2009 Weingut Joh. Jos. Prüm, Riesling Auslese, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Mosel, Germany.
In the world of wine, Katharina Prüm is a star and the J. J. Prüm winery is legendary, noted for traditional Mosel Riesling with incredible aging potential and this 2009 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese is just beginning to show its quality and is remarkably fresh still, plus it doesn’t feel overly sweet on the palate and while pure class with Foie Gras when I tasted it, it certainly would have been just as awesome with either Vietnamese ginger beef or Korean BBQ pork! The Prüm’s are old school and prefer their Mosel Rieslings with significant residual sugar, Manfred, Katharina’s dad, who really brought fame and world attention to these wines makes no secret of his longstanding disinterest in legally dry wines, he and now his daughter make uncompromising and unapologetic sweet Rieslings, but that have fine balance, as this one has. This excellent wine shows an exotic nature with tropical notes from nose to palate and has lovely textural finesse and dense fruit concentration, but with a surprising burst of lively acidity, which is in a warm vintage very welcome, it shows apricot, lemon, non botrytis honey, clove spice, crystalized ginger, rosewater, flinty mineral and wet shale. The sugar is well integrated and as mentioned more creamy in essence, obviously not a dry wine, it drinks more like a Spatlese at this stage and being as fresh as it is I imagine it has two or three decades of life ahead of it. The Joh. Jos. Prüm winery, which was founded in 1911 in Wehlen, prefers 100% spontaneous fermentation with almost all being done in stainless tanks with usually about a year or more of lees aging in the upper end bottlings as this one. Thanks to Jerome Viel of Jerome’s Valley Market in Carmel Valley for sharing this stunning wine with a select group of wine lovers along with some other delicacies that he has available in his ever growing cellar there.
The Wehlener Sonnenuhr Vineyard, a top cru above the village of Wehlen, is named after the sundial erected in the vineyard in 1842 by Jodocus Prüm, an ancestor of J.J. Prüm and the current Prüm family, to give the workers a better time orientation as they work the awesomely steep slopes here above the Mosel River. This site is well known to Riesling enthusiasts and is maybe the signature expression of the Joh. Jos. Prüm estate along with the famous Graacher Himmelreich, it is set on classic deep, weather-beaten grey slate soils and old vines with an almost impossible 70% gradient, and its prime south-south-west exposure, making for intense and ripe Rieslings. The house style at Joh Jos Prüm has become the archetype Riesling of the Mosel region, along with Willi Schafer and Selbach-Oster these are wines of delicacy and restrained sweetness, though most wineries here now include excellent Trocken offerings and some very coveted GGs, without the Prüm’s as of yet. These J. J. Prüm wines can be very good young, but really are made for aging, with the Prüm’s themselves not wanting even their Kabinett bottlings to be opened for a dozen years or more and they would seriously question opening this 2009! Regardless, this Wehlener Sonnenuhr is magnificent and otherworldly, beyond even my high expectations, which I have because of my experience with many of Germany’s greatest wineries and a personal love J. J.Prüm, which dates back more than 20 years now. These noble efforts are typically fermented and aged in stainless steel to promote absolute clarity and precision here and have the benefit of low sulfur, capturing yeasty richness, as well as the terroir, they are nothing sort of brilliant, as I was once more shown here with this 2009 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese! I highly recommend looking for wines by J. J. Prüm that have a few extra years on them, unless you are the patient Riesling fan that can hold your bottles, then buying the new releases can save you some money.
($125 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive