2022 Weingut Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag, Riesling Trocken, Niederberg Helden, VDP Grosse Gewächs, Mosel, Germany.
Fast becoming one of the top go to estates in the Mosel, Schloss Lieser is putting out some fantastic and elegant Rieslings, which I was very excited to taste recently in San Francisco with the estate’s newest generation winemaker Lara Haag, who helps her father Thomas Haag, of the famous Fritz Haag family, in the cellar. One of the most beautiful and nuanced wines of the collection is the upcoming release of their estate Niederberg Helden Grosse Gewächs, which shows its unique soft decomposed slate terroir with a fine smokiness and a restrained steely mineral austerity. This is a thinking person’s wine of depth and delicacy, showing tangerine, tart green apple, stone fruit and quince fruit, along with wet flint, chamomile, almond and a touch of creamy leesy texture or roundness. Bone dry, as GG’s have to be, this wine still manages to gorgeous proportions and grace on the firm youthful palate and I’m sure there’s so much more to come, I can only hope to re-visit this wonderful Grand Cru in 5 to 10 years time. The wines at Schloss Lieser are almost all done in stainless steel and are exceptionally pure terroir driven efforts, as this one clearly shows. It was a pleasure to go through the latest set of wines with Lara, and while this one was a standout for my tastes, there are no duds here and I loved the traditional Kabinett, Spatlese and Auslese Brauneburger Juffer offerings, especially the drier Kabinett Juffer 2023, a wine I could drink every day with an incredible array of cuisine choices. Thomas, as the winery notes, believes that native yeasts bring more complexity and more texture, without taking away from transparency and seeing his wines, tasted together, can see that thread throughout and I was left very impressed.

The historic Schloss Lieser is known locally as one of the most striking buildings in the Middle Mosel and is beautiful Neo-Renaissance castle that was built in 1875, but it was known for its wine until recent times under the leadership of Thomas Haag, who’s father Wilhelm Haag is an important figure in German wine and the owner of Weingut Fritz Haag. Thomas decided to stay and lead Schloss Lieser instead of take our his father’s estate, which is run by the also very talented winemaker Oliver Haag, Thomas’ brother. Thomas became the director of the estate in 1992 and has slowly revamped this special small estate with some prime Grosse Lagen vineyard parcels, including the Lieser Niederberg Helden and the well known Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr (Sundial), which provides some elite old vine Riesling grapes. The Haag family, with the new generation of Lara and Niklas, both of which studied at Geisenheim University in the Rheingau, the top wine-making school in Germany, have a hand in making the wines now and they have added other top quality vineyards to the portfolio, such as Graacher Himmelreich, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Bernkastler Doktor and Graacher Domprobst. The Schloss Lieser Rieslings see no skin maceration fermentation(s) that are always spontaneous and the grapes a a cool, gentle pressing as to not allow for bitter phenolics and the must is allowed to take as long as needed to finish, sometimes about 6-10 weeks. Then the wine ages on the lees for 4 or so months, after which it racked to tank to further mature and is only bottled when it tastes ready to do so. The extra care and effort here really pays off and these Schloss Lieser wines are exceptional and very rewarding Rieslings to keep an eye out for!
($60 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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