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Flat front label of wine

Fritz Haag Estate Riesling 1997

Riesling from Mosel, Germany
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    Winemaker Notes

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    Fritz Haag

    Fritz Haag

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    Fritz Haag, Mosel, Germany
    Fritz Haag 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 and 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 Fritz Haag estate owns the largest and best portion of this vineyard. All sites are 100% Riesling.

    A sixth-century chronicle state that the vineyards of Brauneberg were "propter vinum" (because of wine) bequeathed to Verdun, France, then an important Roman commercial center. 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.

    Home to some of the world’s finest and longest-lived sweet and dry white wines, the Mosel is a region of Germany formerly known as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer—named thusly for the three rivers that flow through its dramatic valleys. Geology, climate and topography are paramount here, and the wines produced communicate a distinct sense of place. In addition to being prized for their heat-retaining properties, slate-based soils lend a stony minerality to the wines, contributing to some of the most recognizable terroir in the world. Cool temperatures necessitate the use of the region’s rivers to reflect heat onto the vineyards, and the best wines are made from sites with south or southwest facing slopes to receive sufficient direct sunlight for ripening. The breathtakingly steep slopes that straddle the river banks cannot be worked by machine, contributing to a high cost of labor (and treacherous working conditions).

    Riesling is by far the most important and prestigious grape of the Mosel, grown on approximately 60% of the region’s vineyard land—typically the sites that provide the best combination of sunlight, soil type, and altitude. These wines, dry or sweet, are distinguished by marked acidity, low alcohol, and intense flavors of wet stone, citrus, and stone fruit. With age, a pleasing aroma of petroleum often develops. The lesser plots are mainly planted with lower-maintenance but relatively neutral varieties like Müller-Thurgau and other German crosses, but Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) can perform quite well here.

    Riesling

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    A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining easily identifiable typicity. This versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling, and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Oregon, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes in New York.

    In the Glass

    Riesling is low in alcohol, with high acidity, steely minerality, and stone fruit, spice, citrus, and floral notes. At its ripest it leans towards juicy peach and nectarine, and pineapple, while in cooler climes it is more redolent of meyer lemon, lime, and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of gasoline.

    Perfect Pairings

    Riesling is very versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice), and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.

    Sommelier Secret

    It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.

    SHC0033030 Item# 30429