EXPLORING THE WORLD’S BEST WHITE WINE REGION

Mosel is the oldest and arguably the best known of 13 wine regions in Germany. It takes its name from the picturesque Mosel River that flows through it (French: Moselle).  Prior to the 2007 vintage, the region was listed on labels as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer; the name was eventually shortened to be more “consumer-friendly.” Mosel is Germany‘s third largest wine region in terms of production.  The region stretches the length of the twisting Mosel River and along its two tributaries, the Saar and the Ruwer.  The Mosel Valley is well known for its steep, terraced hillsides abutting the river banks. In fact, the steepest recorded vineyard in the world, the Mosel’s Calmont vineyard belonging to the village of Bremm,  The Mosel Wine Region is where magic happens because of it’s soil, topography,  and climate it produces in my opinion The World’s Greatest White Wine.  “RIESLING”

Recently, I visited a few of the region’s outstanding wineries to find out how these world class Rieslings are made. Cheers

 

Weingut S.A. Prum20160402_211729

The Prum family story dates back to 1156 when they owned vineyards throughout the mid-Mosel, including parcels in the towns of Bernkastel, Graach, Wehlen and Zeltingen. Current owner Raimund Prum, aka “The Red Prum,” took over the reigns in 1971, following the unforeseen passing of his young father. From an early age Raimund’s sole focus was to become a great winemaker. He left home to start studying wine at the University.  At the age of 20 he received an urgent message that his father was extremely ill. Sadly, Raimund lost his father within the year.

As Raimund assumed the helm of the family, caring for his mother and two sisters, he never gave up his childhood dream of becoming a great winemaker and producer of world-class Riesling.  His dream and resolve to manage his family’s winery propelled him to convince a banker to take a chance on a young 21 year-old with a plan and a dream to make great wine.

Today, the estate owns 40 hectares of vineyards and holds contracts on an additional 60 hectares within the Mosel.  Prum produces 15 different Rieslings— all world-class wines full of freshness, acidity and minerality with fruit bursting out of the glass.

During my tasting at S.A. Prum I tried 30 wines from various vintages and every Riesling was of the highest quality.  Raimond Prum is truly a winemaker of unmeasured talent in the Mosel.

S.A. Prum’s best-selling wine in the USA is Essence.  Available at P.F. Chang’s, this wine is a refreshing, easy-drinking Riesling. #Goodjuice

S.A. Prum Blue is an off-dry Riesling with stone fruit, ripe acidity and a bee’s wax finish.  This is a beautiful, reasonably priced, dry Riesling.  Cheers

S.A. Prum Wehlemer Sonnenhur 2008. Notes of pineapple and apricot. This wine has character, complexity and a long, salty, elegant finish. Cheers, #Goodjuice

S.A. Prum Bernkasteler Lay 2010.  Pure apricot on the palate.  Lovely and salty with balance throughout the finish. WOW #Goodjuice

 

 

Weingut St. Urbans–Hof20160330_205731

This winery was founded in 1947 by Nicolaus Weis who held a strong conviction that the fragile unity of viticulture and nature must be recognized and respected.

In 1997 Nicolaus’ grandson Nik(olaus) joined the winery to work alongside his father Hermann who had overseen operations since the 1960s.  Today St. Urbans-Hof is the second largest family-owned winery in the Mosel.  I first met Nik in Fort Lauderdale over lunch.  After tasting his wines, I knew I must visit Mosel to examine the soil that gave birth to such world-class wines. I had the pleasure of visiting the Weis family estate in Leiwen to taste their amazing Rieslings.  Sitting alongside several of Germany’s future sommeliers, all enjoyed an array of traditional German cuisine as we sampled some 21+ wines of the Kabinett, Spatlese, and Auslese style Rieslings. The estate wines range not only in style, but also in price – there is something for everyone’s financial and literal palate.  I sensed many unique qualities in these wines, a true reflection of the region’s distinct and special terroir.

The St. Urbans-Hof wines are bursting with ripe acidity and minerality, making them a perfect choice for pairing with German, Thai, or other spicy cuisine.

St. Urbans-Hof 2014 Urban ($15). This is Nik Wies’ best-selling wine in the USA.  A fun easy-to-drink wine for a hot summer day. Nice acidity and good fruit.

St. Urbans-Hof Goldtropfchen Piesport Spatlese Riesling 2004.   Made from grapes 80+ years old. Boasts honeysuckle fruit and a great creamy mid-palate to the finish.  # Goodjuice

St. Urbans-Hof Goldtropfchen Spatlese 1999.  WOW – fresh, lemon rind, honey, green apple, and pear.  The long finish was pure lemon drop. Cheers #Goodjuice

 

Weigunt Clemens Busch20160401_114834

The Clemens Busch winery is one of the top producers of Dry Organic Riesling in Germany. The estate is located in the village of Pünderich (near Bernkastel) far down stream in the Mosel wine-growing region. The family lives in a restored 1663 timber-framed house that sits directly on the banks of the Mosel River. A vaulted cellar constructed in the 1970s lies further uphill to avoid potential flooding. Rita and Clemens Busch have overseen the day-to-day business operations since 1986. They have a total of 11 hectares under vines in the Pünderich locations of Marienburg and Nonnengarten.  The Busch’s maintain a strong commitment to ecological and organic wine making.

Special attention is paid at the Busch winery to the cultivation of resistant grapevines. This is achieved above all through the use of natural fertilizers, clay minerals and plant extracts. The grapes are only squeezed lightly or left whole before pressing at very low pressure. The best batches are then fermented in stainless steel, the others in wood.

To emphasize the specific differences that exist within the Marienburg vineyard, the corresponding wines still bear the names of the old plots. These include in particular the Fahrlay and Fahrlay-Terrassen, Falkenlay and Raffes, as well as Rothenpfad and Felsterrasse. Accordingly, the blue slate of the Fahrlay plot produces a Riesling with a particularly intensive mineral flavour and slightly salty notes in the finish, whereas the grey slate of the Falkenlay plot produces particularly creamy, fruit-driven Rieslings.

Grey slate dominates in the original Pündericher Marienburg location and this is where the grapes for »Großes Gewächs Marienburg GG« are harvested among others. This is an outstanding Riesling with a particularly fine yellow peach, mango aroma. The harmoniously integrated acidity gives the wine an invigorating freshness with a powerful finish, very good structure and backbone.

Finally, I would like to thank the following wineries for their hospitality and #goodjuice:

 

Weinget-Schloss Liser.  Germany’s Winemaker of the Year and owner Thomas Haag doesn’t believe in using oak to enhance his wines.  Rather, Haag believes Riesling is such a noble grape that it should be allowed to stand on it’s own. Haag wines are fresh with lively acidity and good minerality, leading to a long finish.

 

Selbach-Oster.  Our host was Barbara Selback, part of the wife and husband team that runs this winery.  They have owned the winery since 1989, Production 130,000 bottles and they make 35 different wines from eight different sites within the Mosel. This was the first time I’ve tasted a 2015 Weissbungunder-Pinot Blanc. I found it to be a nice, easy drinking wine.  The 2013 Selbach-Oster Zwitinger Sonnenhur Riesling Auslese yielded notes of apricot, honey and yellow stone fruit leading to a fresh creamy finish.

 

Schloss Johnnishberg located in the Rheingaue is the oldest Riesling winery in the world. It first came into existence in 1720.  Schloss Johnnishberg has 40 hectares and makes nine different wines. Interestingly, they also make their own oak barrels. I tasted several of their fabulous Rieslings, ranging from from sweet to dry. The wines were well-made and balanced with elegant fruit (white peach), good acidity and a long mineral finish. #goodjuice.

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