2004 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett AP #19

2004 jj prum ws kabinett2004 jj prum ap

Mosel, 8.5% Light, bright lemon colour, with vibrant scents of red apple,and  ripe nashi pear.

Lime and mineral reign on a viscous palate that just floats along with apple crumble, spices, and texture. Pure, with plenty of acidity too – what a charmer – this is one of the best Kabinetts I have ever tasted. Although JJ Prum wines are renowned for longevity, and Wehlener Sonnenuhr is a marvellous site, this wine displays the magic of bottle maturation for even the humble, and affordable Kabinett classification.

Its tremendous vitality, balance and complexity, means drink to 2030 in comfort, and 94 points.

German wines should contain an approval number. From left to right the numbers indicate region, village, Estate, the lot number (a bottling number), and year tested (usually one year after vintage). The bottling number (the 19 in my photo) is key, and I have tried to list these with wines tasted. See the excellent Mosel Fine Wines guide for a greater explanation and why the AP number is important. Unfortunately, importers and auction houses do not always provide the information.

Cellartracker lists 4 different AP’s for 2004 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett. From the number of  different wines stored by subscribers, and their scores and comments, it seems I lucked into a superior AP – purchased at a local auction in 2013. I tasted a similar JJ Prum wine back in 2015, but didn’t have the understanding at that time to note the AP number, alas.

Stoney Goose Ridge releases a very ancient whisky!

Merely eighteen months ago, Stoney Goose Ridge rewarded customers with Two Fingers (gin) and the Old Wood Duck (vodka).  These now-well-established pre-eminent brands have deservedly obliterated the market share of many feeble competitors. Both products personify the relentless restless innovative drive embedded in our cultural DNA. Now, we aggressively initiate another triumphant brand extension foray into the finest luxury icon upper-echelon of malt whisky.

I, Hector Lannible, have long held a vision of producing a pinnacle whisky. It’s not just because of my distant forbears’ ancestral homeland; it’s also because I love the complex unadulterated gustatory organoleptic sensations of imbibing superlative whisky in temperate moderation. A welcome uptick to the Stoney Goose Ridge portfolio tsunami beckons as part of our nascent disruptive transformational adjacency agenda. Our singular ambition, alas, had to be deferred until anticipated astronomical arrangements arrived.

Stoney Goose Ridge is not another Jock come lately. We are in this business, long-term, to win accolades for ourselves. Market share, profits – and my eye-watering bonus – are inextricably inter-linked to customer satisfaction. When consumers purchase our marques, they triumph through taste, value and the envious admiration of onlookers.

Our launch efforts have barely been hampered by COVID. Unpaid interns were tasked with bringing my fervent, detailed creative strategies to fruition, propelled by my indispensable hyperactive mentorship. Signs are promising that conceivably one intern will distinguish themselves by potentially gaining eventual remunerated entry-level employment within the company. Time will tell.

Stoney Goose Ridge approached various vanguard Scottish Speyside and Highland whisky producers, with our specialised sourcing needs- an ultra-premium minimum 20-year-old whisky. Astute distillers welcomed this approach from the branding leviathan colossus of Stoney Goose Ridge. Cask samples were initially selected by the producers, then ruthlessly culled – by myself – in glittering sessions where I castigated the maltmasters (including their Lairds), and shamedly compelled them to provide superior examplars. They were entirely overawed and humbled by my expertise, and technically descriptive lyricism. Several companies were found disappointingly mediocre in the calibre of even their best offerings. Their cult reputation exceeds their quality and no parcels were selected.

Where we did make purchases, I am contractually obligated to conceal the names of the participating companies currently in production, but their identities are deservedly recognised amongst authentic cognoscenti.

Stoney Goose Ridge is justifiably notorious for its exhaustive diligence and archival exploration. We also hunted down extinct businesses – including those taken over or on-sold- to ascertain if ancient auld whisky spirit material had been bequeathed or squirrelled away to avoid the depredations of customs snoopers. This arduous mission required us to locate clannish families of retired or deceased employees, explore derelict properties and research property transfers, taxation records and so on ad infinitum. Where essential, facilitation disbursements were undertaken. In forensic archaeological fashion, we uncovered dusty barrels under staircases, in forgotten or abandoned storerooms, sheds, stables, crofts, outbuildings, pantries and other neglected areas.

To distil this thrilling narrative backstory, we incorporated material from defunct companies including Glenhaggis, Glenweebairn, Glensporran, Glenferrie, Glenshandy, Glenlochkirk, Glenmashie, GlenGreyfriars, Glenlassie, Glenbampot, Glenspurtle and Glendinnaken. We ensured that records met the exacting standards required for certified authentication evidentiary verificational substantiation audit compliance.

