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Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese 2011

Riesling from Mosel, Germany
  • WS94
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Winemaker Notes

#67 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2012

Spatlese [SHPAYT-lay-zuh] is German for "late picked." It has more richness and body than Kabinett because the grapes are allowed to ripen for an extra week or more. This Prädikat (ripeness level) often gives you the purest expression of the vineyard's terroir, because the fruit is fully ripe, but without any influence of over-ripeness or botrytis.

Critical Acclaim

WS 94
Wine Spectator

Intense aromas and flavors of peach strudel and apple pie feature notes of custard and gooseberry. The vibrant finish echoes with long and pure glazed citrus notes. A powerful style. Drink now through 2030.

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Dr. Loosen

Dr. Loosen

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Dr. Loosen, , Germany
Dr. Loosen
The Dr. Loosen Estate has been in the same family for over 200 years. With ungrafted vines averaging 50 years old, some of the best vineyard sites in Germany (four rated grand cru and two premier cru by both the 1868 German classification and the more current Wine Atlas of Germany), Ernst Loosen has the raw materials for stunningly intense, world-class wines. With crop yields almost half of what is permitted by law, only moderate use of organic fertilizers, and old-fashioned cellar practices, Loosen strives to create wines that unmistakably say, "Riesling, Mosel, and Dr. Loosen." In his own words, "The great winemakers I have met invariably possess a clear concept in their mind of what their wine should be. It's a vision that places terrior over technology, and grape quality over quantity. This is the level of winemaking we pursue at Dr. Loosen. Our goal is to produce wines that are luscious, complex, and true to their roots."

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

CWMOO2111_2011 Item# 120886

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