German Pre-Arrivals: Schaefer, Dönnhoff and Adam

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At the end of May I had the privilege of traveling to Germany to meet with some of our favorite growers and to taste the new vintage. While there were some pretty interesting discoveries (more about those later), I came away more excited than ever about what's happening along the Rhine and its famous tributaries, largely due to the influence of the new generation that's taking over in the cellars. The quality of dry wines has never been higher (and 2011 is a great dry vintage), but lovers of balanced, off-dry and fruity-sweet Riesling have nothing to fear. The famous estates continue to produce sweet wines of the highest caliber, and, as is the case at Dönnhoff and Schaefer, the next generation taking over is learning well from the previous. It's heartening to see that as their fathers start to slowly step back, Christoph Schaefer and Conrnelius Dönnhoff also have a gentle hand in the cellar and produce joyful wines with unsurpassed grace, elegance and persistence. Although not featured in this offer, Johannes Haart of Weingut Reinhold Haart deserves a special mention as a member of this group, as the wines here continue to be among the very best in the Mosel. Other young favorites doing great work at their family’s estates include, of course, Florian Lauer, Mathias Knebel and Stefan Steinmetz.

Andreas Adam's parents are not winegrowers, although his grandfather was, and Andreas has revived the family’s old traditions. Having apprenticed at Heymann-Löwenstein and Van Volxem, among others, he's one of the most exciting and talented growers on the Mosel, and has built his estate up from nothing. He reinvests any profits he makes and continues to acquire more parcels in both the Dhroner Hofberg and the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen, though he doesn't want to end up with more than 5 hectares (working just 3.7 now). He works the soil on his steep sites, avoiding chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. He's not certified organic because so many of his small parcels abut others that are farmed conventionally, but he is exploring how to get there in the future. As at Dönnhoff, quality is uniformly high, from the entry-level Estate Riesling to the lush and colorful Beerenauslesen.

We had to choose carefully in 2011, as in most of the rest of Europe, since high levels of ripeness are a bit of an issue in Germany. Tasting at each of these estates was a revelation and we proudly stand behind the quality of each wine offered. These three masters produced some of the finest collections of the vintage and are not to be missed. Unlike in previous years, some of the wines are already here in stock for you to get a taste of the vintage, with the rest set to arrive in the fall. We’ve listed those that are currently in the shop first, followed by the pre-arrivals. Please note that pre-arrival items are priced especially low for these wines and no further discounts apply. Standard case discounts apply to the six items that are currently in stock. -jfr

No Longer Available

Adam, A.J. 2011 Mosel Dhroner Riesling

The 2011 basic Dhroner Riesling is essentially a "Feinherb," although Andreas chooses not to apply the designation on this bottling, saving it for his higher quality single vineyard bottlings. Fermented 50% in barrel and 50% in steel, there's a great Adam nose with classic cool toned apple, mineral notes and just a bit of wispy smoke. Medium-bodied and barely off-dry, this wonderfully captures the essence of the vintages pure, exuberant fruit, but is still balanced and fresh. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white off-dry
  • 0 in stock
  • $31.99

  • Out of Stock
  • white off-dry
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

Dönnhoff 2011 Nahe Kreuznacher Krötenpfuhl Riesling Kabinett

Krötenpfuhl is a warm, south-facing site in Bad Kreuznach with loessy loam peppered with quartzite stones. The site normally excels in high acid vintages since it sees so much sun. In 2011 we have a lightly mineral, zippy Kabinett with flavors of apple, quince and just a hint of tropical pineapple. Tasty and easy-going, this is a Kabi that's built for summer sipping. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $23.99

Schaefer, Willi 2011 Mosel Estate Riesling

IN STOCK NOW The 2011 is one of the strongest Estate Rieslings from Schaefer we've tasted in quite some time. 2010 didn't even exist so we feel incredibly fortunate to have the wine in good quantity to share with you. Made from all estate fruit and in a classic, Mosel, fruity-off-dry style, the wine first commands attention with its bright, sunny aromatics. The fruit on the palate is plush and pretty, with pear, apple, citrus and cinnamon notes, followed by deep-toned minerals on the finish. This could really evolve over time, and has a refreshing ,complex character from the use of wild yeasts. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white off-dry
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99