It was merely as matter of my formidably proficient extra-ordinary deal-making expertise. I’m renowned for leaving nothing on the table, not even the veneer (or Laminex) – the Svengali of mesmerisation. Truly win-win for Stoney Goose Ridge. When this negotiational process was over, the overall final optimised blend predictively proved sensationally stunning. In all, there are components from twenty companies, with every whisky element at least twenty years old. And my synergistic blending expertise ensured that the resultant master-blend was certainly, definitely, superior to any of its superb individual constituent portions.

The final result represents merely the tip of the iceberg, with magnitudes of hard labour hidden under the hood – or kilt?

Proudly, Stoney Goose Ridge generously releases Glen 20.

Truly, a worthy unrepeatable homage to Scots terroir, it’s bracingly fresh, strong, clean and distinctively aromatic. It really awakens memories with its air of “je ne sais quoi”. It comes complete with exceptionally lavish packaging, bristling with features including a stylish integrated resealable cascading dispensary apparatus.

Glen 20 typifies our corporate ingenuity, nimble agility plus exemplifies our systematic legal and contractual strangulation practices. The sticky footprint of Stoney Goose Ridge clientele will be literally magnetised by this limited-edition offer.

We are aware of another product loosely with a vaguely similar sounding nomenclature. There is no confusion. Our armada of legal para-practitioners are ecstatic to hurl down the gauntlet and exercise their limitless energy to inflict maximal embarrassment and financial penalties in myriad jurisdictions. Bring it on – we shall overcome!

With an Australian RRP of $666 for Glen 20, demand will certainly outstrip the minuscule limited supply available. Nevertheless, it’s been a worthwhile exercise in exhausting the stamina and creativity of my underlings. Add my canny negotiations, plus creative value-add talents exercised to craft the blend, the package, label, POS, and finesse the distribution, and voila, och aye hoots mon. A bonnie outcome! It’s another feather in the mighty cod-piece of Stoney Goose Ridge!

Glen 20 will be available exclusively for a limited time only from the finest worldwide beverage merchants from 1 July.

Drinks from different European areas

2008 Schloss Lieser Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 7%
Mosel again, from winemaker Thomas Haag, with a short but serviceable cork. This wine was purchased from Eurocentric quite a while ago, and is in a great drinking phase.

2008 schloss lieser bjs spatlese

Bright gold in colour, it shows lime, icing sugar, and brown spice notes. The palate reveals more apple and mixed white and yellow stonefruit, with some green herb, plus the spices. It is sweeter than many in the spatlese category, but is poised for delight, being all too easy to drink and reach for more – the sign of a decent wine. Its racy, ready for enjoyment and shows no sign of fading.

To 2025, 92 points

2011 Georg Breuer Riesling Auslese 8.5%
From the Rheingau (Germany); another German area where most action is happening with the dry Rieslings – the Georg Breuer Berg Schlossberg is exceptional. But they have a range of sweeter styles too. Pale gold colour; fresh with dominant tropical fruits, particularly just-under-ripe pineapple. The wine still tastes fresh, honest and straightforward – enjoyable without providing dramatic highlights.

Drink soon, 87 points

1997 Trimbach Gewurtztraminer Vendanges Tardives 13%
Alsace (France). Buried in the cellar, and really should have been tackled earlier.

Pristine cork, and a bright deep gold colour. Vendanges Tardives (VT) is late-picked and my guess was around 40 g/l in this example. Tantalizing and unmistakable floral varietal scents – musk, apple, raisin and spices. Age and likely oxidation is showing with some furniture veneer and caramel aspects. Low acidity is a hallmark of the variety, and time has chipped away at this wine’s appeal. There is still rich mouthfeel, but it’s flatter than desirable, making drinking too much effort when othere wines are in reach.

Its peak drinking has gone by, so drink up – you may get a better bottle!

Two very different wines

Different ages, different variety, different hemispheres, but both provided drinking interest and satisfaction.

2008 zilliken sr kab

2008 (Forstmeister Geltz) Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett 7.5%
The company’s website is here. From the Mosel, still with a pale lemon colour. Aromatically it shows lime citrus, tropicals, spices and a sense of high acidity. The palate leads with red apple flavours, honeydew melon too, and those spices again, with a dash of pebble. Racy acid ensures the sweetness (60 g/l) is balanced. Some grip on the palate is minor quibble; the wine is drinking well.

To 2024 and 90 points.

