Showing 1–12 of 16 results

  • Egon Muller Scharzhof Riesling QbA 2020

    £49.99

    “Apple seed and apple wood accents lend decisive counterpoint on both nose and palate to the 2020 Riesling Scharzhof’s dominant, crunchy apple and zesty lemon fruit. Suggestions of apple blossom hover throughout. The feel is firm, and the lingering finish offers refreshment as well as stimulating cut and piquancy. (The source vineyards for this large cuvée are once again largely Saarburger Rausch, Wiltinger Braunfels and Oberemmeler Rosenberg.) Drinking window: 2021-2029. 89 points

    Harvest in 2020 began here only on September 20 – one week before the arrival of rain – but that represents an early commencement date for this estate. The fruit during that first week was deemed ideal for Kabinett, as indeed the finished results testify. The rain made for a stop-and-go subsequent harvest, and also triggered botrytis, but none of it dried sufficiently until mid-November for Müller to finally feel confident in selecting for an Auslese, which was designated “Goldkapsel” and sold at auction. “Certainly, it was a warm vintage when one considers summer temperatures,” noted Müller’s commercial director Veronika Lintner, with whom I tasted, “but average temperatures through the whole growing season were much lower than in 2019 or in 2018, and one can certainly sense that in animation and a cooling cast to the wines.” That very much applies to the Spätlesen even though these also exhibit very ripe fruit flavors and subtle botrytis influence. Thanks to an absence of spring frost, a good set, little of the sunburn that had been experienced in 2019, and scant botrytis, 2020 recorded a relatively large crop by estate standards.

    The May 2019 frost reached into even upper sections of the Scharzhofberg, and summer sunburn took a further bite out of yield that nature had already predetermined would be small. And that was before a harvest that demanded selectivity, which at this address is notoriously scrupulous. Picking did not begin until September 30, so Auslese was already being selected even as the fruit for Kabinett was brought in. A second wave of rain and botrytis was accompanied by gradual diminution of acidity, leading to an intensely active second week of October and an October 18 completion date. A tiny amount of TBA was rendered, but no BA or Goldkapsel Auslese. Cellarmaster Heiner Bollig (about whose arrival I wrote in the introduction to my report on Egon Müller’s 2018s) essentially debuted in 2019 and was, one presumes, also behind the decision to attempt Grosse Gewächse (about which I also wrote in my last report). Veronika Lintner confirmed on the occasion of my November 2021 visit that release of a 2019 Grosses Gewächs is indeed planned – which would be the first dry wine from this estate in several decades – but that it’s been decided to give it another year or two in the bottle first. Speaking of future releases, Müller plans to continue his justly attention-getting series of auctioned Kabinett Alte Reben bottlings, but there will never again be more than one bottling meriting that designation or one fuder’s worth – and quite possibly less. For several years, the estate’s remaining share of ungrafted vines has displayed visible signs of phylloxera incursion, and after 2020, a significant share of those that informed the Alte Reben bottlings were ripped out and replaced. In addition to the aforementioned, as yet unreleased TBA and Grosses Gewächs, there are ten vintage 2019 bottlings, of which I was able to taste four, the others being the generic Scharzhof, a Braune Kupp Auslese, and pairs of “regular” Kabinett and Spätlese.

    David Schildknecht, Vinous (05/22)

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  • Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese 2017

    £575.00

    “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)

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  • Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett 2020

    £149.95

    “The “regular” 2020 Riesling Scharzhotberger Kabinett (bearing AP. #3) leads with quince and peach accented by mint, cress, ginger and lemon, setting up an overall impression of coolness, but also of brightness, with stimulating cut and pungency analogous to that of the corresponding Braune Kupp. In the background is a greenhouse-like amalgam of flowers and foliage. The phenolic concentration here belies a vintage with relatively generous yields even as the efficacious acidity and levity defy preconceptions concerning a year marked by summer heat and drought. The multifaceted finish, transparent to wet stone underpinnings, is tongue-tinglingly vibrant. Here is a Riesling Kabinett to really grab and hold your attention even as it delivers consummate refreshment and a bit of thought-provoking intrigue to accompany its entertainment value. Drinking window: 2021-2035. 93 points

