Catch-up with some European sweet wines

2007 willi, grun

2007 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett AP#9 8%
One of my favourite Mosel producers. 57g/l residual sugar. A bright pale gold, red apple, touch of barely ripe pineapple. Crunchy, fresh, melons and lime, with a rich fresh mouthfeel, Comforting, comfortable, refreshing.

To 2030, 91 points.

2007 Maximin Grunhaus herrenberg Riesling spatlese 8%
Mosel. Deeper gold, Aromatically less pure than the previous wine; candle-wax, red grapefruit, spiced pears. The palate displays more dried and glace fruits; acidity does not seem as vibrant and a bit of hardness is evident. No trouble drinking this wine over several days, but early consumption is suggested.

The label is “old-school”.

To 2025 and 89 points

2006 Ch Coutet 14%
Barsac, 75% Semillon, 23% sav blanc 2% muscadelle; 149 g/l rs. A good but not brilliant vintage for Sauternes, but the wine (half bottle) has held well. There is abundant information on their website.

Light toffee colour, showing pristine vanilla, icing sugar, stewed apricot, and orange peel. The palate is very ripe and sweet, with some marmalade characters and almond (oak). Racy acid makes helps; there is tension between the exotic fruit sweetness, acidity and mouthfilling texture.

From a half-bottle, this wine was a wonderful result for the vintage and seems on a long plateau. Drink to 2025 (conservative, but the wine presents so well now), and 93 points

2010 Mader Pinot Gris Schlossberg Grand cru (sweet)
Hunawihr,  Alsace. Light gold colour, Sultana, pears, dried apple, dried apricot. The grapey palate retains just enough acidity to keep interest.

Drying out, with possibly some oxidation. There is still drinking enjoyment, but it’s on the decline

Drink now, and 87 points


Two sweet old world wines

2007 von Schubert Maximin Grunhaus Herrenberg Riesling Auslese 8%
Mosel, Germany. A clear dark straw colour, this wine from Maximin Grunhaus shows tropical fruit especially mango plus a touch of mint. The palate is slightly oily, with some bitter herb, ripe red berry and red apple. It’s not the sweetest Auslese -style encountered (although acidity is balanced). Some grippiness is evident but not unduly intrusive – and my preference would be for earlier drinking while this wine retains its fruity zestiness.

In the likely realm of bottle variation, drink to 2025, 90 points

1964 Moulin Touchais 12%
Loire, Chenin blanc. The Loire valley is home to a range of chenin blanc from dry to botrytised (and other varieties). Chenin Blanc’s versatility means it can produce sparkling wines, the dry Savennières and sweeter styles but I seldom see the wines of Bonnezeaux or Quarts de Chaume in Australia. Chenin blanc in Australia however is generally innocuous, although it was once a mainstay of Houghton White Burgundy and I recall a stunning botrytis example in the 1981 St Leonards. I have also tasted some delicious South African examples.

The sweet wines from Moulin Touchais have a reputation for extreme longevity, and I’ve tasted other examples from Marc Bredif back to 1959, and have a few Domaine Huet tucked away. The Moulin Touchais wines are apparently picked in two passes – the first early while it is full of acidity, and a later harvest when it has ripened further; these are then blended.

1964 moulin

The bottle was opened and decanted at a restaurant and I didn’t see the cork, alas. The wine was a glowing gold in colour and showed the tell-tale varietal apple aromas, with some honeysuckle and spiced sultana notes. There was also a touch of straw oxidation, but not disconcerting, the palate exhibited wax, apple, honey,  citrus, some nuttiness and refreshing texture – and at a guess 50 g/l residual sugar. There was plenty of life in this old wine, and it seemed to become richer, more mouthfilling, vigorous and harmonious over the evening, and it matched particularly well with fish courses.

Again, at this stage of life, variation is expected, and I was well pleased with the result, especially the improvement with extensive aeration.  Drink to 2030, and 92 points.

