Vereinigte Hospitien Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett 2004
The Scharzhofberg is one of the finest vineyards in Germany, probably planted by the Romans. It is one of the very few famed sites whose wines are sold without mention of the village name.
The winery is in the old building of the United Hospices, "Vereinigte Hospitien". The wine cellars are bedded in old Roman stonework that was built around 330 A.D. The label is the figure of Saint Jacob with a pilgrim's staff and seashell. This relates to the St. James Public Hospital originally a hostel/shelter for wanderers on their way to the tomb of Apostle James in Spain. The tribute to Saint Jacob on the bottle spreads good name all over the world.
The wines are marketed under the Sanctus Jacobus label name, depicted on the labels by St. Jacob or James with a pilgrim's staff and seashell. This relates to the St. James Public Hospital which was originally a hostel for pilgrims on their way to the tomb of James the Apostle in Spain. Records mention Sanctus Jacobus wines as early as 1464 and this is the oldest written documentation of Riesling being cultivated on the Mosel.
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.