2017 deen botrytis sem

2017 De Bortoli Deen Vat 5 botrytis semillon 11.5%
This wine is the junior brother of De Bortoli’s Noble One – more affordable , at well under $20 for a half bottle – and on its day capable of shading its more famous sibling on the wine show circuit.

The Riverina (inland NSW, Australia) is an established home of exotic botrytised Semillon (and other varieties). Lillypilly, McWilliams morning light, and other examples are worth trying. There are also some terrific VFM red wines from the Riverina, with Durif to the fore.

The style here (Semillon with heavy botrytis) is usually much sweeter than Sauternes -not as long-living, or as refined as the best examples- but significantly cheaper. They still have ample acidity to accompany the sweetness.

This wine is golden in colour, ripe with apricot, marmalade and crème brûlée. The palate shows rampant ripe tropical pineapple, and cumquat with some green fruits too. While drenched in sweetness, there is abundant citrus-led acidity to keep this wine fresh for at least another five years. It’s a rich wine style crafted to tickle the senses. Great value.

Drink to 2025 and 90 points.

NV McWilliams Show reserve Limited release Tawny 19.5%

nv mcwilliams 25 tawny

Humble Australian Riverina fruit (Shiraz, Touriga, Grenache) with a minimum average age of 25 years. Screwcap, and in a 500ml bottle. Amber in colour with a touch of khaki. Toffee, vanilla, mixed salted nuts. The palate is ultra-smooth, with dried fruits, jersey caramels and fig. Clean, fresh, crisp, supple, soothing – light on its feet. It’s one of those wines that sneaks up. It has all the benefits of extended ageing, without the eccentricities that can accumulate. A classy, complete fortified wine.

Drink in good company, otherwise with a film noir and an open fire.

Drink now, 93 points.

Mid-priced imports

 

midrange imports

We’re recently allowed some small gatherings, but I opened these two wines at home recently; they are not monstrously expensive – (Kabinetts $35-70 depending on brand; the Fonseca LBVP was around $50 recently) – but sweeter German Rieslings and the uber-fashionable dry GGs can easily exceed $100; Vintage Ports from the sensational 2016 and 2017 vintages are, alas, closer to $200.

2008 JJ Prum Bernkastler Badstube Riesling Kabinett 8.5%
Gifted to me a while ago; my go-to Prum is the Wehlener Sonnenuhr, with occasional deviations to Graacher Himmelriech (Bernkastler Lay can be special too). 2008 was an “open” year, but Prum is usually backward, fully priced but usually delivers. Mosel Kabinett is “off-dry” but Prum tends to be sweeter than expected, and can still last many years.  Very pale, there is the tell-tale red apple and petroleum, nettle, earthiness and spice notes. The palate is highly acidic, with some grippiness- nashi pear, citrus, apple. Varietal, distinctly Mosel, but drink up while the fruit remains intact- the acidity is pretty dominant, which won’t be to everyone’s favour.

Drink to 2023,  88 points

2011 Fonseca Late-bottled vintage unfiltered 20%
2011 was a mighty year for Portuguese Vintage Port; late-bottled is an easier, more approachable, (and more affordable category), with a longer time in oak (or tank) to ameliorate some of the tannic stuffing. Confusingly, the LBV wines may be ready on release – or capable of cellaring. Unfiltered is a clue that some ageing is expected – yet there was no discernible sediment here, and the stopper was another surprise.

This wine was bottled in 2016, and is nearly crimson in colour. It displayed fig, blueberry, plum, violet and mixed spices and wild herbs; the palate showed cherry, milk chocolate, spices and sound spirit integration. 108 g/l residual sugar is neatly balanced with the fruit, and alcohol. Fine tannins add further interest. I was hoping for greater concentration, but it’s so easy to reach for another glass – a great test of a wine’s engagement.

Drink to 2025, and 90 points.

 

 

 

2013 Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos Aszu (blue-edged label) 11%

Aszu means “rotten” (botrytis affected). The puttonyos is a weight measure, but translates to minimum sugar levels, with wines matured for at least three years before release including at least tow years in oak).

3 puttonyos 60 – 90g/l
4 puttonyos 90 – 120 g/l
5 puttonyos 120 – 150 g/l
6 puttonypos 150 – 180 g/l
Aszu eszencia 180 – 450 g/l
Escenzia 450 g/l (and I’ve never tried one of these)

The Royal Tokaji company’s website gives deep information about history, production and so on.

The Tokaji I have tried over the years had levels of oxidation (bruised apple etc ) that I found unacceptable, so this wine was a triumph of hearsay over experience; and I was very pleasantly surprised.

