WOW'S take on German wines - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 12-15-2006 09:17 PM

Take with a grain of salt (or maybe a veal schnitzel and spatzle).

I'll start with two of the more renowned areas: Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and Rheingau.

Noted villages include Wehlen (especially the Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard with the giant sundial), Zeltingen, Urzig, Bernkastel, Piesport and Erden. Besides the Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard look for Urziger Wurzgarten (spice garden) and Urziger Scwarzlay, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Piesporter Goldtropchen (golden drops), Erdener Treppchen (little steps) or Erdener Pralat, and also Graacher Himmelreich, Bernkasteler Doktor, Brauneberger Juffer and Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr, Leiwener Klostergarten (cloister or monastery garden)--Carl Loewen is a producer to look for here. Among the most prominent Mosel producers are J.J. Christoffel Erben, J.J. Prum, Selbach-Oster (known mainly for Trocken or dry wines), Dr. Thanisch, Dr. Loosen, Willi Haag and Fritz Haag. I also like Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler wines and some of the other Prums such as Studert-Prum.
If you could get hold of a Kabinett, Spatlese and Auslese all from J.J. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr in a more typical vintage such as 2002 (not as hot as 2003), this might show you what Mittel-Mosel is about. The most noted wines are from this region of the Middle Mosel. I'm a little vague of the geographic location of Karlsmuhle Lorenzhofer which in some years makes a delicious Eiswein. The Weingut Karlsmuhle is possibly in Trier along the Mosel, but the grapes may be from the Saar or Ruwer Valley?

The SAAR and RUWER are tributaries of the Mosel. The Saar sometimes exhibits a more austere, acidic character but can be greatly charming. The steep slate hills along the Saar give rise to the viticulture. (The slopes in the Middle Mosel are also precipitous and make tending vines and harvesting grapes very burdensome.) Some of the vineyards are Wiltingen Scharzberg (a Grosslage name for various vineyards in this region, Scharzhofberg, Ockfener Bockstein and Zilliken Saarburger Rausch. Some of the wines from cooperatives in this area are surprisingly good. From Ockfener Bockstein (a favorite of mine when I lived in Germany) I have had wines from Dr. Fischer and Dr. Wagner and also know about St. Urbans-Hof. Look also for Saar wines from Egon Muller and von Hovel
I sometimes prefer Saar wines from a sunny but less hot vintage which I think are truer to the character--a bit flinty or austere but balanced with the purity of the fruit. They can really sing. In rainy years or other years where nature does not cooperate, the Saar wines can be disastrous.

The dominant estates here are Karthauserhof and Carl von Schubert's Maximin Grunhaus with the vineyards of
Abtsberg, Herrenberg and Bruderberg (the three vineyards being monopoles or monopolies of the Carl von Schubert Maximin Grunhaus Estate.) I don't have much drinking experience here but have purchased some Maximin Grunhaus wines for future con-sumption. The following is a link to some good info on Maximin Grunhaus:

Some of the producers to note here are Josef Leitz, Robert Weil (expensive and I don't have personal experience), Schloss Schonborn (seemingly on the upswing again after some mediocre years) and Schloss Johannisberg. One of my favorite Rheingau vineyards when I lived in Germany was Erbacher Marcobrunn and I still love it. Producers with parcels in this vineyard include Schloss Schonborn, von Simmern (Freiherr Langwerth von Simmern), Weingut Schloss Rheinharthausen, Staatsweingut Kloster Eberbach and still others. Hattenheim is another village of some note and then their is Rudesheim!
Look for Josef Leitz wines from Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck, Rudesheimer Bischofsberg, Rudesheimer Burgweg, or Rudesheimer Magdalenenkreuz. (A British wine website suggests the 2005 Leitz Magdalenenkreuz with caramelized apple tart and creme fraiche. Yum!) Rauenthaler Nonnenberg is another nice Rheingau wine to seek out but the Rauenthaler wines may not have as wide a distribution as the Rudesheim wines.
Rheingau wines can have peach and nectarine notes but are often rather complex in texture and flavor.

Next week I'll post some notes on Pfalz (or Rheinpfalz) wines, Rheinhessen, Nahe and Baden. Franken wines have never been favorites of mine so I will skip that region as well as some of the smaller or less known regions such as Ahr and Mittelrhein.

[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 12-15-2006).]

- brappy - 12-18-2006 05:49 AM

Great writing! OK, so you've given me some homework. I didn't expect so much, but I'll be on the hunt.

Don't be so quick on the next lesson; at least until January when I've more time to experiment. Can't wait....

Wonders, Thanks so much for your knowledge. I'll post on my findings.

BTW, Hattie and I are ready to go to Samos again so find an excuse to get up here.

Great writing! I love it....


- wondersofwine - 12-18-2006 03:03 PM

Actually, Mark, I was going to ask you if mid-January would be too soon for another Samos offline? I plan to be in DC the weekend of January 13-14 and might extend another day if I can get the 16th off from work. Samos isn't open on Sundays so it would work best for me to plan on going there Monday, January 15 which is Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. Keep that in mind as a possible offline date and maybe we can line up Drew and Eileen also.
Thanks for your comments on the German wine notes. I will hold off a bit on the follow-up except to mention four names (I started with two and it keeps growing)--Darting and Muller-Catoir (associated with Pfalz wines) and Donnhoff (associated with Nahe wines) and Gunderloch (associated with Rheinhessen district). If you come across those while doing homework, you may want to take some home. Also, a look at site reminded me about Dr. Burklin Wolf. I have only had one or two wines from this producer but they were very good. This is another Pfalz producer. I was pleased to see that the names of producers I included for Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and Rheingau duplicated many that the wine doctor has profiled but not all of them so you may want to check out that website too.

[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 12-18-2006).]