Sweet


Showing 1–12 of 21 results

  • Carl Loewen Thornicher Ritsch Riesling Beerenauslese 2020 (375ml)

    £210.00

    “Carl Loewen was founded in 1803 when Karl Josef Loewen bought the Detzemer Klosterlay vineyard after secularization. Until Napoleon confiscated church property to sell it off, the vineyard had belonged to the Benedictine abbey of St. Maximin in Trier. While other estates were sold in their entirety, others were split to be sold off in smaller portions, which is how ancestor Loewen managed to buy his land. Christopher Loewen joined his father, Karl-Josef, at home in 2015 and took over entirely in 2022. The Geisenheim graduate worked stages with the Karthäuserhof in the Ruwer, Clemens Busch in Pünderich, Hermann J. Wiemer in New York’s Finger Lakes, Maximin Grünhaus in the Ruwer and finally at Felton Road in Central Otago, New Zealand. Father Karl-Josef Loewen set the path for quality in the 1980s by exchanging sites in the valley with steep parcels of old vines in top sites like the Leiwener Laurentiuslay and Thörnicher Ritsch. In 2008, they could take over the entire vineyards of the historic Carl-Schmitt-Wagner estate, including several very old, own-rooted parcels planted in 1896 and 1904. The aim throughout is to have small, concentrated berries. Today, the Loewens farm 17 hectares, of which 95% are planted to Riesling, and the balance is Pinot Blanc. The entry-level estate wines are machine-harvested. All the rest is hand-harvested. The grapes are pressed directly and receive no skin contact. They are sedimented and then fermented without temperature control, the estate wines in stainless steel, the single-site wines in Fuder, and stay on gross lees until the following spring. The result is a full-bodied, bold, textured, generous and rich style. The wines have density and saltiness, and the top wines are elegant, notwithstanding all their power.”

    Anne Krebiehl, Vinous (10/23)

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  • Chateau de Fargues Sauternes 2008

    £89.95

    “Tasted single blind against its peers. Whereas last year the de Fargues 2008 was immediately forthcoming, a few months later this example demands much more coaxing from the glass. Eventually, it reveals scents of dried pineapple, limestone and a touch of cooking apple with some VA notes lending it a bit of a “kick.” The palate is medium-bodied with a mellifluous texture. It is very well-balanced with a tangible sense of tension from start to finish, attractive notes of dried honey and quince interlacing the long structured finish. This constitutes a serious Sauternes for the serious Sauternes-lover. Tasted January 2012. 95 points”

    Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (12/11)

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  • Dal Forno Romano Vigna Sere 2004 (375ml)

    £129.95

    “The 2004 Vigna Sere is the perfect conclusion to a vintage that will go down as one of Dal Forno’s most magical. Sweet, silky tannins support layers of super-refined, elegant fruit in this magical sweet red. Mocha, espresso, new leather, raspberry jam and spices emerge with time in the glass, but this is really a wine that shows off textural finesse more than anything else. I have tasted this wine many times since it was in barrel and later in bottle. It has never been anything less than spellbinding. It is one of the most magical sweet dessert wines l have ever tasted. At eight years of age the 2004 remains an infant. Drink: 2014-2024. 98 points”

    Antonio Galloni, Vinous (02/11)

     

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  • Donnafugata Ben Rye 2021 (375ml)

    £39.95

    “The 2021 Ben Ryé is a total pleasure, seducing with a bouquet that mixes sweet smoke with tangerine, mint leaf and clove. Like pure nectar on the palate, this envelopes all it touches in texturally ripe orchard fruits and tropical melon. Sweet spices and sour citrus add contrast toward the close. It finishes spicy and long, leaving a dusty inner floral sensation and hints of candied ginger and lime. Ben Rye is always a total pleasure and, in my opinion, one of the top dessert wines produced in Italy. This varietal Zibibbo finishes at 197 grams of residual sugar per liter. Drinking window: 2023-2030. 94 points

    These new releases from Donnafugata are very strong overall, showing a continued increase in overall quality across the board. However, the 2021 Ben Ryé lacks the soaring aromatics and textural depths of the 2019 I tasted last year. Of course, this is likely to do more with the arid conditions of the vintage than anything else. Still, it’s a wonderful effort and remains what I consider to be one of Italy’s greatest dessert wines. The balanced 2019 vintage is on full display through the Cabernet-dominated Dolce & Gabbana Tancredi and Nero d’Avola-dominated Mille e una Notte. Both wines show tremendous potential. I’m not a huge fan of marketing partnerships in the wine world, such as emblazing “Dolce & Gabbana” on the label, but this is a serious wine, and it’s obvious that Donnafugata is putting a lot of effort into making it very special. Their continued efforts on Mount Etna are also noteworthy and are starting to come into their own.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (09/23)

