2016 Weingut Willi Schaefer, Riesling Kabinett, Graacher Himmelreich, Mosel Germany.
After a wet and cold spring and early summer 2016 turned out to be a kind of a miracle vintage in most of Germany, and Schaefer’s Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett is a gorgeous wine that truly captures that miracle in the bottle! This beautifully balanced and traditional off dry Mosel Riesling delivers a classic performance in the glass with bright fruit detail, smoky/flinty/stony notes and a perfect play between the sugar and acidity. While I love the drier styles now available from the Mosel, like Carl Loewen’s recent vintages, Grunhaus, Knebel and the Loosen GG’s it is impossible not to love the traditionalists like Selbach-Oster, Markus Molitor, J.J. Prum and these awesome Willi Schaefer offerings.
One of the most iconic producers in the world, Weingut Willi Schaefer, now made by Willi’s son Christoph, is one of the very top producers in the Mosel, if you want high quality traditional Riesling this is the estate to search out, and it is hard to imagine a better introduction to German Riesling than their Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett, it’s terroir expression and purity is legendary! This wineries vineyards all lie in the Mosel’s Wehlener Sonnenuhr and Graach with the wines coming off either of the Graach zones Domprobst and Himmelreich crus are set on the steep slopes of Devonian slate, which gives these wines their crystalline transparency, intensity and mineral focused character. As mentioned, these are handcrafted old school Rieslings that are informed by their must weight and gracefulness of their residual sugars that give these wines their textures, while still having structural acidity and freshness, these are wines that drink well from day one, but are made to age decades.
The 2016 Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett is full of fruit with crisp green apple, tangy apricot, key lime and a touch of tangerine sorbet that is balanced by the saline infused wet shale, spicy dried ginger, verbena and mineral tones. Air allows a perfume of white flowers/citrus blossom and rosewater to come through and while steely, it gains a creamy moth feel that makes a significant impact on the palate, this is a lovely vintage for Schaefer and this Riesling is perfect for low alcohol cuisine, like Thai, spicy Chinese, Indian and with smoked or cured meats. At only 7.5% natural alcohol this Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett is easy to sip and quaff, but is a serious wine that deserves your full attention, it has a generous nature and is seductively complex without being fussy, drink this fabulous Riesling for the next 10 to 15 years. As these wines are hard to find, you’ll need to work hard to get this, but happily I hear the just released 2017 is even better, and I’m getting a few soon!
($33 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive