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Von Othegraven Maria Von O. Riesling 2002

Riesling from Mosel, Germany
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    Winemaker Notes

    This legendary 19th-C. estate, exclusively associated with its great holding in the Kanzemer Altenberg, began a rejuvenation process in 1995. In addition to tending the ancestral Altenberg vines, new sites have been acquired in the Wiltinger Scharzberg and Ockfener Bockstein. From these wonderful sites, a balanced, textbook Saar Riesling has been achieved by winemaker Stefan Kraml and proprietor Dr. Heidi Kegel.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Von Othegraven

    Maximillian Von Othegraven

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    Maximillian Von Othegraven, Mosel, Germany
    The winery Maximilian von Othegraven was founded in the early 16th century. Located in a very romantic setting, it is situated on the right bank of the Saar river, across from the village of Kanzem. The estate grounds encompass a riverfront park with a renowned grove of rare trees. Since 1805 the estate belongs to the family Grach-Weißebach-von Othegraven. In 1995 the present-day owner, Dr. Heidi Kegel, took over from her aunt, Maria von Othegraven. The vineyard consists of approximately 7 hectares of the prime growing area of the Kanzemer Altenberg, which rises steeply immediately behind the residence. The site has full southerly exposure, permitting the ground to capture to the greatest possible extent the sun´s rays. The grey slate soil warms quickly and stores the day´s heat until late at night.

    Protected from rough north winds, the grapes´ ripening is enhanced by the moderating effects of the soft-flowing water of the river Saar. These circumstances have contributed to the Altenbergs renown as one of the best white wine sites in the world. The mild climate, slatey soil of devonian origin and almost perfect southerly exposure provide the best conditions for the Riesling grape, which is being grown here exclusively. Single vine planting and the extremely steep hillside exclude anything but manual work in the vineyard.

    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.

    Other varieties planted in the Mosel include Müller-Thurgau, Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), all performing quite well here.


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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, 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 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 petrol.

    Perfect Pairings

    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.

    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.

    WWI517264_2002 Item# 74621