S.A. Prum Blue Riesling Kabinett 2014
A delicious match with chicken, seafood and Asian cuisine.
The Prüm family’s roots in the Mosel region of Germany date back as far as 1156, making it one the country’s preeminent winemaking dynasties. Their incredible Riesling portfolio reflects traditional winemaking practices with exceptional single vineyard designated wines in every style.
Family-owned S.A. Prüm, founded in 1911 by Sebastian Alois Prüm, has been in the hands of Raimund Prüm, head winemaker and Sebastian’s grandson, since 1971. Under Raimund’s leadership the property has earned a reputation as one of the most successful wineries in Germany’s celebrated Mosel wine region. S.A. Prüm is a founding member of the Association of German Premium Wineries (VDP), a consortium of Germany’s top producers. Raimund Prüm employs organic fertilization, hand-picking and strict yield control to ensure the utmost quality.
The estate comprises 40 acres of vineyards planted principally with Riesling. Over 15 acres of S.A. Prüm’s holdings are located within the famed Wehlener Sonnenuhr (“sundial of Wehlen”) domain. Named for the historic sundial painted on an outcrop of slate by a Prüm ancestor back in 1842, the incredibly steep Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard is a renowned source of what is arguably Germany’s finest Riesling. Here vines average 80 years and older and benefit from plentiful sunshine – a critical factor in the world’s northernmost wine producing country. The soil is comprised of layers of finely decomposed, mineral-rich slate. Underneath, deep-lying aquifers provide the vines with adequate water during dry periods.
Since taking over in 1971, Raimund “The Red” Prüm has expanded the winery’s vineyard holdings from 3.5 Ha to 30 Ha. Always joyous with boundless energy, Raimund remains the “face” of the winery. He, along with his wife, Pirjo – the estate’s sommelier – act as global consultant and ambassador, for S.A. Prüm. In 2017, Raimund’s daughter Saskia assumed full ownership of S.A. Prüm Estate. She is the lead winemaker, responsible for managing all aspects of the estate’s wine portfolio. Saskia marks the first time that S.A. Prüm is owned by a woman!
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.
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, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes region of New York.
In the Glass
Riesling typically produces wine with relatively low alcohol, high acidity, steely minerality and stone fruit, spice, citrus and floral notes. At its ripest, it leans towards juicy peach, nectarine and pineapple, while cooler climes produce Rieslings redolent of meyer lemon, lime and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of petrol.
Riesling is quite 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.
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.