2018 Dr. Loosen, Riesling Spätlese, Ürziger Würzgarten, Mosel Germany.
Like the Kabinett version, this lush Spatlese, by Dr. Loosen, from the famous Ürziger Würzgatren comes from vines that average well over 60 years old and set on that smoky red slate and red volcanic sandstone that give this wine its iconic terroir distinction. Loosen’s Spätlese is produced with grapes that have a week or two extra hang time, but still without any botrytis, making for a richly flavored, slightly exotic and expressive Riesling with this 2018 starting to gain a rounded maturity and creaminess, but still with freshness and nice acidity holding it together beautifully. There’s brilliant yellow fruit, peach, apricot, lemon curd, pineapple, crisp apple and tangy quince, slate driven mineral tones, a dusting of spices, delicate chamomile, lime flowers, orange sorbet, caramel and wet flint accents. The “Spice Garden” is as Dr. Loosen notes, a blazing red, with a vain of iron rich volcanic soils over weathered slate and insanely steep, the Ürziger Würzgarten Cru vineyard sits the picturesque amphitheater formed by this dramatic bend in the river, forming a natural sun basket that helps ripen the Riesling grapes and gives these wines their signature profile, with some of Dr. Loosen’s oldest vines clinging to this famous hillside. Ürziger Würzgarten’s wines are completely unique, complex and lavishly tropical by nature and Loosen’s example is compelling and tasty, going great with spicy dishes with some heat, ginger beef, Thai curries and super with grilled prawns and or chili crab!

As mentioned many times here, the Weingut Dr. Loosen has been in the same family for over 200 years and with mostly un-grafted old vines that average around 50 years old, in some of the best sites in Mosel, giving Ernst Loosen an awesome selection of grapes to work with. Loosen always seems to produce stunningly intense, world-class wines that not only show terroir, but also a sense of purity wrapped in a luxurious package. With crop yields, according to the winery, almost half of what is permitted by law, only moderate use of organic fertilizers, and old-fashioned cellar practices these wines deliver exceptional quality, quite remarkable for such a large company, showing its commitment and respect for its core mission. The medium sweet Spätlese is made from all sustainable grapes, carefully hand tended and sees a cool fermentation in a combination of stainless steel tanks and traditional Fuder barrels known as Stuckfass. The fermentation stopped by chilling the juice, keeping about 67 grams per liter of residual sugar and finishing up with between 7.5 and 8.5 percent natural alcohol, (8.5% as seen here) in Dr. Loosen’s 2018 version. The Spätlese gets a short period of fine lees contact that adds to the complexity sand depth here, but is bottled fairly quickly to promote vibrancy, clarity and terroir nuance, which adds to the enjoyment of this wine, both young and with some age, as this one shows. I hear the 2022 vintage, which is just coming out now, is one of the best ever Ürziger Würzgarten years, so I’m excited to try it soon, but I highly recommend this classic 2018, which was showing great last night as our tasting group celebrated Riesling’s 589th Birthday.
($35 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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