1994 Seppelt Show Sparkling Shiraz, and more….

1994 Seppelt Show Sparkling Shiraz 13.5%
Under crown seal, this wine is outstanding, (but unfortunately my last bottle).

1994 seppelt sparkling red

A terrific Australian style; old vines from the St Peters vineyard at Great Western (Victoria)  and around 8 years on lees. Plenty of mousse, a touch of brick on the deep colour but wonderfully good for its age; a multitude of spices, black cherry, and plush leather; the palate is sensual, super rich, ripe and creamy; the combination of freshness and bottle development, blackberry, complex dark fruits, spices and a super, long, long finish is stunning. Around  25 g/l residual sugar meshes harmoniously with the evident, fine tannins.

Drink anytime over the next 20 or so years; some mushroom development will appear, but the fruit power, balance and freshness make this wine an absolute winner and a complete delight to drink.

Drink to 2035, 95 points

2007 Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett 8.5%
From the Nahe (adjacent to Mosel). Light-to medium gold in colour, the wine displays cumquat, petroleum, white peach, white flowers and honey. Red apple and redcurrant are more accessible on the palate with steely acidity. Exceptionally well balanced, this is ultra-easy to drink- in the zone- with a few more years of pleasure ahead.

Drink to 2025, and 91 points

2007 Reinhold Haart Piesporter Domherr Riesling spatlese 8.5%
Mosel, with a light gold colour, tropical fruits (predominantly pineapple) meshed with lemon

There is abundant residual sugar (even for a spatlese) but the acidity is well judged. Mouthfilling, vibrant citrus and a touch of mineral and spices makes this wine easy to consume.  A touch of hardness on the palate suggests caution about further cellaring.

Drink to 2022, and 88 points

Fraternal twins – 2007 Reinhold Haart Riesling Auslese

Two Mosel Rieslings were tasted blind; the exercise was “spot the difference”; keeping tasters on full alert. Similarities were present, but the difficult task was in defining where, what (and why).

The wines presented were

  • 2007 Reinhold Haart Piesport Goldtropchen Riesling Auslese 7.8%                           119 g/l, 7.7 acid,                                             94 points,  drink to 2023
  • 2007 Reinhold Haart Wintricher Ohligsberg Riesling Auslese 7.4%                             127 g/l, 8.3 acid,                                             95 points, drink to 2028

The wines had sufficient distinctiveness to warrant separate bottlings; the Goldtropchen displaying smoky, yellow peach, a touch of green plum and red apple, mineral and redcurrant, silky and delicious; Ohligsberg brighter, more linear, finer, slightly sweeter, with similar descriptors plus some yellow-skin apple and slightly greater persistence. The complex interplay between acidity and residual sugar came into play, with the Ohligsberg seeming much sweeter than the analytics indicate. Both had nervy acidic drive to balance the considerable residual sugar.

2007-haart-twins

Piesport has had its reputation tarnished in the past- possibly due to excessive yield and inappropriate sites; Haart is one of the brigade determinedly correcting this legacy.

Two absolutely delicious, balanced, wines at a lovely stage in their development.  The  residual sugar is high for the Auslese category; with Ohligsberg shading the Goldtropchen for complexity and pleasure, but both wines offered delights that will continue into the future.

A fresh fruit platter was an ideal accompaniment.

2008 R Haart Goldtropchen Kabinett Riesling 8.5%

An excellent wine from well-regarded winemaker, from a terrific site in the nondescript Piesport village of the Mosel.

Still lemon in colour, its from a year that has always been “user-friendly”, skipping the usual Riesling dull patch that often settles after a few years and last a few more.

2008 haart kab

Red apple and pear, tropical fruits approaching ripe pineapple, and there are more stonefruit characters on the very long palate, and intriguing marzipan notes. Its quite sweet for a Kabinett, but has the acidity to keep it balanced. So delicate, so fresh and so interesting. The contents of the glass magically disappear.

Why wait when it drinks so deliciously?

Drink to 2021, 91 points.

Mosel musings

Its not easy to take notes when on holidays, and with limited access to the internet. A few thoughts follow. Photos may be added later.

There are dozens of wineries in Bernkastel, and hundreds in the surrounding areas. Most are small, so the wines are not exported. Insider knowledge is needed to determine makers of decent wines. And the larger wineries may make more than 50 different wines each year, so what is available to taste and for sale can cover multiple vintages, sites, levels of quality; and it is certainly not feasible to try every possible wine, so we relied on the abilities of the hosts to take us through a range of wines. Further, although English was spoken everywhere we went (and my partner Robyn is fluent in German) there are only so many questions that can reasonably be asked, and notes scrawled in a limited time. The logistics to get any purchased wines back to Australia are awkward- I felt guilty buying so little.

The Mosel area is based around the  winding Mosel River, so it is quite a long area, with vines planted mostly on “the good side” of the river. This means the wines swap sides as the river meanders. Slopes can be death-defying, and it’s amazing how the vines can be cared for under such conditions. There are many paths suitable for cycling too.

Many wineries are only available to visit by appointment, and the car GPS was invaluable! Once opened, bottles can be safely refrigerated without degrading for at least one week (not a capability I seem to need).

The Mosel has had a dream run without poor vintages since the late 1980’s. This came to a crashing end in 2013 and 2014, vintages that winemakers described as “difficult” or worse. Buy with caution.

A special mention needs to be made of Rieslinghaus (formerly called Porn) in Bernkastel. There were >20 wines available by the glass, of varying vintages, makers etc. In addition, bottles, magnums etc were available for sale at very fair prices and covering again a range of vintages from makers such as JJ Prum, Schloss Lieser, Willi Haag and many more – plus some “auction” wines. This was an excellent resource – although we were busy revisiting wines purchased on our last trip in 2009. And this time around we wanted to try some different makers to gain a portrait of style (previous visits included MF Richter, Willi Schaefer, JJ Prum, R Haart, Dr Loosen).

A few random dinner wines -with scanty impressions included

fe riesling

2004 Trimbach Frederick Emile Riesling – We had to start with a dry wine, and one from Alsace; delightful, pale, spicy, stony, dry. Drink now – 2025, score 93

bernkastel dinner wines

2003 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr spatlese; this was a very hot vintage, and many wineries struggled; Prum described the wines as “sulky” and that the sites would take time to overcome the vintage vagaries – rich, mouthfilling, lush sweet tropical fruits, ready. Drink to 2020, score 90

2004 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr spatlese; very different! Lively acidity and more classical limes, apple and energy. Drink to 2025, score 93

2004 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett; acidity powers this wine; minerals, lively; Here we are with an older Kabinett that will endure for at least another 5 years, but can’t quibble with drinking it; drink to 2020, score 90

2007 R Haart Kreutzwingert Piesporter feinherb 12.5%; Happy to drink this, although its drying out a bit. Red berries, stonefruit, white peach, and orange bitters.  Drink now, score 87

2008 R Haart Goldtropchen Auslese; 2008 seems to be the vintage that never retreated into its shell; this is a very sweet wine where the bottle mysteriously seemed to empty rapidly. I cannot really see further improvement and am happy to drink with its now – although the wine will hold. Drink to 2023, score 91.

2010 Schloss Lieser juffer sonnenuhr spatlese.  A year of high acidity, but once again the wine had the pleasurable balance of acid, sweetness and texture. Drink to 2025, score 93