Graach and Wehlen

Germany, 1959-2011; Austria, 1993-2010

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Another slew of older wines from Germany and Austria has landed in our cellar, right at the busiest time of year when we don't have room for any of it! We hope you'll help us make room downstairs, and we've priced these quite well to encourage you to do just that. The wines below have been divided into three groups: pre-2000 wines from many of the old top estates of the Mosel and the Rheingau, post-2000 releases from some of Germany's greatest properties and, finally, a small selection of wines from among the best of Austria. 

Quantities are quite limited, so please click on the picture above to see live inventory on our website.

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Mechtel-Denzer 1985 Mosel Bernkasteler-Kueser Kardinalsberg Ries. Spätlese

Classic 1980s-styled Spätlese from a little-known house. The Kardinalsberg is in Kues and is actually contiguious with the famous Lieser Niederberg Helden. Orange oil, white cherry, grapefruit and yellow peach notes and a rich sense on slate-y minerality. Also a bit mossy, in that lovely old Mosel sort of way. When you taste it, you know it couldn't have possibly come from anywhere else. Interestingly, it takes a few days after opening for this wine to really start firing on all cylinders. I know it defies expectations that a near 30-year old Riesling ought to be decanted, but it's worth it. -jfr

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Schloss Reinhartshausen 1989 Rheingau Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen Ries. Spätlese

Wisselbrunnen is one of the most well-regarded sites in Hattenheim and for decades Schloss Reinhartshausen was a reliable producer of traditional, stately Rheingau wines. 1989 was the best vintage in the Rheingau in the 1980s, and this wine is drinking exceptionally well.

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Wegeler 1994 Mosel Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese

Clean, balanced, ripe and very pure with nice mid palate density. Nose had nice damp forest floor, peach, minerals. For the money it is a solid example of aged Riesling from a great site.

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Adam, A.J. 2005 Mosel Riesling Dhroner Hofberg Reserve

This wine was flat out bonkers. Having only tasted Adam in passing and never sat down with a bottle I learned after this I should more often. I will as Adam will grace my cellar very soon. This wine had a wonderful creamy texture along with juicy citrus and stone fruits that culminated in a wonderful juxtaposed finish. The nose was crisp pear and mineral along with spice that kept getting more prominent throughout the night. This really reminded me of Batard in texture and length. It was rich but also had a juiciness due to the wonderful acidity that was not crazy but perfect for this wine. The finish was long and winding with notes of flowers and spice. An amazing wine that really was one of the best Rieslings I have had all year. Adam is from the small town of Dhron in the Mosel. LF

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Adam, A.J. 2007 Mosel Riesling Dhroner Hofberg Kabinett

This is mostly from Hofberg, which is his Grand Cru site. Actually it might all be from Hofberg. Need to check that out. Well this wine was slamming on all cylinders. Really had those Hofberg flavors of exotic tropical fruits and a lovely figginess along with cake-icing-like fruit and brilliant cleansing acidity. Long on the finish and chewy but has wonderful opacity at the same time. So crisp, so pure and so clean. Classic slatey nose with guava, mango, fig and more slate. Some slight bubbles from being so young and lots of fruit on the attack while the finish is slatey and mineral. Just like the '05 Hofberg Reserve this has that wonderful almost Batard-like texture while being light as a feather. Wonderful and seems like a Kabinett with legs. Great great wine. Glad I have two more. Nice to throw some "real" Kabinetts in the cellar for a change. LF

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Adam, A.J. 2008 Mosel Riesling Dhroner Hofberg Auslese 375ml

Yes, we really do have this one remaining half-bottle of Andreas Adam's superb 2008 Hofberg Auslese. This is intended to be "dessert wine"-style auslese, with a large amount of residual sugar and high-flying levels of acid to balance it out. Buy this before I do. -jfr

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Breuer, Georg 2002 Rheingau Rauenthaler Nonneberg Riesling

I ordered 20 cases of this my first week working here and now is when the intelligence of the decision comes to fruition. It has always been a great wine but right now it is entering its peak drinking window. This had a bit of age on it which is evident by the slightly darkening yellow color commonly found in older Riesling. The nose needed some coaxing but once it got going it was glorious. Yellow fruits, white flowers, minerals, sea salt, peach skin and apricot skin on the very complex nose. Great breadth of aromas. It was very pretty and not in your face. Delicate would be the word I was looking for. Not to take anything away from the nose, the palate was the real story of this wine. It had an outrageous texture and perfect balance. The palate was like the silkiest bean curd you can imagine. Concentrated as it was delicate, this wine truly showed the heights great dry Riesling can achieve from a noble site. The finish echoed with lemon, slight dried confectionary sugar, chamomile and salty minerals. What a wine. LF

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Dönnhoff 2007 Nahe Riesling Oberhäuser Brücke Auslese 375 ml

Mature Auslese from Dönnhoff that is just beginning to emerge from its slumber. These few bottles have been buried in our cellar since 2008 and we were shocked when we uncovered them. The storage has been perfect, and the wines are ready to go and delicious! -jfr

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Hexamer 2001 Nahe Riesling Meddersheimer Rheingräfenberg Hochgewächs

