Canberra district, screwcap, half-bottle.
From a “small batch release”, perhaps I had some spare cash then, and invested in a few bottles from this notoriously wet year in most of Australia (white wines fared better than red wines).
Clonakilla is famed for its Shiraz-Viognier red wine, but its Rieslings are convincing too (as are those from nearby Helms’s). But a late-harvest Riesling from Clonakilla is a rarity. And a fair amount of botrytis is suspected.
The wine is a light-to-medium gold colour, showing lime florals, white flowers, and some less overt ripe apricot and mango; the quite viscous – and sweet- palate is beautifully fresh and balanced, lime juice and spice notes finish with a cleansing citric twang to add interest to its hedonism. This dessert wine absolutely cries out for a fresh fruit platter.
Plenty of life; drink to 2025 and 93 points.
With 4 trophies and 20 gold medals up to 1987, this is a special wine. From McLaren Vale, South Australia, the cork has thankfully performed its duty, and the wine seems younger than its 44 years.
It’s a solid brick red colour (with substantial sediment that makes decanting worthwhile). Fig, rose-hip, blackberry, espresso and sweet integrated brandy spirit are evident. Drier than the typical traditional Oz style, this wine is immaculately manicured; the satin-fine tannins melded with blackberry and a supremely extended palate fully demonstrates why obsessives bother cellaring this style.
Drink to 2030, 95 points.
2009 (Forstmeister Geltz) Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Diabas 12%
Destined for a “GG”, a cask stopped at 16 g/l residual sugar. Pale lemon colour with arresting aromas of passionfruit, white flower, red apple, and ripe green herbs. The wine is compelling in its length, texture and interest (nashi pear) that will suit many cuisines (Asian or something simple such as smoked salmon). This Mosel area wine sits at a “feinherb” level (less than Kabinett) and is completely, winningly delicious.
Drink to 2025, 93 points
2007 JJ Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese Goldkapsule 7.5%
The gold capsule denotes a bit “extra” for its category (some producers use “stars” such as **).
This Mosel wine instantly showed its style and class. Nettle, herb, and petroleum with white peach notes; the palate has rich tropical notes and brisk lemon but the balance of sugar and acidity makes it feathery; and a total, supple delight.
Drink to 2030, and 92 points.
The Richter winery is based in Mulheim, in the Mosel, and when I visited – and tasted- had an extensive range of back-vintages available for purchase. Richter produce richer wines than typical Mosel producers, and are very well known for their Helenkloster Eiswein, which – unusually- is produced in most years.
The wines below made an educational pair- the technical/analytic numbers are reasonably similar; the wines (from a year with plenty of botrytis) are very different. Corks were respectable for their age.
2006 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 8%
91 g/l residual sugar
Light gold colour, and highly aromatic- camphor, wax, tropical fruits especially mango, and a little petroleum. Palate is varietal, clean, lively and delicious.
Drink to 2025, 90 points
2006 Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 9.5%
106 g/l residual sugar.
A slightly deeper gold colour than its sibling; and a bit shyer aromatically, but displaying honey, and minerals., The palate is weightier, fleshier, creamier and richer, with brown spice, mineral, ripe apple and blackcurrant. This wine is drinking beautifully.
Drink to 2030, 92 points.
2007 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprost Riesling Auslese #17, 7.5%
94 g/l residual sugar- serious territory.
The wine is still a bright pale gold colour, with more “presence” than the two Kabinetts opened earlier. There is a touch of petroleum, which does not detract from the array of white peach, white flower, ripe red apple, lemon sherbet and flinty aromatics; the palate is sensual, with those fruit flavours melding with light honey viscosity and a twangy vibrant acidity. This wine is a parcel of delectability, and a fine example of a Mosel sweetie with some bottle development – with great prospects for its future.
Drink to 2033, and 94 points
Willi Schaefer is an extremely well-regarded Mosel producer, whose wines have been available ( in Australia) for around the last ten years through Eurocentric. Riesling is their forte, with well-sited blocks producing a wide range of excellent wines. Two wines tasted below demonstrate the cellar-worthiness of even “humble” Kabinetts, and their refreshing delivery of full flavours at modest alcohol levels.
2008 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprost Riesling Kabinett #2 7.5%
52 g/l residual sugar. Pale lemon/gold colour, this wine shows stonefruit characters, and is an earthier, rounder, softer expression than its sibling below; the palate shows preserved lemon , but this is a delicious easy-drinking Riesling with lovely acidity. While there is no obvious cork detriment, I will not be surprised if other bottles show greater vibrancy, and look forward to testing this in the next few months.
Drink to 2023, and 89 points
2008 Willi Schaefer Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett #9 7.5%
46 g/l residual sugar. Again this wine is a pale, lemon/gold colour, but slightly brighter. This wine displays a multitude of scents- stonefruit (nectarine), minerals and drive. The palate really lights up with spices, red apple, green plum, and sweet lemon. Providing sensual approachability, this wine combines finesse with balance.
Drink to 2030, and 92 points
It was fortuitous that two Burgerspital wines from the same vintage were opened this week (the glass shown in the photo contains the Kabinett).
Burgerspital is a large winery with an easily-accessible shopfront based in Wurzburg (Franconia, Germany). It has a very extensive wine list, with some museum curios available for purchase. Its wines are very clean, with plenty of highlights! Franconia has many wineries, although its speciality is probably its flavoursome Sylvaners, with Riesling also widely planted. The dumpy-shaped bottle is the bocksbeutel, but notice that tradition doesn’t run totally rampant; a screwcap seals the more expensive bottle here. A range of dry and sweet styles are made, with minimal importer enthusiasm evident by the invisibility of this area’s wines, at least in Australia.
2011 Riesling Pfaffenheim Kabinett 12%
A decent cork has helped- this wine has a bright light gold colour, and shows some restrained mango, waxiness and varietally correct scents (but is relatively dry-tasting). It has light clean flavours, and a touch of phenolics. This wine seems to be drying out, and my advice is to drink up while it retains vitality,
Drink to 2021, and 87 points.
2011 Riesling Stein-harfe Spatlese 9%
It seem that I reviewed this wine in late 2015; notes etc turned out to be similar!
Pale gold colour, this wine is fresh and decadent; ripe tropical fruits abound – mango, passionfruit and nectarine; the palate displays bright citrus fruits, yellow honey, and is an excellent blend of sweetness and fresh acidity. This wine is drinking magnificently right now.
Drink to 2025, and 92 points
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).