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!

More recent random “theme” drinks

2008 Schloss Lieser Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett 8%
Cork Ok, and another 2008 Mosel riesling ready for action.
Light gold colour, abundant ripe red apple, white flowers and lemon aromatics; the palate is light-bodied but full-flavoured, with  red berries, apple, honey and willing acidity. Purchase notes indicate 63 g/l residual sugar. Irresistible, but drink up while it’s still bursting with energy.

Drink to 2023, and 91 points; I’m quietly purring that I have some of their higher-end wines from that year too….

2010 Petaluma Fortified shiraz 20%
half bottle, cork, and probably a cellar-door wine as the “Petaluma” brand is buried in the back label.

This is a very smart wine from the Adelaide Hills (South Australia); abundant ripe black cherry melded with sweet brandy spirit. Irresistible.  And then the subtleties emerge; this is pristine-  blueberry, mulberry, morello cherry. Whispery, very fine silky tannins. A modern, seductive, classy fortified with supreme balance that will mature gracefully over many more years. Juicy, fleshy and the “drunken cherry” flavours are wondrous.

Drink to 2030, and 93 points.

2006 Schloss Lieser Niederberg Helden Riesling auslese long goldkap 7%

Goldkap (or gold capsule) indicates more sweetness, the “long” also shows more; on this bottle the front and back lablels do not display any extra words – at least for this vintage-  so one must look at the capsule colour, and be able to compare with a “standard” Schloss Lieser auslese goldkap. Trust me on this until I find other bottles and display a comparison photograph.

Golden in colour, with dusty botrytis and apricot marmalade notes present. Viscous with oranges, grass and green nettle joust with the very rich melon and stonefruits. 185 g/l residual sugar, yet the trademark Mosel acidity ensures this is a bracingly refreshing and balanced wine with time in reserve. It’s a marvel on how long the flavours dwell in the mouth, teasing to want more pleasure, while the sensory gratification still lingers.

2006 schloss aus lgk

What is an appropriate food – if any- to accompany this wine? Avoid anything creamy – have a fresh fruit platter, or a fruit tart, but leave plenty of time for contemplation and admiration.

Drink to 2028, score 94.

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).

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