  • Out of Stock
  • white off-dry
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

Schaefer, Willi 2011 Mosel Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese #10

Like the Domprobst Kabinett #16, it's so exciting that this is already here in the U.S. and ready to be enjoyed or stashed away for 10+ years (either choice is, of course, correct). A bit wild and peachy, with potent, crisp mineral tones on the finish and just a hint of sea spray. This is slightly salty and vibrantly mineral. Light in body for a Spätlese and just singing right now. Christoph Schaefer says that #10 is always more of a "classic Spätlese," while #5 starts to approach Auslese in level of concentration. -jfr 

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $35.99

Adam, A.J. 2011 Mosel Riesling Dhroner Hofberg Kabinett

Given the warm temperatures and high ripeness levels of 2011, Andreas Adam found it pretty difficult to harvest a Kabinett in 2011. He ended up harvesting early a parcel normally reserved for Eiswein and including it in the blend to help provide acid. While the wine is aromatically colorful with citrus, berry and tropical fruit tones, it's more lithe than the compact 2010, also fresher and juicier. 80% fermented in steel, 20% in barrel, and the part from barrel adds just a touch of round character to the wine. The main thing to emphasize here is the sense of freshness and lightness, a really impressive feat in 2011. Just 8.5% alcohol, as well. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $25.99

Adam, A.J. 2011 Mosel Dhroner Hofberg Riesling Feinherb

The Hofberg Feinherb is one of the most remarkable wines in Adam's 2011 lineup, fermented entirely in fuder and from a parcel of 60-year old vines. In cooler years he would have macerated the grapes on the skins for a while to regulate acidity and add texture to the wine but chose not to in 2011 for fear of loosing acid. The resulting wine has 30 g/l residual sugar and 8 g/l acid. It's light, expressive, filigree, delicate and really beatifully balanced. It's a terrific example of a light, chiseled, off-dry wine, the kind that can only be made on the Mosel. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white off-dry
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $39.99

Adam, A.J. 2011 Mosel Riesling Dhroner Hofberg Spätlese

The Spätlese comes from various parcels in the Hofberg including some vines planted in 1953. Similar aromatics to the Kabinett but it's riper, richer and insanely long. The finish just erupts. To mix metaphors, it comes on like a tidal wive. Tremendous acid that's in balance with intense sweetness, with classic Adam citrus/apple tones and a distinctly mineral texture on the finish. One to age for years and years or enjoy now. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $42.99

Adam & Haart 2011 Mosel Riesling Piesporter

Andreas' trocken wines generally have much more stuffing than most of his fellow growers on the Mosel and this one is no exception. He's not in the VDP so it's not techincally a Grosses Gewächs, but he uses the shorthand "GG" to show that this is one of his top white wines. Really expressive and long on the palate: richer than his Hofberg wines, with peach and apple tones. Andreas' work in the Goldtröpfchen vineyard is one of the most exciting projects in Germany right now. Vibrant acidity and with plenty of body for a Mosel trocken. I love this wine. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $42.99

Dönnhoff 2011 Nahe Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spätlese

Kirschheck is 100% slate, and the wine retains the freshness and lightness of touch that you would expect from this type of soil. There's a whole array of classic Dönnhoff fruit tones including red apple, fresh pear, red cherry and lime pith. Spicy, elegant, refined and certainly another winner in this all-star lineup this vintage. -jfr

 

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  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $39.99

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  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $121.99

Dönnhoff 2011 Nahe Riesling Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Spätlese

Concentrated, focused, clean, clear and elegant. I can't say enough good things about this wine. Clarity. Class. Length. Tons of Mosel-like slate on the nose, no doubt from the weathered grey slate that combines with porphyr rock to form the base of the Hermannshöhle.There's an impressive rush of flavor on the finish, one of those that I like to call the "fruit basket" that comes from this vineyard, as the colors and flavors seem so varied and numerous: yellow, orange, red, pink, green, it's all there. A beautifully balanced, elegant Spätlese. Helmutt Dönnhoff explains that the gray, weathered slate here soaks up water like a sponge which is great for the wine but also shows that this isn't the kind of slate you want to us for your roof tiles. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $56.99

