2017 Joh. Jos. Prüm, Riesling Auslese, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Mosel Germany.
The J. J. Prum wines are exceptional examples of tradition and terroir, they always showcase the place in the purest terms and have kept to their mostly Kabinett, Spatlese and Auslese lineup believing their vines are best expressed with residual sugars, these are wines of class, elegance and pleasure without compromise and crafted with exact precision. Dr. Manfred and his daughter Dr. Katharina Prum, who has taken on a bigger role in the vineyards and leading the cellar, run this famous Mosel estate based in Wehlen near the fabled Cru sites of Graacher, Zeltinger, Bernkasteler and the Wehlener Sonnenuhr, when this beautiful crystalline Riesling Auslese came from. This 2017 Gold Cap Wehlener Sonnenuhr from Katharina Prum drinks mush more balanced and dry than one would expect and it is true table wine that is easily enjoyed with a variety of food choices, especially with savory dishes with its subtle density and sweetness not being cloying at all and the surprising burst of natural acidity really refreshes the palate. Racy yellow fruits, apricot/peach and white flowers lead the way here without the tale tell botrytis of some Auslese(s) and a range of citrus (lime/tangerine) and orchard fruits cascade across the vinous palate with a hint of tropical fruit and flinty/smoky mineral tones as well as a nice saline/stony freshness. With its cool cellars, the Prüm estate ferments its Riesling almost exclusively with indigenous yeast and focuses on authentic style wines, Joh. Jos. Prum was interesting a founding member of the VDP, though being a more old school and sweet(er) wine producer, as the VDP has championed the dry style mostly, including the top Grosses Gewachs.
The Prum estate was founded in the middle 1100s, but became Joh. Jos. Prum in a family split in 1911, with Sebastian Prum, who took over from his father in 1920, bringing accolades to this winery leading up to the war, and J.J. Prum’s reputation has continued to the present, and as someone who has followed this estate, I think it has got even better in the last decade and these 2017’s show amazing restraint and delicacy, as this Wehlener Sonnenuhr clearly displays. The Mosel is riding high with lots of awesome wines of late and it’s a great time to re-discover this historic slate driven region with its incredible steep vineyards and magically vistas of the river, look for the latest offerings from Selbach-Oster, Carl Loewen, Dr. Loosen, Monchhof, Knebel and of course Joh. Jos. Prum, to name a few that have really turned it on lately. The Wehlener Sonnenuhr, which is set on pure, weathered/broken, devon slate, and this parcel under the famous Sundial, which was put up here originally by Prime’s ancestors, is a difficult and stony set of vines that produces Rieslings of fantastic grace and substance. Time in the glass brings a deeper sense to this beauty, and the 2017 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese begins to reveal its power and potential with rounding out of its textural presence and length, this is a wonderful wine that stays fascinating right to the end. This stylish Auslese, which should get even better with long term aging, is seriously delicious in its youth too and can be, especially in the half bottle, like I got, is sublime as an aperitif and with first courses.
($30 Est. 375ml-Half Bottle, Gold Capsule.) 93+ Points, grapelive