2004 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett AP #19
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.
2001 Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg Riesling Auslese (goldcap) 9.5%
The cork had behaved; its colour was copper; but in this case evidence of botrytis, not oxidation. I’m not very familiar with the Rheinhessen area of Germany; haven’t visited, and haven’t tasted much – more homework is needed!
The Rheinhessen is Germany’s largest wine-growing area, often used in making mainly innocuous white wines, but has undergone a re-evaluation with some very serious winemakers (such as Keller).
Its Australian importer Cellarhand has some helpful notes on the producer, site and winemaker here. The gold capsule indicates the wine is “more” than a basic Auslese.
The wine presents with raisin, red apple, dark honey, orange peel, and fruitcake spices, plus a hint of syrup and wax; the palate is vibrant and unctuous; stonefruit impressions add to the mix. Bounteous residual sugar is balanced by acidity; the compelling richness and freshness tempts further sipping, analysis and enjoyment. No hurry to drink (cork permitting).
94 points, and drink to 2028 (cork permitting).
2007 Knebel Winninger Rottgen Auslese Riesling 7%
From a half bottle, the cork shows some wine travel- no qualms; the label is cellar-scuffed, but the contents are much more important.
The colour is bright gold, with abundant, tantalising stewed apricot, cinnamon spice, pineapple and dark honey. This is class! Reinhard and Beate Knebel (Mosel, Germany) have no trouble delivering wines with an abundance of richness, but with the harmonious balancing acid to provide delight.
The palate is palatial and unctuous (with 190 g/l of residual sugar, somewhat atypically abundant for an Auslese, but I am not complaining). Apricot, quince, honey, wrapped with cinnamon and faint vanilla pod spices. Fresh and smooth, from a fairly typical recent Mosel vintage, this is a startling reminder of the lush featherlight excellence of a sweet Riesling, full of flavour with modest alcohol.
Match with a fruit platter or by just by itself for delightful contemplation.
Drink to 2030, 95 points and I am jealous of anyone that has some bottles remaining.
2007 Emrich-Schonleber Monziger Fruhlingplatzchen Riesling Auslese #17 9%
Another enjoyable wine from the upper Nahe in Germany. From Stephen Reinhardt‘s terrific reference book “The finest wines of Germany” comes the tribute that the family has “maintained parcels in the steepest sites…and restored a number of top parcels that had been abandoned for decades…since they were suitable neither for mechanisation nor for high yields”, ending with Werner Schonleber’s claim that “quality comes from torture”.
Fruhlingplazchen translates as “Spring’s little place” and is mainly blue slate.
This wine is a deep gold colour, exhibiting ripe apricot, yellow peach skin, and quince aromas. The palate is unctuous and honeyed, with a touch of tropical pineapple, plus cinnamon spiciness. There is a strong line of mineral and a delicious persistence. Notes from the importer reveal the wine has 113 g/l of residual sugar, in balance with its acidity. Altogether lovely.
From the half-bottle, drink to 2023 and 94 points.
Tasting JJ Prum Rieslings again
I have liked the style of JJ Prum since I began to become seriously interested in German Rieslings around 2006. JJ Prum are seriously structured wines, made in a reductive style. This means they can look downright ugly when young, and decanting is strongly recommended. A quick tasting of some JJ Prum wines from several vintages at Prince Wine Store was welcome. Very brief notes below, but the tasting reinforced my prejudices! And the wines were too good to spit.
2011 JJ Prum Kabinett – entry level, quite reductive, but showing spearmint and red apple
2009 JJ Prum Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett – still reductive, but more flesh, texture and white peach.
2010 JJ Prum Graacher Himmelreich Spatlese – a high acid year, and a beautifully detailed wine. Some smoke, tropical fruit not quite veering into pineapple, lovely texture, balanced. Will convert the uninitiated; stylish, delicious
2003 JJ Prum Bernkastler Badstube Auslese – a dismally hot year in Europe (that I witnessed). Yet again however, the better makers with better sites have no complaints – the wines just needed time. This wine is ready for business at 12 years age (and a bit more acid would have added to its appeal).
2011 JJ Prum Bernkastler Badstube Auslese – Super wine at such a young age, potent, long, classic minerally style. Mixed white and yellow stonefruits.
2012 JJ Prum Graacher Himmelreich Auslese – Denser, crunchy style, rich, lush, balanced.
2013 JJ Prum Bernkastler Badstube Auslese – a year of low yields, and mostly at the Auslese level. Citrus peel, sherbet, vibrant, creamy. Lovely.
2013 JJ Prum Bernkastler Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese. My “go-to” vineyard for Prum. Shows more mineral red apple and purity; fleshy, textural, a delight.
2013 JJ Prum Bernkastler Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese Goldkap. A more intense selection; Has real drive, tongue-coating silky richness, extensive length; overwhelming, and so much promise for revisiting in 10 or more years.