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  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $125.99

Dönnhoff 2011 Nahe Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Auslese 375ml

Lean, light and citrusy nose with some botrytis showing. Pure elegance on the palate, almost Saar-like in its electricity and yellow tones. Laser-like precision with a gentle sense on balance. To me this is a perfect Auslese. Light on the palate but extraordinarily long on the finish. Very special stuff. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $39.99

Dönnhoff 2011 Nahe Grosses Gewächs Mixed 6 Pack

2 bottles each of Hermannshöhle, Dellchen and Felsenberg GGs. Dry 2011s from Dönnhoff are the best I've ever had from this estate; especially, and unsurprisingly, the Hermannshöhle. Dellchen and Felsenberg are both strikingly mineral and elegant as well. -jfr

 

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $352.99

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

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $61.99

Schaefer, Willi 2011 Mosel Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett

Slate, green apple, pear, just really elegant, attractive aromatics here. I'm really excited by this wine, especially after the 2010. It's lithe, well balanced with great nervosity and some strawberry and sweet apple notes as well. Classic Willi Schaefer Kabinett. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white medium-sweet
  • 0 in stock
  • $25.99

Schaefer, Willi 2011 Mosel Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett #3

A touch more intense than the Himmelreich; peachier, but still with classic green apple notes. Just darker tones across the board. On the palate the flavors are multi-faceted: cassic, cherry, lemon, lime, lots of acid. It's a terrific vintage for this as well. Long, open and generous. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white off-dry
  • 0 in stock
  • $25.99

Schaefer, Willi 2011 Mosel Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese

Very bright aromatics: pink, red, yellow notes, even somewhat resembling pink lemonade with white cherry thrown in. Longer, more intense than the Kabinett, of course, but but not by too much. Still a very elegant, citrusy Spät. -jfr

 

  • Out of Stock
  • white medium-sweet
  • 0 in stock
  • $35.99

Schaefer, Willi 2011 Mosel Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese

A full fruit basket on the nose: kiwi, lime, pineapple, orange, strawberry, etc, etc; there's ven a slight anise note. There's a clear, shimmering, mineralt water quality to the fruit on this wine. It's not quite as dark and mineral as the Domprobst Kabinett is, but there's still these electric, white stone quality. Delicious stuff and very elegant. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $35.99

Schaefer, Willi 2011 Mosel Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese #5

Harvested at a slightly higher oechsle than #10, but lower than would be found in the Auslesen. It's a little more closed up-front aromatically than #10 and there is some noticeable botrytits. On the palate, though, you get slammed by a mineral punch. Raciness, zestiness, and only a hair more concentrated than #10. It's higher in residual sugar but tastes lower because of acid and mineral extract. The wine is just phenomenal. It's truly electric with a jagged, crunchy, mineral texture. There's just so much wild minerality shining through the sugar, and there's so much energy compacted in here that is set to expand over the years. I love this. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $45.99

Schaefer, Willi 2011 Mosel Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese #10 1.5L

This is an extremely rare opportunity to pick up some Schaefer Spätlese in large format for laying down. The first time I'd ever seen magnums was at the estate in May and I knew I wanted some. We only got a handful to sell, so don't hesitate if these interest you at all. They won't last long.

A bit wild and peachy, with potent, crisp mineral tones on the finish and just a hint of sea spray. This is slightly salty and vibrantly mineral. Light in body for a Spätlese and just singing right now. Christoph Schaefer says that #10 is always more of a "classic Spätlese," while #5 starts to approach Auslese in level of concentration. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $115.99

Schaefer, Willi 2011 Mosel Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese #11

So much dark and red fruit: plums, berries, deep red apple. Very mineral with notes of roses and lemon curd. This is a very elegant Auslese: it's lean, focused and clean. There's botrytits, but it's of a clean type. Crunchy, slatey, just wow Auslese! This is Domprobst at its colorful, singing best. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white sweet
  • 0 in stock
  • $66.99