More Mosel musings

Schloss Lieser is located next to an impressive building undergoing long renovations to become a hotel. Thomas Haag was on holiday prior to the looming 2015 vintage but daughter Anna took us through the 2014 vintage wines that were not yet sold out. Wines are imported into Australia by Neville Yates at Eurocentric, and the winery’s reputation has built enormously since it started a mere 20 years ago. The Rieslings all showed a family trait of clean crunchy acids.

schloss lieser wines

2014 Schloss Lieser trocken was very dry, but with stony minerals underlying (drink to 2018, score 87); 2014 Schloss Lieser feinherb was probably drier than usual, but demonstrated lemon and apple, some green fruits and herbs (drink to 2020, score 88); 2014 Juffer Kabinett 7.5% again showed the magic 7.5% could achieve- poached pears, spices wrapped in a fine lightly textured wine drink to 2025, score 90). 2014 Niedeberg Helden spatlese had tremendous depth of flavour, mingled honey and pears, cinnamon and other baking spices (to 2028, score 90; the sold-out 2014 Juffer Sonnenuhr Spatlese 7% was easy to like, melons and slightly under-ripe cantaloupe sitting with its honeyed texture (to 2030, score 92). 2014 Niederberg Helden Auslese seemed very comfortable now with honeysuckle, pears, spices, concentration and balance (to 2032, score 92) . 2014 Juffer Sonnenuhr Auslese was an even better wine, seemed drier, but with flavours touching on apricot and again with the lovely spices backing it up to 2036, score 93. Finally the 2014 Niederberg Helden Auslese Goldkap had different apple flavours – perhaps the golden delicious, and voluminous brown spices. A compelling wine (to 2035, score 95). Quality through the range.

molitor tasting room molitor wines

Markus Molitor is a large family estate (beware- not located at the address on the website). There were about 40 different wines available, but we felt we had disrupted their routine. I didn’t enjoy the 2014 MM Schiefersteil with its odd aromatics (not recommended), the 2012 MM Alte Reben (70-80 y/o vines) had strong mineral overtones, white flowers, and a touch of passionfruit (drink to 2023, score 90). 2008 MM Graacher Himmelreich Spatlese feinherb had persistence, the interplay of its honey and stone fruits memorable (to 2023, score 90; 2011 MM Erdener treppchen Auslese** feinherb had a filigree texture (to 2025, score 91). (In some estates, the use of an asterisk – or several -indicates a bit “extra” in the category). Moving to sweeter wines, I was disappointed with the 2005 MM Bernkastler Badstube Auslese*, its rich and dense honeydew melon aspects cut short by a seeming lack of acid (drink now, score 83). The 2008 Wehlener Sonnenuhr spatlese was very smart; ripe apples and “sultana bran” coming together beautifully (to 2025, score 92). 2012 Erdener Treppchen Auslese** was gorgeous, Apricot, mandarine, honeydew melon again, this was viscous and a nice way to end the tasting cheerfully (to 2030, score 94).

mg tractor

Maximin Grunhauser is in Mertesdorf (not far from Trier) and on the opposite side of the road to what the GPS directed. Is labels can only be described as “traditional”. Our host was not really a salesman, but was quite willing to locate bottles and answer questions. This estate turned out to be another find – great quality across the range.  Wines are imported into Australia (again) by Neville Yates at Eurocentric. Picture is a very cute vehicle!

I was not impressed with the entry-level 2014 MG Riesling trocken (drink now, score 83), but things moved up significantly with the 2014 MG Herrenberg Riesling Alte Reben trocken, with much more finesse, limes and other citrus fruit running through its delicious frame (Drink to 2022, score 88). 2013 MG Herrenberg Riesling Kabinett feinherb, exhibited more peach and apple To 2023, score 90; 2014 MG Abtsberg Kabinett at a mere 7.5% blazed with orange blossom, limes and had the lovely balance of sweetness and freshness (to 2025, score 92);  2012 MG Herrenberg Spatlese was superb; the combination of density, Riesling purity and silkiness won me over (to 2025, score 93); 2011 MG Herrenberg Auslese had the touch of petroleum jelly and honey, a melange of mango, and matched acidity; imagine the best thick cordial you have tasted.(to 2030, score 94). The 2013 MG Abtsberg Auslese 7.5 % was a lesser wine in comparison- still slick and silky (to 2025, score 90). Finally we tried the 2011 MG Abtsberg #87 Auslese – just an extra-ordinary wine; tropical fruits plus other exotic fruits, plus some nettles, and a decadent endless finish. (Drink to 2030, score 95).