks, some suggestion of pineapple juice, almost hint of herbs at times, mouthfeel just a touch of heaviness, but great flow, touch of fizziness, taste great sweetness, followed by dainty tart, beautiful white pepper touch of spice, tasty melon, perhaps pear, juicy and far too delicious, clean pointed finish, at times some interesting savory elements, simply intense and delicious, how much is there to say? $30/$25 with discount
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by John S » Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:14 am

Great notes, Keith! I particularly loved the note on the QPA: it sounds like you enjoyed it! Unfortunately, we no longer get any Max Grunhauser where I live, but they used to be great wines very well priced. It appears 2006 was a good vintage for them.

I guess the Ruwer is well situated for all these hot Summers/Falls they are having in Germany lately. Who would have thought only 10 years that the nether region of the Ruwer would be well placed with its cooler climate?!?!
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by Fredrik L » Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:00 am

If you liked these wines, try to find the 2005s! The Ausleses from this year range from very, very good to stunning in my book! And you can still find them for less than $35 in Germany!

Greetings / Fredrik L
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David M. Bueker

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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by David M. Bueker » Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:49 am

Holding back something for the future is the definition of Maximin Grunhaus. Even their QbAs can last 15+ years & still be fascinating drinking. There was a change in winemakers around 2005, but from what I have tasted the inherent ageability is still there.
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by Michael A » Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:04 pm

Hi all, this is my first post and I like the amount of German threads here. I have been a big fan of Maximin Grunhauser's wines.
My latest bottles I have enjoyed this year are the 2002 Abstberg Spatlese. 2005 Herrenberg Kabinett. What can I say...I love these wines, very flavorful and crisp. I have not had a 2006 yet.
I have a 2002 Abstberg Auslese #93 in my cellar. Has anyone tasted this wine? I would like a regular person's opinion instead of a critics.

Thanks
Michael
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by Fredrik L » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:12 am

Michael A wrote:I have a 2002 Abstberg Auslese #93 in my cellar. Has anyone tasted this wine? I would like a regular person's opinion instead of a critic


I just had it once in 2004 and I remember it as being high-acid and intense with a prominent tobacco note. Certainly a very good wine, but perhaps not great. Should have aged well!

Greetings / Fredrik L
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by David Lole » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:49 am

Michael A wrote:Hi all, this is my first post and I like the amount of German threads here. I have been a big fan of Maximin Grunhauser's wines......... I have a 2002 Abstberg Auslese #93 in my cellar. Has anyone tasted this wine? I would like a regular person's opinion instead of a critics.

Thanks
Michael


Firstly, a warm welcome to the WLDG board, Michael.

Re the Grunhauser Auslese's -

I was lucky enough to secure (at very reasonable prices) a couple of cases of Carl von Schubert's special "fuder" (numbered) Auslese's with some bottles dating back to the eighties. Luckily, I still have quite a number of bottles from the vintages of 1994 and 1998 resting peacefully in my cellar. Some years back, John Trombley Jr., once this forum's resident German wine guru (that role now filled by the most talented and knowledgeable, David M. Bueker, IMHO) admonished me, on more than occasion, for not keeping my hands off these beautiful wines until they came into "their own" at a "minimum" of twenty years of age. I've come to appreciate his sage advice as these wines undertake a stunning development curve as they move through their second decade of existence. So in the meantime, I've scored a case each of von Schubert's regular Spatlese and Auslese from 1998, and, blow me down, these look to be of wonderful quality, remarkable purity and incredibly youthful, too. Sadly, my source for this maker evaporated and I have not purchased any subsequent vintages.

Hope you can keep your hands off your bottle for quite some time to come! :wink:

Just for the sake of it, I include my tasting note from April 2007 of the '98 Spatlese -

Maximin Grunhauser Abstberg Riesling Spatlese 1998 - 92 points

For a 1998 this excrutiatingly tight wine displayed very little colour development, a little sulphur on the nose at first, followed closely by lovely red currants, traces of minerals and lemon merangue. The palate is drop-dead gorgeous, albeit very steely and tightly bound by mouth-watering acidity. Quite a gorgeous wine that must gain a higher rating as it evolves over the next twenty years. Bravo!
Cheers,

David
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by JeanF » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:07 pm

Michael A wrote:I have a 2002 Abstberg Auslese #93 in my cellar. Has anyone tasted this wine? I would like a regular person's opinion instead of a critics.

