Old Grunhaus is awesome, David. Hope that bottle shows well.
And yes, this was a part of a few special Riesling events. I'd be pretty envious of some others myself if I hadn't been able to attend that EMP dinner with the Kellers and Katharina Prum.
More notes, from night II of Rieslingfeier - and barely even the tip of the iceberg on the wines opened and poured. It was just excessive.RIESLINGFEIER - BYOB MAIN EVENT - Rouge Tomate, NYC (2/16/2013)
Rough impressions in many cases, and lots omitted - so much great wine going around I wasn't even trying to keep track after a couple of hours.
- 2007 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Großes Gewächs - Germany, Nahe
Drinking superbly now. A broad yet very elegant palate presence, layers of smoke, stone and fresh citrus and pear fruit all coming together seamlessly; more gentle and understated than the Kellers and quite a stylistic contrast.
- 2008 Weingut Keller Dalsheimer Hubacker Riesling Großes Gewächs - Germany, Rheinhessen
So youthful and tightly wound, but very pure, focused and impeccably balanced. Pure grapefruit, lemon and pear over a firm mineral base with gentle herbal and minty accents developing with air. Lovely.
- 2008 Weingut Keller Westhofener Morstein Riesling Großes Gewächs - Germany, Rheinhessen
Wow! Out of the horizontal of '08 Keller dry wines at our table, this was the most impressive for me - such depth of fruit, minerality, smoky and herbal accents emerging with air, and a remarkable combination of power and finesse with amazing length.
- 2008 Weingut Keller Westhofen Brunnenhäuschen Abtserde ("Abtse®.de") Riesling Großes Gewächs - Germany, Rheinhessen
Nice to revisit this a night after the EMP dinner, though it again feels rather youthful and a little closed. At this dinner, I wasn't able to give it as much time and air as at EMP, and it didn't show quite the same depth, but it's still very impressive - incredibly pure fruit, fresh herbs and a vivid briny/saline element beneath, and very well balanced with amazing length.
- 2008 Weingut Keller Riesling G-Max - Germany, Rheinhessen
A broader, more powerful expression of Riesling than the Abtserde and Morstein. Despite the hype about this bottling, I think I preferred those two wines in 2008 - the balance on this is stunning with amazing power, depth and length, though it doesn't show quite the same finesse and elegance as the Abtserde or Morstein. There's a spectrum of fruit ranging from tarter lemony flavours to riper peach and other stone fruits, a vivid mineral base beneath and a very polished, almost creamy texture. A remarkable wine, though for me this was more impressive than charming.
- 2006 Weingut Keller Westhofen Brunnenhäuschen Abtserde ("Abtse®.de") Riesling Großes Gewächs - Germany, Rheinhessen
From jeroboam (thanks Robert!), and it comes across more fresh and youthful than the '06 Abtserde that was served the previous evening at EMP. The alcoholic heat I noticed then wasn't as noticeable here, though it still feels like a very big wine, and while fantastic now, I'm not sure how gracefully this will age given its ripeness and alcohol.
- 1990 Von Schubert Maximin Grünhauser Abtsberg Riesling Spätlese trocken - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Just a stunning dry Riesling. A beautiful fragrance with green citrus and orchard fruits, mature smoky and burnished elements and that classic Grunhaus forestal/herbal character, and it's amazingly delicate and light on the palate, lean and dry and yet never austere or harsh, despite its razor sharp acidity. Fantastic.
- 1995 Schloss Lieser Niederberg Helden Riesling Kabinett - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Such a delicate, ethereal Kabinett - there's such a sense of lightness and purity to the fruit here; classic Mosel apples and pear with some developing smokiness and lemon cream notes, and just barely a trace of perceptible sweetness.
- 2001 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Nice to encounter this again after my only bottle a couple of years ago was corked. Thanks David. It comes across very youthful and primary still, not showing the same developed complexity as the '97, but it's made of the same material with fantastic purity of fruit, great balance and a really crystalline palate presence, and I imagine this will only keep getting better over the next few years.
- 2001 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Very pretty with fresh lime and stone fruit flavours tinged by gentle creaminess and slate, though it's a bit disappointing given my usual standards for Müller - it's nicely balanced, but it's not the fireworks display that I've come to expect from most vintages of his Scharzhofberger Spätlese.
- 2001 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese #3 - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Corked. NR (flawed)
- 1997 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Absolutely stunning. Youthful Mosel fruit, minerality and florality coming together so seamlessly with the start of developing creamy and smoky notes, and all conveyed with that elegance and finesse that always marks Schaefer's wines.
- 2002 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Nahe
Solid, but not particularly interesting. Well balanced, but this just struggled on a table with some tremendous Rieslings. Mainly opened to contrast with the corresponding Auction Spätlese, which blew this away.
- 2002 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Rutsch Riesling Spätlese Auction - Germany, Nahe
What a contrast from the regular Spatlese. This is absolutely electric. Opulent and flamboyant with ripe floral-tinged peach, orange and white cherry, but underneath the acidity is just off the charts and keeps this so vibrant and nervy. Even though it has the richness and sweetness of modern Auslese, it's so elegant and light on its feet. Riesling with the voltage turned way, way up.
- 1966 Schloss Reinhartshausen Erbacher Bruhl Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Rheingau
Oh, wow. Such a complex, haunting fragrance with mature fruit, honey, smoky, herbal and more savoury burnished notes all coming together, and just an incredible regal presence on the palate - it's powerful and still very fresh at this age, yet at the same time there's an amazingly delicate touch and a polished, glossy texture. The finish is remarkable - this just stays with you, and the flavours keep unfolding long after each sip. Utterly amazing wine.
- 1996 Zilliken (Forstmeister Geltz) Saarburger Rausch Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
This is all about precision and focus. Still remarkably young with fresh pear, lime and stone fruit flavours accented with fresh herbs and mineral notes, and beneath there's a powerful acid spine that keeps it really vibrant and focused.
- 2001 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese * - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Awesome. A basket of freshly picked apples, limes, strawberries seasoned with slate, honey and spice, and there's such vibrancy and freshness to the flavours here with really bright acids cutting through the richness and keeping this so elegant and precise. A real wow wine, thanks Seth.
- 1990 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
This was just insane. Such complexity, depth and vibrancy, and a finish that just kept resonating.
- 1985 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Softer and more creamy than the '90 (not surprisingly), but still quite delicious with a spectrum of ripe Mosel fruit, honey, spice and maturing smokiness and fusel notes coming together on a medium weight frame. It's very polished and graceful on the palate, finishing long though it does leave me wanting just a touch more acidity.
- 1998 Müller-Catoir Mußbacher Eselshaut Rieslaner Auslese - Germany, Pfalz
Amazingly vivid and fiery Rieslaner that just woke my palate right back up late in the evening after a lot of Riesling. A core of ripe apricots and tropical fruits seasoned with flamboyant high toned spicy notes and some developed burnished elements, so powerful, vibrant and long. Those old Catoirs are just fantastic.
After a while, I wasn't even trying to keep track of the wines, and in other cases (the 1971 Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr TBA or a '73 Steinberger BA-Eiswein), I had and still have no words - the '71 Prum TBA was absurd beyond words.
And I'll also add that perhaps for the Donnhoff-doesn't-age crowd, a trio of '98 Spatlesen from Brucke, Hermannshohle and Kupfergrube were all quite lovely, and a '90 Brucke Auslese was very pretty, savoury, mature and polished.