2016 Scharzhofberger Riesling Spätlese, Egon Müller
Stephan Reinhardt - 27/04/2018
About this WINE
The Rieslings from Egon Müller are widely recognised as amongst the very best in Germany today. He has just under eight hectares of vines in the world-famous Scharzhofberg vineyard, which includes three hectares of ungrafted Riesling vines from the 19th century.
The grapes are hand-harvested and then pressed without any skin contact before being fermented in large, 1,000-litre oak casks in the natural, deep cellars. The wines are usually bottled six months later. Müller’s sweet Rieslings are arguably the finest in Mosel, while his Kabinett and Spätlese wines are fine and elegant.
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.
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The 2016 Scharzhofberger Sptlese has a clear and smoky/stony bouquet as well as a very delicate, bright and ripe (yet botrytis-free) Riesling aroma with floral and almost peppery slatey notesfascinating! Mouth-fillingly lush and piquant on the palate, with beautifully generous, round and elegant fruit, remarkable intensity and length, this is a gorgeous Scharzhofberger made to drink for ages. Dont drink before 2030, and dont die before 2060. Tasted March 2018.
Stephan Reinhardt - 27/04/2018
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