    Harvest in 2020 began here only on September 20 – one week before the arrival of rain – but that represents an early commencement date for this estate. The fruit during that first week was deemed ideal for Kabinett, as indeed the finished results testify. The rain made for a stop-and-go subsequent harvest, and also triggered botrytis, but none of it dried sufficiently until mid-November for Müller to finally feel confident in selecting for an Auslese, which was designated “Goldkapsel” and sold at auction. “Certainly, it was a warm vintage when one considers summer temperatures,” noted Müller’s commercial director Veronika Lintner, with whom I tasted, “but average temperatures through the whole growing season were much lower than in 2019 or in 2018, and one can certainly sense that in animation and a cooling cast to the wines.” That very much applies to the Spätlesen even though these also exhibit very ripe fruit flavors and subtle botrytis influence. Thanks to an absence of spring frost, a good set, little of the sunburn that had been experienced in 2019, and scant botrytis, 2020 recorded a relatively large crop by estate standards.

    The May 2019 frost reached into even upper sections of the Scharzhofberg, and summer sunburn took a further bite out of yield that nature had already predetermined would be small. And that was before a harvest that demanded selectivity, which at this address is notoriously scrupulous. Picking did not begin until September 30, so Auslese was already being selected even as the fruit for Kabinett was brought in. A second wave of rain and botrytis was accompanied by gradual diminution of acidity, leading to an intensely active second week of October and an October 18 completion date. A tiny amount of TBA was rendered, but no BA or Goldkapsel Auslese. Cellarmaster Heiner Bollig (about whose arrival I wrote in the introduction to my report on Egon Müller’s 2018s) essentially debuted in 2019 and was, one presumes, also behind the decision to attempt Grosse Gewächse (about which I also wrote in my last report). Veronika Lintner confirmed on the occasion of my November 2021 visit that release of a 2019 Grosses Gewächs is indeed planned – which would be the first dry wine from this estate in several decades – but that it’s been decided to give it another year or two in the bottle first. Speaking of future releases, Müller plans to continue his justly attention-getting series of auctioned Kabinett Alte Reben bottlings, but there will never again be more than one bottling meriting that designation or one fuder’s worth – and quite possibly less. For several years, the estate’s remaining share of ungrafted vines has displayed visible signs of phylloxera incursion, and after 2020, a significant share of those that informed the Alte Reben bottlings were ripped out and replaced. In addition to the aforementioned, as yet unreleased TBA and Grosses Gewächs, there are ten vintage 2019 bottlings, of which I was able to taste four, the others being the generic Scharzhof, a Braune Kupp Auslese, and pairs of “regular” Kabinett and Spätlese.“

    David Schildknecht, Vinous (05/22)

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  • J.J. Prum Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Auslese 2010

    £57.99

    “Site-typical lime and dark cherry accented by cherry pit make for a Prum 2010 Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Auslese at once liqueur-like in richness; juicily, vivaciously citric; and invigorating in its combination of subtly cyanic, chewy, saline, and zesty finishing impingements. Like so many of the more successful wines of its vintage, this also uncannily combines palpable senses of high extract with levity, its high acid and low alcohol reinforcing one another’s encouragement of vivacity and refreshment such as are seldom derived from a wine at this level of ripeness. This deeply flavorful, vibrant, and not in the least superficially sweet Auslese is I feel sure going to go strong for more than another 30 years. (Would that I could so easily imagine myself living to test that prognosis!) Drink: 2012-2042. 93 points

    Katharina Prum says she and her father performed some de-acidification on their eventual generic Kabinett bottling as wine, but otherwise employed only sparingly light double-salt must de-acidification, insisting that late harvesting was the essential measure to be taken this year against high acidity. (And, as usual, most of the wines were bottled in high summer, relatively late when compared with those of nearly all their Middle Mosel neighbors.) It’s not so much that measurable acidity dropped significantly in the second half of October, opined Prum, but that the character of the acidity changed in immeasurable ways. Other than the aforementioned generic bottling, concentration was deemed simply too high this year for any of an already small crop to be rendered as Kabinett. And indeed, only the two most prominent sites were captured in Spatlese format; all else is Auslese and above. Prum notes that levels of residual sugar are seldom significantly higher this year than in other recent vintages, with the result that the wines generally tend to taste a bit drier. “Above and beyond” (as it were) those wines I report on (or whose existence I at least mention) below, there is material from Wehlener Sonnenuhr expected to inform long gold capsule Auslese, Beerenauslese, and Trockenbeerenauslese and be released in future years. (Veteran readers of my reports will know by now that while there are often multiple eponymous Prum bottlings, the family is loathe to disclose the A.P. #s of wines they serve in tastings, numbers that might be required to disambiguate between lots which they insist that there will only ever be very slight difference. In 2010, the crop is was so small that there are few alternate bottlings.)”

