2011 Schloss Johannisberg "Grünlack" Riesling Spätlese

SKU #1144423 93 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Editors’ Choice* Aromas of sugar cookie and apple preserves entice on this ripe, rich spätlese. It’s ethereally light on the palate, but deeply concentrated, with honey and peach flavors braced by soft pink-grapefruit acidity. It finishes elegantly, with a slick of honeycomb and lavender perfume. Drink now for its floral, fruity decadence.  (2/2014)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Enticing bouquet of honeydew melon, nectarine and sweet lime. Velvety, sweet papaya fruit and salty acidity give this wine an exotic kick. Very pure and well-balanced, finishing lively and elegant, with a spicy crispness.  (2/2013)

K&L Notes

Plenty of wine estates tout their long and storied histories, but the depth of history at Schloss Johannisberg is something rarely matched. The first actual document of the vineyard dates back to the year 817. According to wine writer Hugh Johnson in his book "Vintage", the vineyard site is said to have been personally selected by the Emperor Charlemagne himself. The magnificent south-facing slope visible from the Rhine was the first place the snow melted in the springtime, thus revealing its volume of precious sun exposure at this difficult latitude, so Charlemagne ordered that the the monestary on top of the hill plant it with vines. Nine hundred years later in 1748, the estate was the first to recognize the unsurpassed quality of the Riesling grape and plant it exclusively. Schloss Johannisberg also recognized the benefits of noble rot and late harvesting, and in 1775 the estate enjoyed their first official "Spatlese" vintage. Ever since this magical vintage, they would strive to harvest these late harvest grapes rather than just benefit from the occasional happy accident. This brought even further fame to the estate, and during this 18th Century heyday when Bordeaux was also enjoying a golden age, the wines of Schloss Johannisberg commanded prices matched by perhaps no one else in the world... not even the yet-to-be-classified Bordeaux first growths.

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Price: $49.99
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- While the rest of the world has often misappropriated the name--Welchriesling, Riesling Italico, Gray Riesling and Emerald Riesling are all names applied to varieties that are NOT Riesling--this exceptional German varietal has managed to maintain its identity. Perhaps its biggest claims to fame are its intoxicating perfume, often described as having honeyed stone fruit, herb, apple and citrus notes, and its incredible longevity - the wines lasting for decades. Aged Rieslings often take on a distinctive and alluring Petrol-like aroma. Within Germany, the grape seems to do best in the warming slate soils of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. Other German regions that turn out great Rieslings include Pfalz, Rheingau and Nahe. German Rieslings are made in a range of ripeness levels. The top wines are assigned Prädikat levels to describe their ripeness at harvest. These are: Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese. Riesling has also achieved acclaim in France's Alsace, the only region in that country where the grape is officially permitted. Alsatian Rieslings are typically dry and wonderfully aromatic. Austrian Riesling is also steadily gaining praise and fine Riesling is also produced in Italy's Alto-Adige and Friuli, in Slovenia and much of Central and Eastern Europe. In the New World its stronghold is Australia, where it does best in the Eden and Clare Valleys. It is also planted in smaller amounts in New Zealand. In the US, winemakers are eschewing the syrupy sweet versions of the 1970s and 1980s, instead making elegant and balanced wines in both California and Washington State.


- Thanks to a recent string of excellent vintages and to the reemergence of Germany onto the international wine writing scene, this is a country that's hot, hot, hot! Germany is divided into 13 wine Region and produces a very wide variety of wine styles, from incredibly high-acid, dry wines to some of the sweetest, most unctuous concoctions on the planet and even a few surprisingly hearty reds. Most of the highest-quality wines are grown on steep banks along the rivers in these Region. Small vineyards are still mostly hand tended and picked, due to the difficult nature of mechanization on these slopes. White wine production accounts for nearly 80% of the total with Riesling being the most important varietal, though Muller-Thurgau is still more widely planted. Click for a list of bestselling items from Germany.