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2010 Bernkasteler Badstube, Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel, JJ Prum
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Weingut J.J Prüm is without question one of the finest estates in the Mösel. Sebastian Alois Prum established it in 1911, after he received the vineyards as his share of the inheritance. He soon after built the winery up to a respected estate but it was under the stewardship of his son Sebastian that the estate really began to hit its stride. Sebastian's son, Manfred, has run the estate since 1969.
The estate has 33.5 acres of vineyards planted with Riesling on steeply-sloping, Devon schist soils. The vast majority of the holdings are in the top middle-Mösel sites: Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Graacher Himmelreich, Graacher Domprobst, Bernkasteler Lay, Bernkasteler Badstube and Bernkasteler Bratenhöfchen. Yields are severely restricted and harvesting is late and often continues through to late November. The winemaking is meticulous and the wines are characterised by their purity of fruit as well as by their distinctive mineral/slate character.
Riesling's twin peaks are its intense perfume and its piercing crisp acidity which it manages to retain even at high ripeness levels.
In Germany, Riesling constitutes around 20% of total plantings, yet it is responsible for all its greatest wines. It is planted widely on well-drained, south-facing slate-rich slopes, with the greatest wines coming from the best slopes in the best villages. It produces delicate, racy, nervy and stylish wines that cover a wide spectrum of flavours from steely and bone dry with beautifully scented fruits of apples,apricots, and sometimes peaches, through to the exotically sweet flavours of the great sweet wines.
It is also an important variety in Alsace where it produces slightly earthier, weightier and fuller wines than in Germany. The dry Rieslings can be austere and steely with hints of honey while the Vendages Tardives and Sélection de Grains Nobles are some of the greatest sweet wines in the world.
It is thanks to the New World that Riesling is enjoying a marked renaissance. In Australia the grape has developed a formidable reputation, delivering lime-sherbet fireworks amid the continental climate of Clare Valley an hour's drive north of Adelaide, while Barossa's Eden Valley is cooler still, producing restrained stony lime examples from the elevated granitic landscape; Tasmania is fast becoming their third Riesling mine, combining cool temperatures with high UV levels to deliver stunning prototypes.
New Zealand shares a similar climate, with Riesling and Pinot Gris neck to neck in their bid to be the next big thing after Sauvignon Blanc; perfectly suited is the South Island's Central Otago, with its granitic soils and continental climate, and the pebbly Brightwater area near Nelson. While Australia's Rieslings tend to be full-bodied & dry, the Kiwis are more inclined to be lighter bodied, more ethereal and sometimes off-dry; Alsace plays Mosel if you like.