Library release, straight from the estate. This is the wine that is now bottled as "Quartzit," from one of the best vintages Germany's seen in ages. Many '01s still taste youthful and primary, although this one is starting to show some lovely mature elements on the nose — honey, dill, herbs and light mature riesling 'petrol' notes. Think of this as a Kabinett from an excellent vintage that's just starting to reach maturity. A treat to enjoy at this point in its life. -jfr

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Immich-Batterieberg 2009 Mosel Batterieberg Riesling

Not as dry or austere as the mineral-packed 2010, but also much more accessible now than that brooding masterpiece. Cooler toned than the more buoyant Escheburg, and a bit more focused. Here there's less red fruit, and more peach, green apple and citrus. A few hours after opening, the initial babyfat recedes and the more lean, sponti and citrus notes come to the fore. This demonstrates one of my favorite things Riesling: even though it's rapidly evolving in a seemingly incoherent way and it's too young to be anywhere near its peak, it's still really, really good! So often in the Riesling lifecycle you find that even if the wine isn't at its peak, it still tastes great. Lucky Riesling. -jfr

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Lauer, Peter 2009 Saar Ayler Kupp Riesling Fass 11 'Schonfels'

It's absurd that Schonfels could possibly be considered a part of the Ayler Kupp, as this terrific map at Lauer's site shows. It's clearly on the other side of the village of Ayl than the Kupp, but this is the silly nature of Germany's 1971 wine law. Schonfels is a very steep site just above the Saar, and the vines are quite old; it's a labor-intensive site to farm and the vines barely produce any grapes, thus the premium price tag. The grapes that the vines are albe to eke out, though, are stunning and the wine has gained a cult-like status among fans of the estate. Rounder and softer than many other wiens in the book but intensely herbal. Don't miss this. -jfr

 

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Schäfer-Fröhlich 2005 Nahe Riesling Monzinger Halenberg GG

Maybe the dry wine of the trip. At least the most memorable. This is like Tim's Les Clos. Incredibly deep nose of mineral and juicy ripe fruit. Again so pure with thet delicate rainwater haging over the nose. Like it is raining in the glass. Extremely concentrated and just a big wow in the mouth. This wine has everything and is my benchmark for the GG category. Ripe, elegant, incredibly concentrated, long, insanely complex, easy to drink and very evocative of place. Just a great wine. LF

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Schäfer-Fröhlich 2007 Nahe Bockenauer Felseneck Riesling Spätlese

Slightly reductive aromas with hints of lime and honey. Very filigreed and fragrant under all that reduction. Palate is perfectly ripe with beautiful fruit and purity with lovely wild cherries lingering on the finish. LF

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Schafer-Frohlich 2007 Nahe Bockenauer Felseneck Spatlese GK

Stunning nose of forest floor, green moss, and peach. Excellent persistence on the palate with drop dead gorgeous purity. So filigreed with amazing razor-like acidity and finish that does not stop. Spatlese of the vintage? LF

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Schäfer-Fröhlich 2009 Nahe Bockenauer Felseneck Riesling Spätlese

One of the greatest wines tasted at the 2009 Wiest offering. Dead-on gorgeous iris aromatics; this wine is all wild meadow and floral with Nahe-style purple fruit on the mid-palate, balanced with lemony acidity, and a scrumptiously long finish. Very, very good. rsg

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Schäfer-Fröhlich 2010 Nahe Bockenauer Felseneck Grosses Gewächs

Rockstar Nahe winemaker Tim Fröhlich's signature bottling. John Gilman went bananas for it and so did we. Like citrus dipped in gold. -jfr

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Schmitt-Wagner, Carl 2003 Mosel Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg Riesling Auslese

10-year old Auslese for under $20? Yes, it is indeed possible, but only beacuse 2003 is everyone's favorite punching-bag vintage (us included). Don't fear 2003, though! First, because Bruno Schmitt never, ever made big, ponderous wines; he has a light touch and his Rieslings are always among the most delicate and pretty of any vintage. Underneath that elegance is unexpected, complex depth, though, as the vines in the Lounguicher Maximiner Herrenberg are ungrafted, untouched by phylloxera and planted back in the 1890s. As an '03 it may not be one to hold onto for the next 3 decades, but if you're looking for mature Riesling that's drinking beautifully now at an unbeatable price, you should dive in. JFR

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Alzinger 2008 Wachau Steinertal Grüner Veltliner Smaragd

Steinertal is only 5 hectares and Alzinger's portion is painfully small, but the Grüner Veltliners and Rieslings produced here are among the top in all of Austria. The 2008 is just starting to show some signs of maturity and retains the classic Alzinger sense of cut, tactile minerality and bracing focus. And yes, we have this one bottle in stock! -jfr

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Nikolaihof 2010 Wachau Neuburger

Neuberger is every wine geek's favorite lesser-known indigenous Austrian variety, so when I found out the Saahs would be pouring theirs for the first time in New York at a recent tasting I almost jumped out of my seat. It surpassed my expectations with all that wonderful 2010 acid but also a whole host of different citrus fruits and lovely aromatic spice. Unique and compelling, and a great gift for any wine-lover looking for something off the beaten path. -jfr

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Prager 2005 Wachau Riesling 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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