2001 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese Auction

SKU #1329185 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Tasted at “Tim’s Kitchen” in Hong Kong. Joy of joys! The bouquet just blossom in the glass and yells from the rafters: I am a Riesling! There are sublime scents of orange blossom, a little honeysuckle and just a hint of quince jus. Brilliant delineation. The palate has a slight viscosity on the entry with subtle notes of apricot, kumquat and a hint of guava. It is so light on its feet, yet so intense. Is this at its best? I think it has another twenty years of sheer loveliness ahead of it. (NM)  (1/2012)

K&L Notes

The Haag estate to those in the know is perhaps the one of the, if not the, most respected names in German fine wine. Quality is always the focus at this estate, and quantity is extremely limited. Napoleon paid tribute to the Brauneberger wines by fixing their prices above those of all other Mosel wines. When, in 1806, the Mosel vineyard sites were divided into classes according to the quality of their wines, Brauneberg was the only name in the first rank. Today Oliver Haag of Fritz Haag estate, whose family has been engaged in viticulture at Brauneberg since 1605, is the town's most important proprietor. Using traditional cellar techniques and careful, selective harvesting he produces Brauneberger wines that have power, elegance with fine Riesling fruit and a subtle slate background in balance with generous fruity acids. One of his ancestors was a co-founder of the Brauneberger-Juffer-Sonnenuhr vineyard site. At present, the estate owns the largest and best portion of this vineyard. In addition, the estate also owns the best parts of the Brauneberger Juffer. All sites are 100% Riesling. The very steep vineyards with grades up to 73%, are planted on slate rock, and are among the most difficult vineyard sites in the world to cultivate. Like "solar collectors", they too are extremely efficient in absorbing every available ray of sunshine. Hence, even in off-vintages the Brauneberger wines from the hillside vineyards are usually successful.

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Varietal:

Riesling

- 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.
Country:

Germany

- 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.
Sub-Region:

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer