Multifarious 2017 Mosels, Part 1: Winningen to Wehlen

“The overall good news concerning 2017 is how many growers, through whatever combination of luck and skill, avoided the pitfalls. There are far too many dramatically successful and highly distinctive wines for any lover of Mosel Riesling to want to pass on this vintage. What’s more, while there is (contrary to widespread belief) no simple correlation between ageworthiness and any of those elements that 2017 has in abundance – acids, extract, potential alcohol – it’s likely that where cleanliness and concentration go hand in hand, there will be some long-lived 2017s. I would not be surprised, though, to witness wines that taste terrific today subsequently entering periods of crankiness, so one should be both risk-tolerant and patient if one is going to cellar the vinous fruits of this growing season. There is ample opportunity for hedging bets, given the abundance of excellent 2015s and 2016s as well as emerging 2018s on the market. And it especially bears emphasizing that I canvass the wines of those growers whom I have found to be most talented and successful. How steeply quality falls off when one tastes a more typical cross-section of the Mosel’s bottlers will always vary more extremely as a function of growing season and harvest conditions, and is something on which I lack sufficient experience to comment. But I will pass along this observation from one grower: ‘After I began collecting anecdotes from some of my colleagues who sit on the committees that confer official approval as Qualitätswein, I began to realize why 2017 is so widely considered a problem vintage.’ When it comes to cellaring the products of botrytis concentration, I am always reluctant to recommend wines that begin life with overtly fungal aromas. But no less a luminary when it comes to nobly sweet Riesling than Egon Müller has had occasion to remind me that scents of mushroom are a youthful phenomenon that can disappear. I am, however, quite confident that many nobly sweet elixirs whose sheer concentration might lead the consumer to expect great things will ultimately fail to deliver dazzling complexity, and confident too that some will only reveal after a few years in bottle the extent to which the botrytis that concentrated them was truly noble. In general, growers testify to their 2017s having needed time to begin revealing quality or even distinctive personality, and that phenomenon will almost certainly be accentuated at the nobly sweet end of the Riesling spectrum. My advice is thus to favor nobly sweet wines that are conspicuously whistle-clean and youthfully complex – which naturally will also be those to which I have accorded the highest scores, since characteristics that may emerge with time in bottle but are not present today can no more be rated than they can be tasted.” --David Schildknecht, Vinous , Multifarious 2017 Mosels, Part 1: Winningen to Wehlen, January 2020 To read more about how growers in Mosel handled the 2017 conditions and to read David's full report, check out the full article on Vinous . Below is a selection of notes from the report.

Alfred Merkelbach

"Urglück" Ürziger Würzgarten Spätlese Riesling 2017

Delectable Wine
9.2

Picked at an Oechsle level that in any other vintage I can recall would have been labeled without question as Auslese, this is not however a Spätlese that exhibits more than very modest sweetness, for which not just the Merkelbachs’ tendency to let fermentations finish with less sugar, but also the presence of nearly nine grams’ acidity and nearly 30 grams of dry extract are jointly responsible. Sassafras, mint, black tea and fresh strawberry on the nose segue into an infectiously juicy but glycerol-slicked palate that suggests a cooling yet smoky infusion of green herbs and black tea into strawberry and apricot. A lightly saline savor of celery seed and an undertone of wet stone add to the appeal of a lusciously sustained finish that both soothes and refreshes. (David Schildknecht, Vinous, January 2020) — a month ago

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Weingut Heymann-Löwenstein

Schieferterrassen Riesling 2017

Delectable Wine
9.0

Apple, lime and honeydew melon are laced with fennel and mint on the nose, and the lusciously juicy, silken palate displays a lovely combination of cooling and nippy herbal notes, the latter represented by coriander seed and cress. At 12.5% alcohol, this is a relatively full as well as lush Riesling, but its stimulating and refreshing finish manages to evince a welcome hint of buoyancy. (David Schildknecht, Vinous, January 2020) — a month ago

