St. Urbans-Hof Estate Riesling QbA 2012
Riesling from Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany
#60 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2014
This German Riesling from the Mosel is very lightly off-dry but its so bright and intense that the sweetness barely registers. An elegant, crisp and fruity Riesling with a hint of natural residual sweetness. This wine has the typical light character of the Riesling grape and the style of a classic Mosel Riesling.
Wine Spectator - "This version is richly spiced and filled with luscious flavors of glazed apricot, ripe melon and peach cobbler. Shows minerally notes, offering a finish of golden raisin and nutmeg."
St. Urbans-Hof Winery
For our family, wine has been at the heart of life for generations. Our deep respect for the traditions of our region remains, as ever, the guarantee for the quality of our wines.
In our endeavours we give highest priority to maintaining the egological balance of our vineyards, in the belief that as winemakers we must recognize and respect the fragile unity of viticulture and nature.
St. Urbans-Hof employs traditional methods of wine growing and winemaking which have been used in the Mosel and Saar Valleys for centuries, some of which date back to the Romans. For example, the vines are grown on the traditional single-post 'Heart-binding' trellis system, whereby the canes are tied in the shape of a heart.
Also, organic fertilizers are utilized in order to maintain the natural balance of the soil. Most importantly, yields are kept at low levels in order to achieve intense and well-structured wines. For optimal flavour development, leaves are thinned and grapes are harvested as late as possible to allow for maximum ripening. All grapes are hand picked and carried from the vineyard in traditional shoulder-mounted containers called 'hotten' to ensure optimal fruit quality.
Just as important as the great length taken to deliver the best possible fruit from the vineyard is the careful attention given to the proper traetment of the grapes by cellarmaster Rudolf Hoffmann. The grapes are lightly crushed, after which they remain on the skins for a short period to ensure the complete release of aromas into the juice.
After this, the pulp of skins and juice is gently pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks at cool cellar temperatures to fully capture the aromas, flavours and delicate natural spritz of the Riesling grape. The wines are then transferred into traditional 1000 litre 'Fuder' barrels for several months to harmonize, after which they are lightly filtered and bottled. View all St. Urbans-Hof Wines
About Mosel-Saar-RuwerView a map of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer wineries(moe-ZELL saahr -RUE-wehr)The Mosel river winds its way through this wine region, passing by some of the steepest, most northerly vineyards of the world. The wines from the Mosel have a most distinctive soil based on slate. The slate-rich soils covering the region are what imparts the amazing, well-loved slate-y, mineraly flavors and aromas to the delicate Mosel wines. To keep this necessary slate in tact, when the rock slide down the steep vineyard hillsides, the vineyard workers grab a bucket and carry the rocks right back up to the vines. There is a level of care taken in the vineyards of Mosel that rivals most other regions. Tasting the wines helps to understand why.
Notable FactsRiesling is the grape of the Mosel – the combination of this grape with the slate soils is what makes Mosel wines so breathtakingly delicate. Common descriptors of the Mosel Rieslings include steely acidity, wet stone and delicate texture. Lower in alcohol and high in acidity, the wines are still balanced with the rich flavors of Riesling and the slate-y flavors from the soil. Two districts (or Bereiche) that you find most often on Mosel labels are Bernkastel and Zell. Both are good producers of wine from this region. Many other good wines are coming from the area – just look to make sure the bottle says "Riesling" on the label – that's a sign of quality.
White Wine GuruWith some of the steepest and northernmost vineyards in the world, as well as the coolest climate, Germany produces some of the best white wines in the world, mainly Riesling. Delicate, age-worthy, intense and elegant are the typical descriptions for these wines. Note that “sweet” is not a common descriptor because the idea that most German wines are sweet is just not so. In fact, the majority of wines made in Germany are dry and more recently, the country is exporting value wines that are easy to drink, extremely food friendly and, luckily for some, containing labels that are easier to read!
The classification system of Germany is somewhat confusing. Like the rest of the old world, there's some hierarchy to it all. The categories are: Tafelwien (table wine), Landwein (land wine, similar to France's Vin de Pays) and the first “Q” level, QbA. QbA wines are easy-drinking and inexpensive – the only requirement being that the wine must come from one of Germany's thirteen official wine growing regions. The final level is QmP, which is the strictest level of German wines. The qualification consists of 6 levels, based on ripeness level at harvest, though that does not always translate into sweetness level.
Here are a few definitions to help in picking out a German QmP wine:
Kabinett(cab-ee-NET)The driest level, Kabinett is usually light-bodied, low to medium in alcohol, and fairly dry. Great everyday wine and food-friendly.
Spatlese(shpate-LAY-zuh)Grapes are picked a bit later than Kabinett (Spatlese means late harvest) and have a fuller, more intense body. Most wines of this level are dry although some are off-dry.
Auslese(OWSE-lay-zuh)Wines of this level are made from select grapes harvested even later than Spatlese. The grapes are selected in bunches to make sure they are of the perfect ripeness level. One step up in both body and sweetness, Auslese wines are balanced but with a bit more sweetness – perfect with spicy Indian food.
Beerenauslese(bare-ehn-owse-lay-zuh)The longer the words get, the higher up in sweetness level you rise. Like Auslese, the grapes are selected individually, but while Auslese is selected bunches, Beerenauslese are selected berries, and usually berries affected by botrytis, or noble rot, so you have an even more specific wine, which, in turn, increases both its sweetness level and its price.
Trockenbeerenauslese(trok-ehn-bare-ehn-owse-lay-zuh)Okay, so Trocken means dry in German and yet this wine is the sweetest of the German levels. The "trocken" comes into play as the berries picked for this wine are dried, intensifying the sugars. So the wine is made from late-harvest dried berries affected with botrytis - a combination that makes a decadent (and expensive!) bottle of wine. A treat if you are able to ever try one.
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