J.J. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese 2020
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Still very youthful, but with a little aeration in the glass, aromas of honeysuckle, peach and apricot emerge. Concentrated and juicy on the palate, yet the overall impression is of restraint and delicacy. Very long and stunningly filigree finish that pulls you inexorably back for more of this almost metaphysical elixir. Drinkable now, but best from 2023.
The 2020 Graacher Himmelreich Auslese is discreet and remarkably coolish on the dense and lemon-scented nose compared to Zeltingen and Bernkastel. White peach and nectarine aromas intertwined with coolish broken slate aromas make this a savory and irresistible Auslese, even though, or exactly because of it, this is so discreet and only subversively erotic on the nose. The palate then reveals stunning lightness and finesse based on a filigreed structure and highly refined and zesty acidity. This is almost weightless, but it has a sweet core that materializes the fruit, whereas in the transcendental Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, it's more of an idea. 7% stated alcohol. Natural cork.
Following the Mosel River as it slithers and weaves dramatically through the Eifel Mountains in Germany’s far west, the Mosel wine region is considered by many as the source of the world’s finest and longest-lived Rieslings.
Mosel’s unique and unsurpassed combination of geography, geology and climate all combine together to make this true. Many of the Mosel’s best vineyard sites are on the steep south or southwest facing slopes, where vines receive up to ten times more sunlight, a very desirable condition in this cold climate region. Given how many twists and turns the Mosel River makes, it is not had to find a vineyard with this exposure. In fact, the Mosel’s breathtakingly steep slopes of rocky, slate-based soils straddle the riverbanks along its entire length. These rocky slate soils, as well as the river, retain and reflect heat back to the vineyards, a phenomenon that aids in the complete ripening of its grapes.
Riesling is by far the most important and prestigious grape of the Mosel, grown on approximately 60% of the region’s vineyard land—typically on the desirable sites that provide the best combination of sunlight, soil type and altitude. The best Mosel Rieslings—dry or sweet—express marked acidity, low alcohol, great purity and intensity with aromas and flavors of wet slate, citrus and stone fruit. With age, the wine’s color will become more golden and pleasing aromas of honey, dried apricot and sometimes petrol develop.
Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining its identity. A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, 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. Somm Secret—Given how difficult it is to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling from the label, here are some clues to find the dry ones. First, look for the world “trocken.” (“Halbtrocken” or “feinherb” mean off-dry.) Also a higher abv usually indicates a drier Riesling.