Had it last week - very good but not great. Botrytis is not the cleanest. Still far too sweet. To my taste needs another 5 years I think.
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by JeanF » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:09 pm

Keith M wrote:2006 Von Schubert Maximin Grünhauser Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Riesling QbA (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany) cork closure, 8.5% - imported to USA by Valckenberg International

No wonder you liked this, it was made exclusively from fruit out of the Abtsberg, the best vineyard. But since the Estate does no longer want to produce a Abtsberg QbA besides their Superior bottling (Superior also in pricing :D ), they let Valckenberg import it into the US as Estate wine.
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by David M. Bueker » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:14 pm

Gosh - drinking 2006 Grunhaus. I'm still sitting on my '99 QbAs. I haven't even started to think about opening '83 Auslese. These are the wines I think of when I talk of how well Riesling can age (and defuse early judgements on very young wines - e.g. the initial reports on the Grunhaus 2001s).
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by JeanF » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:22 pm

Who would make you think that I drink 2006? I am drinking 1971 (had a great Abtsberg Fuder Nr. 49 over the weekend), 1976 and sometimes 1993 because it is so irresistibly good :)

Oh and I shocked David S, John G and Klaus-Peter Keller with a Abtsberg QbA 1987 - they loved it.
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by David M. Bueker » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:27 pm

The 1993s are delicious right now. I still have a little kabinett, but it's going fast.
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by JeanF » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:16 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:The 1993s are delicious right now. I still have a little kabinett, but it's going fast.

The ABtsberg Nr 83 1993 remains for me the single best expression of Riesling. Bottles directly from the Estate are unfortunately still closed and only great on day three. But then - it is heaven... unless you are DÖnnhoff fan :D
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by David M. Bueker » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:34 pm

Cask numbered auslesen from Grünhaus are my definition of heaven. While Dönnhoff may be my favorite producer, the cask numbered auslesen are my favorite wines.
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by Michael A » Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:58 am

Thank you all for the great information. It is very appreciated. After reading the posts I went wine hunting here in Eugene (OR) I went a store that I usually do not go to, and found two 2005 Abstberg Spatlese for $30 USD west coast and two JJ Prum 2005 Graacher Himmelreich Spatlese $36 USD and one 2006 JJ Christoffel Erben Erdener Treppchen Spatlese $24.50 USD.(what's with the screw cap on a Spatlese?) I researched before I bought and they seemed to be good deals. Any comments? would love to know what people in Germany pay for such wines.
Thanks again

Michael
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by David M. Bueker » Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:49 am

Michael A wrote:2006 JJ Christoffel Erben Erdener Treppchen Spatlese $24.50 USD.(what's with the screw cap on a Spatlese?)


I like to refer to it as progress.

Christoffel has been slowly adding more screwcaps to the lineup, as have many other growers. Strub, Pfeffingen, Gunderloch, Meulenhof & Kerpen (glass closure here) are just some of the producers that have made a real commitment to cork alternatives. I applaud their actions, and as of the 2008 vintage, they and others who go for alternatives will be the only ones getting my business (a one vintage push back from my original date of the 2007 vintage).

Will I miss Prum, Grunhaus and Donnhoff (to name a few )? Sure. But I think consumers need to send a message about having no tolerance for cork problems.
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by Michael A » Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:37 pm

David,
I have to agree with you on many fronts, I have had my share (and disappointments) with moldy corks and corked wines at an expense.
I guess I am just a traditionalist. I thought with with the higher predicate wines the corks would be closely inspected on the bottling line to try pick out any questionable corks. When we made short runs of reserve style wines we would always go through the corks as best we could for some added insurance. I understand with huge bottling runs this is not cost effective. I really liked the decorative foils. Times are a changin'.
Thanks for you knowledge.

Michael
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by David M. Bueker » Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:54 pm

Michael A wrote:I thought with with the higher predicate wines the corks would be closely inspected on the bottling line to try pick out any questionable corks.


I know several producers who use special grades of corks (longer, better quality of the cork bark) for their best wines, but that does not rule out the TCA bug. There's no visual inspection for that.
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by Jim Brennan » Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:02 pm

David:

Locally a store has a Max Grun 2006 with a wine label that simply reads "Qualitatswein"... should I take this to be the equivalent of an estate wine, or is this indicating that it is the QbA (one would think it would be labeled as such, if it were)?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by David M. Bueker » Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:04 pm

Jim Brennan wrote:David:

Locally a store has a Max Grun 2006 with a wine label that simply reads "Qualitatswein"... should I take this to be the equivalent of an estate wine, or is this indicating that it is the QbA (one would think it would be labeled as such, if it were)?

Thanks in advance.


It's both. Look closely at the label & at the bottom you might see the whole version of QbA. I know they shortened it to just Qualitatswein (getting rid of the bA), but thought that was for '07. I could be wrong.
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by Jim Brennan » Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:01 am

After an exhaustive search, I have confirmed a reference to QbA on the back label in something like 8 point type. :)

Thanks David.
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by David M. Bueker » Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:51 am

Jim Brennan wrote:After an exhaustive search, I have confirmed a reference to QbA on the back label in something like 8 point type. :)


FYI - If it's a Valckenberg import the wine is likely from the Abstberg vineyard & thus a step up from the normal Grunhaus QbA (usually from Brudersberg).
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by Jim Brennan » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:28 pm

It's Valckenberg... fwiw the AP# is 23 (3 536 014-23-07)
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Re: The Maximin approach to bliss

by JeanF » Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:29 am

David M. Bueker wrote: it's a step up from the normal Grunhaus QbA (usually from Brudersberg).

Is the Estate QbA from Bruderberg? I never really thought about this - I would have said that it is "from whatever is left over" and hence statistically more likely to be from the Herrenberg ...
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