2013 tokaji

Bright gold in colour, the wine has floral apricot, marmalade and honey characters. The palate is similar- apricot jam, quince, red apple, fruitcake spices and a touch of ripe pineapple. (75% Furmint, 25% Hárslevulu, and 155 g/l residual sugar). With this abundant residual sugar, but plentiful acidity, the wine is winningly vibrant. It’s concentrated but with a different mouthfeel to a Sauternes. Oak is obliterated here by the fruit depth and acidity.

It’s a terrific experiment, worth 92 points and drink to 2026 (a guess with my inexperience of this style),

 

2007 Schmitges Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spatlese** 8%

Another wine from the Mosel (Germany), the ** indicates “more” than a general spatlese level.. The site is around the village of Erden, and “treppchen” means little steps. These have been carved into the steep slope to help the workers in their vineyard travails. A picture is on the Schmitges website.

2007 schmitges

Cork OK, medium gold colour. Fresh, red apple, camphor, wax, blood orange, golden delicious apple, and tropical fruits, especially mango. The palate has more grapefruit, and shows mixed apple and tropical fruits, some glace fruits, creaminess and mixed spices. (85 g/l residual sugar). It’s vibrant and compelling with cleansing acidity. A very, very satisfying, great-value purchase!

Drink to 2026, 92 points

Two Seppeltsfield aperas

Here in Melbourne, in light lockdown, we’re unable to meet at restaurants or share wines with friends. It’s especially difficult to open the strong and/or sweet wines I usually write about – because these styles in particular – are meant to be shared. Instead, I have been spending more time on other pleasures – the movies and documentaries on Kanopy, and a set of music videos on bluescluster. A few Zoom meetings about wine, and on guitar have been diverting. I had just one morning picking Shiraz and another day driving collecting buckets of Shiraz.

Anyway, some impressions of a few recent drinks.

Seppeltsfield DP 116 Aged Flor apera 23%
Seppeltsfield DP38 Vera Viola Rich rare oloroso 21.7%
Australia has a long tradition of making sherry styles (now called apera), with notable exponents Seppeltsfield (based in the Barossa Valley), and a group clustered around Rutherglen – Chambers, Morris, Pfeiffer and others. The style is doomed to be niche, but when cellar-doors re-open, the wines will enliven your taste-buds. In the meantime, check out the bottle shops, and buy one!

These two wines were made by the solera method (based on the Palomino grape, and neutral spirit) , with an average minimum age of 15 and 18 years respectively. Bravo to Seppeltsfield chief winemaker Fiona Donald, and all the crew involved over the many years to sustain this style.

The style thrives as a pre-dinner aperitif, yet has the substance to stand up to a charcuterie platter, a rich soup, or tapas – sardines, whitebait or calamari instantly come to mind; the price for these 500ml bottles – retailing around $30 – is a travesty – jump in! I think the style should be served cool, but I see no need to keep them in the fridge for more than a few minutes. Once opened, they will merrily keep for a few weeks without losing appeal.

seppeltsfield aperas

The aged flor is a bright pale orange/amber colour; it exudes candied orange peel, light honey, cashew, incense and salinity. The palate is concentrated, bracingly fresh, and mouthfilling.
Drink now, 91 points.

The oloroso style is similar in colour, slightly darker amber. More dark honey. Mixed dried fruitcake, mixed nuts, sweet spices, darker fruits, more twang. The palate shows greater vanilla, cream and concentration, with even better length than its sibling. Irresistable!
Drink now, 93 points

For some learning, Ruben Luyten has an amazing site at Sherry Notes; there is a wealth of information about flor yeast, biological aging, the classifications, and digressions to the “en ramas”, almacenistas, and lots more! Highly recommended.

2010 Felton Road Block 1 Riesling 9%

Well known for Pinot Noirs, Chardonnay, and Riesling, especially their “block” wines, Felton Road winery – Central Otago, New Zealand – has a well-deserved reputation for excellence. Their wines have good distribution in Australia and elsewhere. The  detailed website has much detail on each vintage and a handy, albeit optimistic “when to drink” chart.

2010 felton rd riesling bock 1

This Felton Road wine is a bright light gold, showing the prized combination of fruit vibrancy and complexity from development in the bottle. Citrus (lime and lemon) is to the fore, wax and light honey – then ripe red apple emerges. The palate – 64g/l residual sugar- sits at around Spatlese-weight, the citrus flavours are joined with slinky textural flintiness plus the red apple, and some fruit-salad flavours. Acidity matches the fruit sweetness. It’s in the zone now, and hard to imagine better drinking with more age.

Drink to 2023, and 91 points.