Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Wines of Willi Schaefer

My exploration of German wines and Riesling in particular has led me to a number of exciting experiences. The more I taste these wines, submerge myself in the history of the producers and geography of the vineyards, the more I come to realize that Riesling will always find a place in my cellar. The idea that I have never taken the time to explore this region before seems ludicrous to me now. I am a convert to the love of Riesling.

As I continue my journey, poking and prodding willing retailers and reading the work of great bloggers and writers, certain standards emerge. Such as, while A.J. Adams is often referred to as the exciting newcomer of German Riesling, Willi Schaefer is the gold standard and offers well-priced, consistently excellent Rieslings.

Willi Schaefer is a small estate located in the commune of Bernkasel-Graach, of the Middle-Mosel. Willi, and his son Christof, have holdings in the Graacher Domprobst and Himmelreich vineyards, as well as Wehlener Sonnenuhr. The wines are known to be highly enjoyable in their youth, as well as aging beautifully in the cellar. They are also known for disappearing quickly off retailer’s shelves, as this is a producer who’s been turning out stellar wines longer than most of us have been old enough to drink them. That’s not to say it’s impossible, especially in today’s world of the Internet.

A great selection of Riesling at: Crush
Each of the wines below are of exceptional quality and provide great value. These are wines that will excite your palate and wow your guests. Further, if it’s mature Riesling that you love, the Kabinett and the Spätlese will do fine in your cellar. Lastly, keep your eyes open for the 2009 Mosel Himmelreich Grosses Gewachs from Willi Schaefer. This is one of Schaefer’s dry Rieslings, which my sources tell me, is amazing.

On to the notes:

2009 Willi Schaefer Riesling – The nose showed honeysuckle, white cherries, wax and a light citrus spritz. On the palate, I found pineapple, which went from sweet to sour as it washed across the tongue into a slightly short yet highly enjoyable finish. (88 points) Find it: Wine-Searcher

2009 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett – The nose on the Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett was less ripe but much more finessed than the regular Riesling. It showed pear, lemon custard and slate stone. On the palate, I found peach and pineapple with tongue-curling acidity balanced by a hint of sweetness. The finish was elegant and long with citrus notes. (90 points) Find it: Wine Searcher

2009 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese – The nose showed grapefruit, slate dust, floral stems and hints of coconut. On the palate, I found a gorgeous balance of sweet verse acid with honey, minerals and light yet mouth-filling lemon. The finish was long and mouthwatering with intense citrus on the mid-palate. This is a nice step up from the Kabinett and an amazing value. (91 points) Find it: Wine-Searcher

1 comment:

  1. Just got introduced recently, and loving the wines!

    -Robert Pavlovich
    aka Jon Derry from Snooth


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