Drinking JJ Prum (again)

2008 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett #17, 8%
Spatlese and Auslese get more attention, but there is nothing like the weightless attractions of the Kabinett style. Still a very pale lemon colour, there is a characteristic reductive note, followed by waves of lemon and white peach. The palate is more lime-driven, light honey with red and green apple, plus pear notes wrapped in electric minerality. It’s another wine that defies willpower to insist on further sampling. Sweet, but a wine of joy.

2008 jj prum ws kabinett

While Mosel Rieslings often look thrilling when young (say for three years), they often proceed through a sulky stage for three to five years, before re-emerging in glory. This wine, like many of its 2008 Mosel brethren has always irresistibly delivered delicious drinking.

Drink to 2030, and 91 points

2007 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkap AP #17, 7.5%
This wine was also a pale colour belying its age. Honey, nettles, yellow peach and green plum were all present; a viscous, rich, decadent palate with spice notes and faint nuttiness intermingled., wrapped in appropriate vibrant pebbly acidity. Radiant, luscious, seductive and visceral.

To 2035, 95 points.

Nearly Xmas drinks

2006 MF Richter Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese AP #18 9%
Mosel, 106 g/l residual sugar.

2006 richter bjs spat

It’s a bright deep gold colour (like its sibling tasted recently), but the scents include honey, red apple, some white stonefruit, citrus peel and spices; it’s ripe and mouthfilling despite the modest alcohol, and some lime joins the picture at the finish.

Its mature but still fresh, and delivers enormous pleasure.

To 2024, 92 points

1997 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese AP #2 99 7.5%
Mosel. Cork has managed its task. There seem to have been a few variations of this (Cellartracker lists Ap 8, AP 9 and Ap 16). Light lemon colour, with vibrant scents of red apple, and ripe nashi pear. Smoke, citrus, lime, apple, trails of petroleum and abundant mineral make up the package. Mosel wines age with grace!

1997 jj prum ws auslese

A tremendous effort for a mature wine (an auction purchase in 2015), with vitality to spare.

To 2030, and a very easy 93+ points.

Recent drinking

2006 MF Richter Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese AP #7 8%
Mosel, 91 g/l residual sugar.

Bright deep gold colour, showing red apple, a hint of pineapple and spices. The palate is ripe, creamy, with similar ripe red  apple, citrus and a touch of nut puree on the finish.

It’s sweet for the style (2006 in the Mosel was a heavy botrytis year) but retains plenty of acidity. I cannot imagine additional improvement- it’s in the holding zone, and I suggest drinking rather than keeping.

To 2024, and 90 points

1973 Kaiser Stuhl Vintage Port
Shiraz, Barossa Valley. The company no longer exists – corporate shenanigans.

From an average year, the surprise is the longevity. It’s not the most complex wine, but it shows the stylistic sweet, ripe liquorice and blackberry fruit, suggestions of mocha, raisin and camphor, and warming brandy spirit. A surprise that this humble wine from an average vintage still provides pleasure after 47 years!

Drink now, 87 points.

MF Richter Kabinett Rieslings from 2006

Mosel, and Richter is known for its Rieslings that perform above their formal classification. Labels err on the traditional side.

A visit to Mulheim in 2007 had us revel with a range of their current release wines, and merry purchases of some very fairly priced older vintages. A winery tour including viewing their museum stocks was a highlight. Back in Melbourne, top-up purchases were mandatory. 2006 in the Mosel was a high botrytis year (along with its usual associated other rots). These Kabinetts were cellared longer than ideal, but still worth assessing. An expected highlight 2006 MF Richter Riesling Kabinett from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard was also opened, but was sadly somewhat oxidised (flytox, phenolic and flat). Corks on all bottles were acceptable for age. Basically these wines are ready to drink!

2006 richter kabinetts

2006 MF Richter Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett #5 9%
69 g/l residual sugar. Deep gold, this is somewhat more restrained than its sibling. It shows the ripe apple and trademark spices, with a dash of redcurrant. It shows greater earthy savoury elements on the palate. Texture comes to the rescue here, but it doesn’t quite have the vibrancy, complexity or drinking appeal of the next wine.

Drink now, 89 points

2006 MF Richter Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett #35 9.5%
83 g/l residual sugar, deep gold with some orange/bronze tints. Floral spices, ripe red apple, passionfruit, apricot and some more exotic tropical fruits. The palate exhibits yellow peach stonefruit, and is lush with mixed spices, minerals and clean acidity. It’s an excellent “heavy-weight” Kabinett, mouthfilling although texturally delicate, and has desirable, delicious drinkability.

Drink up, it’s in the zone, 92 points

Unrelated wines – catching up

1983 orlando vp july 2020

1983 Orlando Vintage Port 19.8%
Barossa Valley (South Australia) Shiraz. Solid ruby colour with minor bricking.  aromatic – sweet, fine brandy spirit; fig, plum, stewed rhubarb, blueberry; fruitcake spices. Later, red liquorice, cherry liqueur, and a touch of almond. Lingering fine tannins meshed with that superb spirit.

Delicious drinking but without the magic of the previous bottle (on this blog Dec 2019) albeit similar notes. No complaints at 37 years!

Drink to 2030, 91 points

2008 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett AP#3 7.5%
Mosel, Screwcap, and 48g/l residual sugar. Bright gold; citrus and Jonathon apple lead with brown spices and minerals; the palate shows juicy yellow-flesh peach, wrapped up with zingy acidity. The mineral influence shines through. The wine is easy to drink, but is not as expressive as most of the wines from one of my favourite Mosel producers.

Drink to 2025, 90 points.

 

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

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