High Quality Kabinett Riesling From a Historic German Estate

Today’s Story: Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl

Reichsrat von Buhl was established in 1849 by Franz Peter Buhl, and the estate quickly became a benchmark of quality for Forster Riesling. Thanks to uncompromising quality, von Buhl Rieslings became some of the most expensive in the world and even filled the glasses of those toasting the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Even Otto von Bismarck became a loving fan of von Buhl wines and praised their Ungeheuer which is sourced from the best plot of the 29 hectare Grand Cru Ungeheuer vineyard.

In 1909, Franz Eberhard Buhl (the son of Armand von Buhl and Juliane Schellhorn-Wallbillich) orchestrated the marriage of the von Buhl and Schellhorn-Wallbillich wineries, establishing one of the largest privately owned German wine estates at over 200 hectares. At this point, Franz Eberhard changed the winery name to Reichsrat von Buhl (adding his title as a member in the house of Lords in the kingdom of Bavaria). Franz Eberhard passed away young in 1921 and his widow Frieda Piper von Buhl adeptly ran the estate until her death in 1952. With no familial heirs to the estate, Reichsrat von Buhl went to Georg Enoch Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg who was a political friend of Franz Eberhard.

Over time, Reichsrat von Buhl decreased in size to about 52 hectares of vineyard land thanks to financial challenges, though they maintained ownership of some of the greatest sites in Deidesheim and Forst. From 1989 to 2013, von Buhl was leased to Japanese business man Toyohiro Tokuoka but changed ownership in 2005 to a local businessman named Achim Niederberger. When Tokuoka’s lease ended in 2013, von Buhl went back to being a family-run estate and winery.

All vineyards owned by Reichsrat von Buhl are certified organic and the current team is unified behind natural and sustainable viticulture. All white wines from von Buhl are Riesling (except for two noble sweet wines) and all red wines and rosé are made from Pinot Noir. Of all the land planted to vine that von Buhl owns, 45% is classified as either VDP.Erste Lage® (Premier Cru) or VDP.Grosse Lage® (Grand Cru) – source. For more on this historic German estate, check out the website here.

I previously wrote about von Buhl’s 2014 Forster Ungeheuer Riesling Großes Gewächs.

Today’s Wine: 2018 Armand Riesling Kabinett

100% Riesling; 9% ABV

The 2018 Armand Riesling Kabinett is pale gold in color. Aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of white peach, apricot, lemon peel, honeysuckle, petrol, and white pepper. Meanwhile the flavors are also of pronounced intensity and the palate displays notes of yellow apple, white peach, tangerine, jasmine, honey, and flint. This off-dry Riesling is light- to medium-bodied with high acidity, low alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish.

Price: $17. I think this is very well-priced and offers solid value. While it’s not the most complex wine, it is rather young and still offers great intensity and length that I desire in a Riesling. Quality here is definitely significant as well for the level of wine.

Long-Lived Mosel Riesling Showing No Signs of Slowing Down

Today’s Story: Weingut Joh. Jos. Prüm

Joh. Jos. Prüm, situated in the village of Wehlen on the banks of the Mosel in Germany, is one of the most highly-regarded wine estates in the region and perhaps all of Germany. Though the Prüm family lived in Wehlen back to the year 1156, the estate as we know it today started to take shape during the 1800s under Sebastian Alois Prüm. Joh. Jos. Prüm itself, however, was established in 1911 when Johann Josef Prüm received part of the family estate which was split between him and his siblings. Joh. Jos. Prüm wasn’t in the greatest of health when his son Sebastian took over in 1920, and it again passed to Sebastian’s son Dr. Manfred Prüm in 1969. Joh. Jos. Prüm remains a family estate to this day, as Manfred’s oldest daughter Katharina now runs the show with minimal but ready input from her father.

The Joh. Jos. Prüm estate consists of about 14 hectares (35 acres) of vineyards, with important holdings in Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Graacher Himmelreich, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, and Bernkasteler Badstube. The Prüms exclusively produce Riesling in a range of styles, and an amazing 70% of their vines are ungrafted. The winemaking style here is rather traditional and harvest occurs on the later-end, ultimately resulting in wines that are delicate and restrained yet incredibly long-lived. Annual production typically hovers around 13,000 cases, and these are highly prized and collectible wines once they hit substantial levels of bottle age.

Today’s Wine: 2003 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel

100% Riesling; 7% ABV

The 2003 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel is medium gold in color. The aromas are gorgeous and of pronounced intensity, with the nose showcasing apricot, peach, yellow apple, pear, honeysuckle, petrol, dried herbs, and slate. Flavors are also of pronounced intensity, and the palate displays notes of mango, peach, apricot, dried pineapple, chamomile, honey, vanilla cream, almond, and saline mineral. This sweet Riesling is medium- to full-bodied with high acidity, low alcohol, and a long finish. Outstanding bottle of wine that has at least 10 years left to improve and probably another decade after to drink.