    David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate (199)

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  • J.J. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese 2006

    £49.99

    “The Prum 2006 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese is seductively scented with gardenia, hyacinth, and musky exotic flowers that remind me of stepping into a greenhouse. These are backed by very ripe pear and nectarine, while notes of botrytis spice also nip at the nose. A soothing, polished, enveloping, sweet and strikingly delicate palate gives equal representation to ripe, subtly-dried fruit, sweet floral inner-mouth perfume and spices. As usual at this address, retained CO2 and efficacious ripe acidity keep the long finish lively, enhancing its wafting sense of near-weightlessness. I suspect one could be happy following this for 30 or more years. (There were two bottlings of this wine – one this year – of which I tasted the first, A.P. #12 07.) 92-93 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

    £57.99

    “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 (192)

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  • J.J. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2018

    £38.49

    “Scents of quince and apple jelly are accompanied by a surprisingly greenhouse-like evocation of diverse flowers and foliage. I say “surprisingly” because many of the Prum 2018s deliver an especially heady, sweet, and often even decadent sort of floral perfume. Honeydew and Persian melons supply extremely ripe yet freshly juicy fruit that, when combined with the confitured quince and apple, make for an exceedingly luscious midpalate impression, reinforced by textural gloss and prominent but not excessive sweetness. The finish lingers impressively, reprising a welcome inner-mouth hint of flower shop. Look for this to deliver much more in future and to enjoy at least the typical ageworthiness of a Prum Wehlener Auslese, it not more. (There is also an auctioned bottling of Sonnenuhr Auslese – AP. #18 – which I did not have an opportunity to taste.). Drink: 2022-2050. 93 points

    Starting the harvest just past mid-September 2018 was record-early at this estate, as at so many others. Also like many others, the Prüms reported a remarkably leisurely pace, since clement weather left them unfazed. They only finished up on October 20, with ample opportunity to make selections for nobly sweet elixirs right up to TBA, though precisely what would be declared “above” long gold capsule Auslese remained to be determined when I tasted in late November, and such wines are only released some years after bottling. Also as at so many estates, fears that the heat and drought of 2018 would result in wines resembling 2003s in their conspicuously low acidity and baked- or dried-fruit character proved unfounded. Instead, while analytically modest acidity as well as sheer ripeness conduced to a slightly stronger sense of sweetness than in some other recent vintages, even where the Prüm 2018 collection reveals a confectionary cast, this is balanced by freshness and nuanced piquancy, despite the relatively late finishing date for harvest. Relatively low acidity no doubt also contributed to the alluringly creamy textures that so many of the wines display. Moreover, in complete contrast 2003 – or, for that matter, 2005 – there is an abundance of Kabinett, and the personalities of each site tend to come through especially clearly. “We really made a changeover [Umstellung] after 2005,” observed Manfred Prüm. “Accepted wisdom was always to wait so as to harvest with maximum ripeness, but at that point we realized it isn’t always best to wait,” a realization never more applicable than in 2018. One aspect of these 2018s that is reminiscent of 2003, though, is that even at the level of gold capsule Auslese, the extreme ripeness and impressive concentration were achieved, the Prüms insisted, virtually without botrytis, which they report only came seriously into play with long gold capsule Auslese and beyond.

    I was not offered an opportunity to taste those wines that were auctioned last September in Trier: a Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese Lange Goldkapsel, a Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese Goldkapsel (A.P. #19), a Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese (A.P. #18) and a Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spätlese (A.P. #17). (For thoughts about this venerable estate’s recent evolution, consult especially the introductions to my coverage of their 2014s and their 2017s.)”

    David Schildknecht, Vinous (08/20)

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  • J.J. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2009

    £71.99

    “The Prums’ (non auction) 2009 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese gold capsule A.P. #18 – like the corresponding Graacher Himmelreich – can be described as “confectionary,” but there most similarity ends. In this instance, the sheer sense of sweetness is much less overriding, and the prominent aromas and flavors are of malt, caramel, vanilla cream, hazelnut paste, and chestnut puree. The textural creaminess of this Auslese is sheer seduction and its sense of depth and layering – of mysterious darkness even – no less enticing. Yet at the same time, it (and indeed in 2009, it seems, wine from this site generally) retains a fresh fruit edge over its Himmelreich counterpart (whereas the converse was true in 2008) along with a mouth-watering sense of salinity. And so, we have a finish not just astonishingly persistent, but possessed of striking delicacy, enervation, and irresistible juiciness. I suspect this will merit following from 30-40 years. Drink: 2010-2050. 95 points”

    David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate (192)

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  • Schloss Vollrads Schlossberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2018

    £31.49

    “Picked in five passages at the end of September and macerated on the skins for 48 hours before the fermentation (40% in oak and with 10% whole berries), the Schloss Vollrads 2018 Schlossberg GG is a powerful, intense, mouth-filling, lush and creamy-textured wine with fine tannins and a very long, intense and persistent finish. The good phenolic structure promises very good aging potential. An impressive Vollrads Riesling. Tasted at Schloss Johannisberg in August 2019. Drink: 2024-2034. 93 points”

    Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (01/20)

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  • Zehnthof Luckert Maustal Spatburgunder Grosses Gewachs 2016

    £64.99

    “From Muschelkalk limestone soils in Sulzfeld, Luckert’s 2016 Maustal Spätburgunder GG showed very musty during the GG tasting in Wiesbaden in August 2018. Red currant, plummy and cherry flavors on the ripe and concentrated yet fine and elegant nose lead to a very fruity and juicy palate with remarkable finesse and elegance. This is finely concentrated Pinot Noir from Franconia, and the steps forward that this family estate has made, especially with Pinot Noir, are great. Luckert is now one of the finest producers of Pinot Noir in all Franconia. Drink: 2019-2033. 92-93 points”

    Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (239)

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  • Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett Alte Reben 2017

    £299.99

    “This year (unlike in 2015 and 2016) only a single fuder from some of Müller’s oldest vines was bottled as “Kabinett Alte Reben” and sold at auction, limitations that the estate expects to perpetuate in future vintages. The contents originated not just (as in past years) with the single-post-trained vines in the Im Breiten Weg Gewann that adjoins the winery, but also with some old vines high up on the Scharzhofberg hillside in a section known as Knipp. On paper, acidity and residual sugar are almost identical to those of the “regular” Kabinett, but the sensory upshot is almost dry. White peach and pear are garlanded in mint and bittersweetly perfumed flowers on the nose, then inform a glossy but buoyant, silken-textured, lusciously juicy palate. As with other Müller 2017s, there is an invigorating bite of cress that, along with suggestions of lime zest and fruit kernels, serves for delightful counterpoint, here reaching a mouth-shaking degree of vibrancy. Yet all the while, there is also a soothingly cooling aspect to the wine’s green herbal inflections and inner-mouth floral perfume. Salts and iodine add intrigue and saliva-inducement to the bell-clear, superbly penetrating and persistent finish. Drinking window: 2019-2036 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.” (For much more about this fabled estate and its Le Gallais sister – whose bottlings are treated for purposes of the Vinous database as a subset of Egon Müller Scharzhof – consult the introductions to my accounts of their 2014s, 2015s and 2016s.)”

    David Schildknecht, Vinous (10/19)

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  • Egon Muller Wiltinger Braune Kupp Riesling Auslese 2015

    £199.95

    “The 2015 Wiltinger Braune Kupp Riesling Auslese (AP #6) is very clear and aromatic on the flinty, elegant nose where ripe Riesling, some honey and botrytis flavors are displayed. Mouth-fillingly clear and piquant, this is a lush and generous Auslese that reveals a remarkable finesse and seductive intensity. This is gorgeous! Drinking window: 2017-2055. 95 points

    Egon Müller’s other estate, Le Gallais, has produced one Spätlese and three Auslesen from the Wiltinger Braine Kupp. Of the latter, two have been auctioned. Although the Gold Capsule is already a great Riesling, I feel in love with the pure, highly precise and delicate Auslese Versteigerung, which is Art Deco in bottles. If you ever have the chance to taste it, you shouldn’t miss it.”

    Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (230)

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