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When we started to hear about the conditions of 2021 growing season in Europe, it was clear that we would be tasting VERY different wines from this vintage than we had been tasting since 2016. One could look to Beaujolais, for example, with 2017-2020 providing higher alcohol levels and more power. So many warm years in a row made vintages like 2016 or 2014 a distant memory. What we knew about 2021 was that it was colder, with a bit more rain, and the resulting wines were lower in alcohol, higher in acid, more ethereal and delicate. In Germany, which saw a cold Winter and Spring (with one of the coldest Aprils in the last 40 years) and more than average rainfall (welcomed after several hot and dry years in a row), we were clearly going to have a high acid vintage. Rain continued in the Summer, perhaps a bit more than desired (some might remember seeing video of serious flooding in the Ahr valley), but the end of the summer was dry and warm, which allowed grapes to ripen slowly. Conditions were turning out to be very good for quality. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of wine to go around, so we apologize in advance for the breadth of any future offers of wines from 2021!
This could be considered a "Round one" offer of German Rieslings from the 2021 vintage*, focusing on three of our favorite producers from the Vom Boden import portfolio. We have started to taste wines that have been trickling in, and the overwhelming theme is ACID! Even the wines with decent amounts of residual sugar have searing acidity, making them highly age-worthy, and in the shorter term, food friendly. As we taste more, we'll put together more offers later this year. If there are any requests for specific producers, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to accommodate!
*We have also included some 2020 vintage wines and one 2014 from Vollenweider, as not all of the 2021s are available currently. Sadly, Daniel Vollenweider passed away earlier this year. A tribute to him written by Stephen Bitterolf of Vom Boden can be found here. We raise a glass to this Mosel wine legend.
- Eben Lillie
This delicious feinherb comes from both old and younger vines mostly from Wolfer Sonnenlay and surrounding parcels. A touch spritzig upon opening, the freshness is delicate on the nose, being both fruity and floral. In 2021, it plays with the idea of residual sugar, giving a slight burst of fruit on the attack, and then finishes with stones and wonderfully intense acid! The finish is focused and clean. A fantastic introduction to the 2021 vintage.
The Wolfer Sonnenlay is a south-facing vineyard, located in a side valley adjacent to the Mosel river.
From ungrafted vines roughly 80 years-old on iron-rich gray slate, this is a rare Auslese from the Gaispfad vineyard, in 375ml bottle.
Southwest facing Fass 15, Stirn (forehead), comes from near the top of the Ayler Kupp where the hill curves around. The cooler, windier microclimate and meager soils allow for a later harvest, with the resulting wine offering more fruit and generosity. // "In 2021 the wine is fermented down to 9.6% alcohol with 34g/l of RS and a whopping 10.1g/l of acidity to balance." (Vom Boden)
Covered in eroded gray slate, the south-southwest facing Unterstenberg lieu-dit is the site on the Ayler Kupp that has some of the most water retention due to its location at the foot of the hillside. Due to this, it is often one of the bolder and fuller of the dry wines from Lauer. Per Vom Boden: "In 2021 the wine is legally trocken with 7.6/l of RS, 5.6/l of acidity and 13.2% alcohol."
Lauer ‘Senior’ is Florian’s nod to making a style of wine his grandfather (Peter Lauer Sr.) would enjoy. His aim is to make a feinherb, wine for the table from 70-year-old, ungrafted vines on the Kupp.Just a bit drier than Feinherb and a shade sweeter than trocken, Lauer ‘Senior’ offers a fine entry in the the Lauer lineup with just a bit more sap and substance than the delicious Barrel X. Per Vom Boden: "In 2021 this wine has 13.7g/l of RS, 8.5g/l of acidity and a moderate 11.5% alcohol."
From old vines (70 year-old +) across the Kupp. Per Vom Boden, "Kern" is named after the 19th century industrialist that cleared this more-western part of the Kupp. Typically bottled off-dry. In 2021 this is classic Kern in style, firmly off-dry with 32.6g/l of sugar, 9.5/l of acidity and 9.5% alcohol.
From Vom Boden website: "We have in Neuenberg one of Florian’s most dazzling wines. It is luxurious and textural and glycerin-rich and layered. It is the Saar’s response to the generosity and exoticism of a wine like Meursault Genevrieres. A good decant or a few years in the cellar can do a lot bring out the depth of this wine. In 2021 this wine is nearly-dry with 10.6 g/l of RS, 6.7 g/l of acidity and 12.9% alcohol."
From the Ayler Kupp vineyard, pradikat-level here, with about 70g/RS and 8% Alc. Mosel Fine Wines says: 'It offers a stunning nose made of lime, cassis, apricot blossom, chalk, a dash of almond cream... This is a stunningly vibrant expression of Saar Spätlese in the making!"
From Vom Boden website: "This is a village-level dry wine sourced from two sites (Scheidterberg and Rauberg) that circle around the backside of the village. In 2021 this wine is legally trocken with 5.3g/l of RS, 5.7g/l of acidity and 12.6% alcohol."
From Vom Boden: "The “1er Cru” Scheidterberg and Sonnenberg hills that curl around the village of Ayl are beginning to turn out wines of real depth and complexity, yet they also still flaunt a bit of their even-more-cool-climate thing. This is only the fourth vintage of this wine I’ve brought in, and honestly I think it’s here to stay. Think of it as “Barrel X” with more punch and guts. In 2021 this wine is almost dangerous – 9.5% alcohol, 33.4 grams residual sugar with 10 grams (!) acid. Holy hell watch out."
From a historic site on the Saar, near the Schonfels vineyard, the Lambertskirsch wines are typically Pradikat level, with 2021 at about 60g/RS and 8% Alc. Dense, creamy, and very age-worthy.
Felsenfest is a dry wine made from fruit harvested in the Estate’s Trabener Burgberg (2/3) and the Trarbacher Schlossberg (1/3) vineyards.
Vollenweider is a master of Pradikat wines (not to mention, a wonderful person) and any true Riesling lover should consider his wines for their cellar. From Mosel Fine Wines: "The 2021er Wolfer Goldgrube Riesling Kabinett was made from early harvested fruit and was fermented down to fruity-styled levels of residual sugar (52 g/l). Fine and elegant residues from its spontaneous fermentation give way to superb floral and light creamy elements of almond, spices, mint, bergamot, and violet."
From Vom Boden website: "this is a star of the vintage, a curious “Spätlese Feinherb” that tastes totally dry – it has only 11 grams of residual sugar, putting it just above the “dry” threshold. The wine is elegant and lively, with that serpentine, textural yet mineral-laden acidity that is the Vollenweider signature. It is just coming into a beautiful drinking window; seamless and slinky and mineral-water-esque."