Vines in Bremmer Calmont, and the Mosel

Riesling with some age, mostly

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Prager 2005 Wachau Riesling Smaragd Ried Klaus

A Smaragd in everything but name, this is Prager at its most ornate and heady -- going into the stylistic realm of some of his neighbors, especially FX Pichler or Hirtzberger. Fear not though, as rather than translate all that ripeness into an unwieldy amount of alcohol, Toni Bodenstein opted to stop fermentation before it was totally complete, leading to a perfectly balanced wine they would call "Feinherb" across the border in Germany. Bodenstein likens it to the 1990 Klaus, which is no faint praise, to be sure. Built to last in the cellar for many, many years. -jfr

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Dönnhoff 2011 Nahe Dellchen Riesling Grosses Gewächs

Dellchen is a steep site in Norheim, downstream for the Niederhausen/Oberhausen center where Dönnhoff resides. The soil is a classic Nahe mixture of slate toward the bottom of the site and volcanic elements out toward the sides. The nose is impressively chiseled, especially within the context of the fairly fruity vintage, with fresh, lean and precise mineral tones. I was very excited when tasting this one — the body is just what great German Trocken should be — lighter than comparable wines from Austria or Alsace but with no lack of fruit or depth. Green apple, lemon, strawberry, honeydew melon, and all followed by a stony rush on the penetrating finish. Simply terrific dry Dönnhoff! -jfr

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  • white
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Dönnhoff 2011 Nahe Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs

The ground is 100% volcanic soil here, and the result is a spicier GG than the slatier Dellchen. Salty, spicy, even a bit fiery in a way. Invigorating! The fruit here tends toward more citrus flavors, rather than the berries and melons of the estates other GGs, but there is a distinct rus of blood orange and grapefruit on the slaine-driven finish. Felsenberg is, like Hermannshöhle, the only site where Dönnhoff crafts both excellent dry and sweet wines. -jfr

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Dönnhoff 2011 Nahe Hermannshöhle Riesling Grosses Gewächs

Ferments in stainless steel then matures in stück on the fine lees for two months, then a month back in steel before bottling. Helmutt Dönnhoff told me that his idea of Riesling is like "Mountain Spring Water — Clarity is the most important thing." This has the most complex aromatics of the three GGs. Intensely mineral with some CO2 still showing, along with light, white crisp stony notes. Very poised and the longest and most colorful of the three GGs. -jfr

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Dönnhoff 2012 Nahe Hermannshöhle Riesling Grosses Gewächs

As in 2011, the Hermannshöhle GG is again terrific, but it's really aromatically closed as of June 2013. This is another Dönnhoff GG that's all structure and minerality at this point with the fruit playing second fiddle. The raw material is stunning, and this will probably age much better than any of the estate's previous dry wines. It's long, it's pure, it's elegant, and what its missing in the wild, kaleidoscopic fruit of 2011, it more than makes up for in detail, finesse and structure. -jfr

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Lauer, Peter 1991 Saar Riesling Sekt Brut Reserve

Florian Lauer and his importer keep blessing us with more and more bottles of recently-disgorged vintage Sekt and we're in love with the 1991. Like other releases, it still clearly tastes like Lauer and the Kupp but this strikes us as perhaps the most complex yet. Earthy, stony, mossy aromatics with a good dose of fruit on the palate; dried apricots, sponti flavors, really killer acid and of course, slate, slate, slate. Florian says it's fruitier than the '93; we say it's fantastic! -jfr

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  • white sparkling
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Lauer, Peter 2014 Saar Riesling Ayler Kupp GG

Sourced from Florian's finest vines from the legendary Ayler Kupp vinyard, this GG never disappoints, but the 2014 vintage seems to be particularly promising. - David Salinas

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Prüm, J.J. 2001 Mosel Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese

This is Auslese to bury deep in the cellar. The perfect gift for the Riesling lover that is looking for a wine that will be compelling either in 2011 or 2031. If enjoying now, be sure to give it a lengthy decant, as I found this really hit its stride after about 4 hours open. Not heavy but expansive, mouth-filling and fresh with perfectly balanced acid. Notes of pear, sweet lime, succulent yellow and white peach, this is just so delicious. Prum at its finest, and one of the most thrilling bottles I've recently tasted. -jfr

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Nikolaihof 1997 Wachau Riesling Vinothek

17 years of aging in a large cask, in the ancient Nikolaihof cellars have not been in vain for this world-class Riesling Vinothek. At a recent tasting, this wine was in an absolutely prisitne drinking window. Radiantly golden yellow in color, the nose is discrete put beautifully detailed with floral and stone fruit notes that linger in the mind. The palate is weighty, yet perfectly poised, with a endless stream of minerality that carries notes of white peaches, quince, and cardamom. Although certainly cellar-worthy, this Riesling is simply shinning!

- David Salinas

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  • Biodynamic
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