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  • Fontodi Vin Santo 2013 (375ml)

    £54.95

    Review to follow

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  • Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese 2018 (375ml)

    £295.00

    “We searched everywhere [in Juffer] over the entire course of harvest for the shriveled grapes that informed this wine,” reported Haag. And as sometimes happens when there is shriveling, here not just flavors and sugars were prominently concentrated, but also acidity. Candied lemon and lime peels; quince, mirabelle and apricot preserves; and a light layering of caramel and marzipan inform a heady nose and a palate that, despite its gloss, seductive creaminess, honeyed viscosity and sheer sweetness, leads into a finish of remarkable vibrancy and clarity, one revealing both animating juiciness of fresh citrus and mouthwatering salinity. (I tasted this the day before it was to have been bottled, but it had already withstood filtration as well as sulfuring, and l have every confidence that no mishaps will have been allowed to occur thereafter.) Drinking window: 2020-2070. 96-97 points

    Oliver Haag’s team commenced picking on September 15, 2018. “Physiological ripeness had arrived, while must weights were rising – and we didn’t want dry wines with too much alcohol,” he explained. “In the end, the dry wines are half a percent stronger [in alcohol than their 2017 predecessors] and a bit lower in acidity, but still fine, elegant and minerally, not to mention very approachable. It’s a very good vintage,” he concluded, “even if not among the top vintages of the past decade. The wines are a pleasure to drink now, but I have no concerns about cellaring them. And I think this will not be one of those vintages whose wines fall into a deep hole somewhere in their evolution, but that they will perform very consistently. We picked all of our parcels twice and most of them three times,” he continued. “I instructed the harvesters first to take what was still a bit green in color, for Kabinetts with freshness and levity. Next up were the Grosse Gewächse, so that they didn’t end up with too much alcohol. Those were picked in the first and especially the second week of harvest. We had each cluster examined to remove any botrytis-affected grapes, so that must weight didn’t become too high. I left some healthy grapes for later and ended up with one parcel at 99 degrees Oechsle. Okay, the grapes were wonderful in a way, but how to accommodate something like that? It was too much.” (Those last two words were spoken in English.) Picking here continued through the first week of October, with what relatively little there was of noble botrytis being carefully curated along the way. I think Haag’s overall assessment of his 2018 collection may sell his talents and the vintage’s potential short, especially given how impressively the nobly sweet wines show. ”

    David Schildknecht, Vinous (11/20)

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  • Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2010

    £66.95

    “Pink grapefruit, pear nectar, and honey are invigoratingly augmented by citrus rind and pear skin piquancy on the nose and lusciously-fruited palate of Oliver Haag’s 2010 Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Auslese Gold Capsule A.P. #9. Rich suggestions of nougat emerge as this takes on air, offering a fascinating, somehow harmoniously integrated counterpoint to the wine’s citricity. Pear pip and citrus zest help bittersweetly extend a formidably long finish. This is less dazzlingly complex today than the gold capsule Auslese from the Juffer, but I would expect it to merit a quarter century or more of attention, during which it may well reveal itself as a slower developer. “You had to wait to pick,” comments Oliver Haag picked, “but not too late. Because after the end of October we had more rain, and by then the stems weren’t just ripe but just about shot (fertig), so that the grapes were literally hanging by a thin thread.” Different degrees of double-salt de-acidification were essayed (always on must), frequently only on certain lots of an eventual blend; but of the unabashedly residually sweet bottlings, Haag insists that only the Kabinett reflected a significant degree of de-acidification. Haag in my view quite correctly characterizes his generic bottlings as most illustrative of the vintage’s challenges and his selectively-picked residually sweet wines as being above-average … “average” at this address, of course, having over the past several decades designated a very high quality indeed. “There were a lot of tough decisions to be made this year,” he relates. “Should we harvest this parcel or that? Pick now or later?” I share Haag’s opinion that as a group these wines will need longer than usual in bottle to really show their stuff. 93 points”

    David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate (12/11)

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  • Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Beerenauslese 2018 (375ml)

