As soon as I noticed that Cambridge Wine Merchants had another batch of mature Mosel wines, I realised that a selection would form the basis of an interesting tasting. So I put in an order, and a couple of weeks ago our tasting group cracked open 10 bottles between 9 and 26 years old and all under £16 per bottle! And those prices, listed below, are the single bottle prices. There are considerable case discounts.
The wines were acquired by CWM from stock held by the producers. Typically a batch of older German wine seems to arrive in the shop roughly once a year, so if you check at the right time of year you will find an Aladdin’s cave; check at the wrong time and you will be disappointed. Now is not a bad time to look. Here are the websites of Werner Müller, Carl Schmitt-Wagner, Johann Peter Reinert and Gunther Fehres (formerly Fritz Becker Erben). The Werner Müller website primarily advertises their guesthouse and only mentions some uninspiring-looking wine, but I am assured by Matthew Boucher of CWM that they still produce wine of first class quality.
On thumbing through my collection of books, of all the vineyards and producers in the tasting, it is really only Brauneberger Juffer that gets much of a mention. But when I have wines in front of me I care little about their reputation, what is in the glass is the important thing. The wines speak for themselves, and very eloquently.
The ones in the image below are the ones I enjoyed most, and the ones I ordered more of. You can see that Fritz Becker Erben crops up a couple of time in my favourite three, and I also liked their 2000 Brauneberger Juffer Kabinett.
Below are the wines and my tasting notes. We tasted sighted and in the order given below, then polished off most of the bottles with German ham and sausage from our local German shop (Aldi) and cheese. I am not sure my brief notes convey the degree to which I enjoyed this tasting, so I will say it explicitly: It was a joy to experience such a wealth of flavours and aromas, and all from very modestly priced wines.
1997 Trabener Würzgarten Riesling, Hochgewächs QbA,
Werner Müller, 9.0%, £12.25
Very pale green. Muted nose. High acidity. Off dry. I thought it was a tad corked, but others in the room liked it *
1999 Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg Riesling Kabinett,
Carl Schmitt-Wagner, 7.5%, £14.50
Pale yellow. Intense lime and petrol. Medium high acid. Medium sweet. Excellent length. Drink now ***
2004 Wiltinger Schlangengraben Riesling Spätlese,
Johann Peter Reinert, 8.0%, £12.90
A pale green. Dumb, some lime. Medium high acid. Medium sweet. Intense lime. Someone said strawberry, and I can sort of see that. Excellent length. Needs a few more years ***
2002 Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Spätlese,
Fritz Becker Erben, 7.5%, £12.00
Pale gold. Soft, rounded petrol. Medium high acid. Medium sweet. Intense lime and some petrol on the palate. Excellent length. Drink now or keep a few more years *****
1988 Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg Riesling Spätlese,
Carl Schmitt-Wagner, 9.0%, £13.50
Medium deep gold. Intense barley sugar. Some chocolate, yes chocolate, the dark bitter stuff. Medium high acid. Medium dry. Interesting and complex. Drink now ****
1989 Burger Hahnenschrittchen Riesling Spätlese,
Werner Müller, 8.0%, £13.25
Medium gold. A nose of cat’s pee, sweaty armpits, or an ant killer spray I remember from many years ago. But not actually unpleasant! Medium high acid. Off dry. Interesting. Drink now ***
2002 Kanzemer Altenberg Riesling Auslese**,
Johann Peter Reinert, 7.5%, £15.00
Medium pale gold. Rather dumb. Medium high acidity. Very sweet, to the extent that it is unbalanced. I would give this the benefit of the doubt and say it needs more time, but I score on current enjoyment, so **
1994 Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg Riesling Auslese,
Carl Schmitt-Wagner, 8.0%, £10.50
Sadly corked. Unequivocally so
1994 Burger Wendelstück Riesling Auslese,
Werner Müller, 8.0%, £15.25
Medium gold. Some cat’s pee, but also herbs and spice. High acid. Sweet. Well balanced and interesting. Drink now *****
1985 Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese,
Fritz Becker Erben, £12.50
Medium gold. Delicate spice and herbs. Medium high acid. Medium dry. Nice, relatively dry. Chocolate, again. Drink now. Probably my wine of the night *****
You might also like to see what the Cambridge Wine Blogger thought of some of these wines.