Spotlight on Riesling: Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett 2008
Germany is the heartland of Riesling. In particular, the Mosel is the most significant region and the vineyards of the Mittel Mosel comprise the largest stretch of great Riesling vineyards in the world.
What makes Germany and the Mosel symbiotic with Riesling, just as Burgundy is with Pinot Noir? The river itself is fairly large and moderates the temperature while reflecting light and heat – an important detail in these northerly vineyards. The famed Mosel slate is special not just for its tendency to produce complex mineral flavours but also for its ability to retain heat, which protects the vines and assists in balancing the metabolic rate of the grapes during cold spells and at night. The famous steepness of the vineyards provides more light and warmth and combines with all of the above elements to make the Mittel Mosel vineyards some of the very best Riesling vineyards in the world.
The Mittel Mosel’s Cult Estate
Willi Schaefer is one of the most exciting estates in the Mosel. Even amongst the host of excellent producers, Schaefer stands out as making wines unlike anyone else and with an easy compellability that can sometimes get lost in Riesling’s high acid or some of the more heavily extracted ripe Auslese styles adorned by many U.S. critics.
Schaefer is doing his own thing and making precious wines with perfect clarity and precision. Geeks have caught on, however, and it can be quite hard to find these wines. This particular Kabinett, grown in the Himmelreich vineyard, was extremely expressive and full of slatey minerals and pert citrus fruit.
A poised wine with incredible structure that is both long and immensely complex. I adore wines like this – the tart compellability you expect from great Riesling with aromatics and acid balance that create an insatiable need to drink. Despite all this complexity, this wine is far too easy to drink quickly and mindlessly, particularly given its 7.5% ABV. That would be a shame, and some restraint is advised.
Basically, this is perfect Riesling and it is a travesty we do not get wines this good in B.C. at the reasonable price I paid.
Excellent and Highly Recommended Value
$27 at Pike & Western Seattle