2018 Weingut Mönchhof, Riesling Estate QbA, Mosel Germany.
I’m a long time and big fan of Robert Eymael’s wines, both at J. J. Christoffel and his historic Mönchhof estate in the Mosel and this 2018 Estate QbA Riesling is a prime example why, it is a pure and expressive wine that just pleases the senses and easy to love with slate driven character band fresh zesty flavors. The Mönchhof Estate, formerly owned by the Cistercian abbey of Himmerod, and founded back in 1177 is one of the oldest wineries on the Mosel with its modern cellars dating back to the 1500s and famous for its select plots in the fabled Ürziger Würzgarten and Erdener Prälat. The Eymael family in 1804 purchased the estate after secularization, when the Church was forced to give up much of its lands throughout northern Europe from Napoleon at an auction in Paris. The estates top vineyards are comprised of the very steep parcels mainly in the Erdener Treppchen area set on blue slate along with veins of volcanic and iron rich soils that add an exotic spicy quality to the wines. This fleshy little Riesling entertains in the glass with a delicate golden color and is perfect with lightly spicy foods, especially Asian stir fry chili shrimp, plus it can play nicely with basic cold cuts and Summer salads.

Mönchhof’s Estate Riesling is slightly off dry, but drinks light and crisp with nice fruit concentration leaning on peach and unripe apricot along with tropical elements, green apple and racy citrus all complimented by steely/flint mineral, salty wet stones, snappy spices and spearmint notes. All of Eymael’s vineyards are planted 100% to Riesling with original rootstocks, which are old clones and farmed sustainable and hand tended, as required by the serve slopes the vines hang on to. This basic Estate Riesling opens up to feel just about Kabinett level sweetness and gets smoothly creamy from its residual sugars, though the over all impression is one of fine balance, freshness and stony details, it is a no guilt purchase and a beautiful Summer refresher. In this vintage, most of the fruit comes from the famous VDP Grosse Lage Grand Cru vineyard site Ürziger Würzgarten (that translates to spice garden) which gives this Riesling its noted spicy profile and complex character. The 2018 is a true bargain and while quaffable, low alcohol style it still has structure and depth to be enjoyed for 3 to 5 years and its aromatics are worth the price only with rosewater, white blossoms and sea shore notes. Mönchhof’s lineup in recent vintages have proved highly rewarding and in particular these 2018s are a riveting collection at the top end with quality throughout starting with this one, keep an eye out for them.
($19 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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