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Joh. Jos. Prüm

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Spätlese Riesling 2017

Delectable Wine
9.3

White peach and mango are wreathed in heliotrope and honeysuckle, accompanied by a hazy hint of yeastiness and fermentative “stink” familiar from youthful wines at this address. The midpalate impression frees itself entirely from any haziness, delivering floral profusion and a luscious abundance of fruit utterly transparent to stony, smoky and mouthwateringly marine nuances. “It seems to be a particularly good year for Zeltinger,” observed Katharina Prüm, noting that this particular wine made significant qualitative strides in its first nine months. I can’t wait to witness what lies in store that many years or more down the pike! (David Schildknecht, Vinous, January 2020) — a month ago

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Alexandre De Alvarez

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Immich-Batterieberg

Enkircher Steffensberg Riesling 2017

Delectable Wine
9.2

This leads with smoky, stony and pungent notes to which scents of apple, white peach and grapefruit take a back seat. The palate – satiny, yet with underlying firmness, and surprisingly buoyant – offers smoky black tea, peppery olive oil, piquant kumquat, tingling stony impingements plus a crunchy, incisive cut of mustard seed and white currant. The upshot is an energetic, highly invigorating finish offering a dynamic interchange of diverse fruit and mineral elements, but by no means oblivious to Riesling’s first duty to refresh. Look for time in bottle to bring greater textural allure, typically a hallmark of Immich-Batterieberg bottlings. (David Schildknecht, Vinous, January 2020) — a month ago

Franzen

Bremmer Calmont Riesling 2017

Delectable Wine
9.0

This bottling, which relies principally on old vines in the lower reaches of Calmont, delivers clarity and mineral diversity that I missed in the corresponding Frauenberg bottling. Marine breeze and quarry dust mingle on the nose with ripe apple and earthy raw autumn squashes. A silken feel is complemented by buoyancy and juicy abundance of fruit, and the mineral dimensions reprise on a long-lasting finish. (David Schildknecht, Vinous, January 2020) — a month ago

Lubentiushof

Gäns Alte Reben Riesling 2019

Delectable Wine
9.3

This leads with an herbal mélange that is subtly sweet as well as smoky, suggesting a mingling of basil and marjoram; then along come scents of white peach and winter squash. The feel is silken and at 11.5% alcohol there is a lovely sense of lift. A sweetly herbal, nutty suggestion of tiny lima beans adds depth. The vibrantly sustained finish, its luscious fruit underlain by wet stone and secretly supported by 13 grams of residual sugar, introduces an invigoratingly peppery bite and mouthwatering salinity to the at once cooling and smoky persistence of green herbal elements. (David Schildknecht, Vinous, January 2020) — a month ago

Vollenweider

Wolfer Goldgrube Riesling Beerenauslese 2017

Delectable Wine
9.4

Yellow cherry jam and grapefruit marmalade are mingled with honey, marzipan and caramel on the nose and the glycerol-rich, seductively creamy palate of this colorful bottling from fruit harvested well into TBA territory. It finishes with prominent but not excessive sweetness, a soothing sense of saturation, a mouthwatering lick of salt and prodigious sheer persistence. Very much a wine with a future! (David Schildknecht, Vinous, January 2020) — a month ago

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Weingut Clemens Busch

Vom Roten Schiefer Trocken Riesling 2017

Delectable Wine
9.0

Pink grapefruit and ripe peach are tinged with fresh ginger and smoky black tea on the nose and the silken-textured, lees-inflected yet generously juicy palate. The luscious finish harbors more than enough bite and smoky pungency to invigorate. While there seems to be nothing remotely approaching consensus on why crumbly iron-rich red slate of the sort involved here (in both the Nonnenberg and parts of the Marienburg) tends to imprint Riesling with distinctively luscious citricity, deep peachiness and smoky accents, the effect is undeniable and unmistakable. (David Schildknecht, Vinous, January 2020) — a month ago

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Weingut Knebel

Riesling 2017

Delectable Wine
9.0

White currant, lime, fennel and basil on the nose anticipate the combination of lively, tart-edged juiciness with cooling green herbal infusion that subsequently characterizes a polished inner-mouth performance. While legally trocken – not to mention impeccably balanced – it isn’t labeled as such. Thanks to its harboring only 11.5% alcohol, this bottling finishes with a delightful sense of buoyancy that complements its unique combination of soothing cling, infectious juiciness and invigoratingly seedy crunchiness. What’s more, it displays regionally typical accents of smoke and stone. I could drink a lot of this! (David Schildknecht, Vinous, January 2020) — a month ago