    £169.95

    “Pineapple in syrup, marzipan, and pure honey are joined on the intense nose and the glossy, seductively creamy, viscous palate by some of the same nut pastes and liqueur-like green herbal concentrates that feature in the corresponding Juffer BA. But here, mouthwatering salinity adds to the next-sip compulsion of a superbly sustained finish that is similarly profoundly and seductively layered. (I tasted this the day before it was to have been bottled, but it had already withstood filtration as well as sulfuring and I have every confidence that no mishaps will have been allowed to occur thereafter.) Drinking window: 2020-2065. 95-96 points

    Oliver Haag’s team commenced picking on September 15, 2018. “Physiological ripeness had arrived, while must weights were rising – and we didn’t want dry wines with too much alcohol,” he explained. “In the end, the dry wines are half a percent stronger [in alcohol than their 2017 predecessors] and a bit lower in acidity, but still fine, elegant and minerally, not to mention very approachable. It’s a very good vintage,” he concluded, “even if not among the top vintages of the past decade. The wines are a pleasure to drink now, but I have no concerns about cellaring them. And I think this will not be one of those vintages whose wines fall into a deep hole somewhere in their evolution, but that they will perform very consistently. We picked all of our parcels twice and most of them three times,” he continued. “I instructed the harvesters first to take what was still a bit green in color, for Kabinetts with freshness and levity. Next up were the Grosse Gewächse, so that they didn’t end up with too much alcohol. Those were picked in the first and especially the second week of harvest. We had each cluster examined to remove any botrytis-affected grapes, so that must weight didn’t become too high. I left some healthy grapes for later and ended up with one parcel at 99 degrees Oechsle. Okay, the grapes were wonderful in a way, but how to accommodate something like that? It was too much.” (Those last two words were spoken in English.) Picking here continued through the first week of October, with what relatively little there was of noble botrytis being carefully curated along the way. I think Haag’s overall assessment of his 2018 collection may sell his talents and the vintage’s potential short, especially given how impressively the nobly sweet wines show. ”

    David Schildknecht, Vinous (11/20)

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  • Isole e Olena Vin Santo 2010

    £50.95

    “If there is one winery that merits special recognition this year it is without question Isole e Olena. Paolo De Marchi presented a dazzling set of wines, starting with the 2017 Chianti Classico, a terrific example of the how the warm growing season added an extra element of dimension to some wines. Cepparello is so distinguished. What else is new? Today, readers don’t care much about international varieties in Italy. I will freely admit it – I am not a huge fan. But De Marchi has a rare talent in coaxing so much personality from his Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, all of which are fabulous. I don’t think there is another winemaker in Italy who can match his skill across that many different varieties. And then there is the Vin Santo, which is everything Vin Santo can and should be. Don’t miss these wines.”

    Antonio Galloni, Vinous (09/20)

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  • J.J. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese 2015

    £54.95

    “Fresh lemon, grapefruit, quince preserves and creme de cassis combine for an attention-getting nose and a polished, rich, but insistently bright and juicy palate. The freshness and invigorating tang of citrus and apple are rare for an Auslese, but quince jelly and candied citrus peels simultaneously project confitured concentration. The seductively luscious finish is more soothing and less dynamic than that of the remarkable corresponding Spatlese but even longer. Drinking window: 2017-2045. 94 points

    This estate has been under the direction of Manfred Prüm (grandson of Joh. Jos. Prüm’s eponymous founder) since 1969, and scarcely needs much introduction to Riesling lovers, having already become a Mosel icon during the nearly five decades during which its namesake’s son Sebastien was in charge. Katharina Prüm has been active alongside her father since early in the new millennium, and the two of them perpetuate a house style that has itself become a Mosel archetype: wines of delicacy and restrained sweetness, often strongly marked in youth by yeasty and otherwise fermentative aromas, and tingling with dissolved CO2. Their longevity is legendary, and the Prüms personally don’t care to drink their own wines – even the Kabinetts – with less than a dozen, and more usually many more, years in bottle. (Bearing in mind both these wines’ penchant for temporary “Mosel stink” and their track record for very long, slow maturation, tasting notes – let alone scores – must be read with care.) That fermentation here is entirely spontaneous is obvious from the aromas of youthful Prüm wines, and élevage in tank allows for retention of CO2 as well as for bottling that, although it usually takes place 10 or 11 months after harvest, can sometimes (especially for selected upper-Prädikat wines) be delayed for years. In copious vintages, there are sometimes multiple bottlings of eponymous Kabinetts or Spätlesen, but experience confirms the Prüms’ insistence that in such instances the differences are minor, which is why in the frequent instances where samples are proffered without labels, the Prüms seldom divulge their registration numbers to the taster. Most years there is an auctioned Spätlese bottling from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr, and although some gold capsule and long gold capsule Prüm Auslese bottlings are sold directly to consumers or the trade, many of them are destined to become memorable features of VDP-Grosser Ring auctions, as are the majority of Prüm BAs, TBAs and occasional Eisweine.

    Manfred Prüm’s training as a jurist has served him well on occasions when he has felt it necessary to come to the defense of traditional Mosel values, old vines or preeminent sites, all of which he felt were threatened by the recent wholesale vineyard restructuring and replanting (a process known as Flurbereinigung) performed on the Zeltinger Sonnenuhr). In the more recent restructuring of the neighboring Wehlener Sonnenuhr, the Prüms managed to minimize their loss of old, ungrafted vines and optimum sites. Prüm senior makes no secret of his long-standing disinterest in legally dry – or for that matter legally halbtrocken – wines, and his dismissal of the VDP’s Grosses Gewächs project goes beyond disinterest. But nobody is about to threaten this estate’s status quo, not only because of its prestige but because, notoriously, few of the VDP’s dictates in matters of style and marketing apply to non-trocken wines.

    “Certainly the harvest was stressful,” reported Katharina Prüm of 2014, “but we were happy to end up with a good crop of classic Kabinetts and Spätlesen after the limitations of 2013” – a year in which she and her father had insisted that playing to vintage strengths meant waiting to pick and ending up with almost exclusively botrytis-inflected results.”

    David Schildknecht, Vinous (06/17)

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  • J.J. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2006

    £99.95

    “The Prum 2006 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese Gold Capsule introduces a note of caramel, here with heady over-ripe pear, gardenia, and a Chartreuse-like aura of herbal and floral distillates. Amazingly honeyed and rich yet light to the touch, this is possibly a somewhat more obvious wine than the auction lot of Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese, but also a more concentrated as well as more botrytized one. Expect it to be worth cellaring for four decades. (This wine is A.P. #13.) 93-94 points

    The Prums picked Wehlen and Zeltingen first, while the Graacher Himmelreich resisted botrytis to a greater degree, and by the time they came to Bernkastel (shades of the scenario at Selbach) botrytis was so advanced that they ended up vinifying their first-ever Beerenauslese from those sites. “From the standpoint of quantity, it was a catastrophe,” says Manfred Prum, but he judges this likely the greatest vintage of his lifetime, yet also as a vintage that is open and accessible early. I therefore had the opportunity to taste a wider range of young nobly sweet wines here than normal, although I was not able to re-taste them after bottling. There is in fact very little to taste at this estate from 2006 other than nobly sweet wine. Miniscule amounts of “normal” Spatlese (which I did not taste) were bottled from the Himmelreich and Sonnenuhr.

    David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate (179)

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  • J.J. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2009 (375ml)

    £36.95

    “A Prum 2009 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese A.P. #12 offers an impressive combination of white raisin-studded apple jelly, mango, caramel, honey, and vanilla in a creamy textural context, with a remarkable, parallel, and somehow perfectly-integrated sense of fresh apple and pear juiciness that guarantees a finish of genuine refreshment, enhanced by near-weightless buoyancy. This is quite thrilling to savor even now, but deserves at least a dozen years’ cellaring and is likely to perform well three decades or more hence. 93 points

    The Prums noted that their 2009s (harvested from mid-October to mid-November) were unusually expressive at a young age – even in September when I tasted, little more than a month after most of them were bottled – in that respect contrasting decisively, they thought, with the recalcitrant 2008s. (That’s their opinion, please note. My own enthusiastic account of their young 2008s in issue 187 testifies to my belief that those wines were themselves testifying eloquently, even though in general 2008s were said by their growers to be slow to open.) “Although the acids are very ripe,” notes Manfred Prum of his 2009s – drawing parallels with 1997 – “they are also very present.” This latest collection tops out with Eiswein from both Bernkastel and Graach (which makes two from the Himmelreich in one year, since the 2008 was picked in January, 2009) and a B.A. (or – depending on how it evolves – it may be labeled as T.B.A.) from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr, none of which I have tasted. (In keeping with past practice, I am not normally privy to the A.P.#s of every wine I taste from this collection, and the Prums remain anxious to assure me and my readers that whenever more than one lot of the same name in Kabinett or non-auction Spatlese range is bottled care is exercised to see that the differences will be minimal. In the case of Auslesen, I have however confirmed and included A.P.#s in any instances of two otherwise eponymous wines.)

    David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate (12/10)

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