Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese 2017


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“While this Auslese harbors marginally less acidity than its Spätlese counterpart, there is a blazingly bright, invigorating, almost severe sense of grapefruit, pineapple and lemon concentrates, along with piquancy of zests and seeds that engenders a near-indelible palate impression. The wine’s citricity is beautifully complemented by creamy-richness of texture as well as by flavors of quince preserves, white peach syrup and white raisin. A vibrantly sustained finish is at once invigoratingly tangy and envelopingly rich. Drinking window: 2019-2050. 94 points

Müller’s losses to frost were largely in the Saarburg vineyards that are the mainstay of his basic Scharzberg Riesling – with the consequence that its production volume did not even equal that of this year’s Scharzhofberger Kabinett. “Any losses we experienced in Wiltingen,” opined Egon Müller’s assistant Veronika Lintner, “simply helped with concentration,” and this year’s wines certainly don’t lack that! Egon Müller indicated not the least displeasure with the rain that fell in September 2017, since it triggered the botrytis he looks for, so that despite this having been (after 2003) his estate’s earliest recorded harvest – commencing on September 25 – he ended up with a glorious collection of nobly sweet wines. “We had beautiful botrytis right from the beginning,” related Lintner, “and we didn’t miss a day doing selection.” By October 15, harvest was over. “It was very warm during midsummer,” noted Lintner, “but not so warm as [in 2018]. We anticipated a collection rather like 2011 – lovely, if perhaps wanting a bit for acidity. But [instead] the cooler weather as harvest approached, especially at night, locked in acids.” When pressed on the matter, she acknowledged that shutdown in the vines during midsummer might also have contributed to the higher-than-anticipated acid levels. “There was one really hot period,” she recollected, “though not as long a one as [in 2018], when there was definitely shutdown.” Lintner perceives 2017’s combination of high ripeness and high extract as having conduced to “relatively muscular, weightier wines than in 2016, when the wines were unusually slim and filigreed.”

The 2017 collection here includes a Trockenbeerenauslese that Müller elected not to auction but instead (as he has done once or twice before in the recent past) to sell directly to his importers and other agents as an opportunity and token of gratitude. This had for me the unfortunate consequence that I could not taste that wine when I visited as usual in late summer. “We also picked and vinified in anticipation of a Beerenauslese,” explained Lintner, “but there was a very tiny potential volume, and in the end we decided to split it up, part going to the eventual gold capsule Auslese and the other to the Trockenbeerenauslese.””

David Schildknecht, Vinous (10/19)