2005 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese #8

SKU #1026483 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 With the 2005 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese A.P. #8, says Willi Schaefer, we taste the results of tiny-berried old vines and of bunches that had partly shriveled from botrytis 'although I still think the wine only hints at botrytis.' Baked apple, licorice, and bitter-sweet floral and herbal notes in the nose lead into a palate featuring baked and dried apple, honey and inner-mouth florality, sacrificing some juiciness and vivacity for a honeyed, rich, compressed-fruit concentration. Bittersweet herbal essences, pungent spice, vanilla, and faintly caramelized apple inform the long, rather sedate finish. This has a lot in reserve, a 'T. R.' sort of wine that wields behind its back a big stick of sheer extract and ennobled concentration. I suspect this will be a Spatlese capable of more than two decades aging and considerable further complexity.  (10/2006)

Jancis Robinson

 Lots of cool mineral quality on the nose. Quite piercing and textured -- very ‘pointed’ and confident. Good stuff for medium-term drinking. 17/20 points.  (7/2006)

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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.