Price: $120 (I got it for $75). This actually offers very, very solid value given the age, intensity, balance, and length of the wine. It’s an absolutely beautiful bottle, and I got it for a steal of a price.

Gorgeous Mosel Riesling to Stock up on for the Summer

Today’s Story: Weingut Fritz Haag

Weingut Fritz Haag is a historic family-owned wine estate established by the Haag family in 1605 in Brauneberg of the Mosel winegrowing region of Germany. In its more recent “modern” history, Fritz Haag was under the leadership of Wilhelm Haag beginning in 1957 when he returned to help his ill father. An expected one-harvest stay turned into full-time winemaking for Wilhelm, ultimately resulting in exceptional quality wines being produced by the estate which garnered international acclaim and earned Wilhelm the German Winemaker of the Year title in 1994 by Gault Millau’s Guide to German Wines. Wilhelm passed the reins onto his son Oliver in 2005, and he runs the estate to this day with his wife Jessica.

The Fritz Haag estate consists of 19.5 hectares, with the vineyards planted entirely to the Riesling variety on very steep slopes along the Mosel River. As part of their holdings, Fritz Haag owns substantial holdings in the highly regarded Brauneberger Juffer and Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr vineyards which produce their highest quality fruit for the Grosses Gewächs wines and Prädikatswein. Fritz Haag produces a range of Rieslings, going from dry all the way to sweet wines made with botrytis-affected grapes but they keep production to around 5,500 cases per year with mild fluctuations due to vintage conditions.

To preserve the pronounced aroma and flavor characteristics of their wines, Fritz Haag utilizes stainless steel and some old oak during the winemaking process. Fermentations occur only with indigenous yeasts, and the name of the game is to produce exceptionally pure wines that show true sense of place.

To explore Weingut Fritz Haag further, you can check out their website here.

Today’s Story: 2019 Riesling

100% Riesling; 11% ABV

The 2019 Riesling is transparent pale straw in color. This wine leaps out of the glass with pronounced intensity, offering up aromas of green apple, lime zest, white peach, white florals, petrol, jasmine, and slate. Meanwhile the palate is also of pronounced intensity, showcasing notes of lemon, lime, white peach, crisp green apple, elderflower, a hint of beeswax, and saline minerality. This slightly off-dry (feinherb style) Riesling is light-bodied with gorgeous high acidity, medium (-) alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. A perfect summer bottle with great balance and just a touch of sweetness to help balance the mouthwatering acidity.

Price: $22 (cheaper in Europe). I think this offers very solid value for Mosel Riesling and it was an absolute pleasure to drink. The acidity is gorgeous, the style is beautifully balanced, and the aromas and flavors mesh seamlessly into a refreshing wine. I’ll be buying more of this.

A Truly Special Riesling

Today’s Story: Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl

Reichsrat von Buhl was established in 1849 by Franz Peter Buhl, and the estate quickly became a benchmark of quality for Forster Riesling. Thanks to uncompromising quality, von Buhl Rieslings became some of the most expensive in the world and even filled the glasses of those toasting the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Even Otto von Bismarck became a loving fan of von Buhl wines and praised their Ungeheuer which is sourced from the best plot of the 29 hectare Grand Cru Ungeheuer vineyard.

In 1909, Franz Eberhard Buhl (the son of Armand von Buhl and Juliane Schellhorn-Wallbillich) orchestrated the marriage of the von Buhl and Schellhorn-Wallbillich wineries, establishing one of the largest privately owned German wine estates at over 200 hectares. At this point, Franz Eberhard changed the winery name to Reichsrat von Buhl (adding his title as a member in the house of Lords in the kingdom of Bavaria). Franz Eberhard passed away young in 1921 and his widow Frieda Piper von Buhl adeptly ran the estate until her death in 1952. With no familial heirs to the estate, Reichsrat von Buhl went to Georg Enoch Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg who was a political friend of Franz Eberhard.

Over time, Reichsrat von Buhl decreased in size to about 52 hectares of vineyard land thanks to financial challenges, though they maintained ownership of some of the greatest sites in Deidesheim and Forst. From 1989 to 2013, von Buhl was leased to Japanese business man Toyohiro Tokuoka but changed ownership in 2005 to a local businessman named Achim Niederberger. When Tokuoka’s lease ended in 2013, von Buhl went back to being a family-run estate and winery.

All vineyards owned by Reichsrat von Buhl are certified organic and the current team is unified behind natural and sustainable viticulture. All white wines from von Buhl are Riesling (except for two noble sweet wines) and all red wines and rosé are made from Pinot Noir. Of all the land planted to vine that von Buhl owns, 45% is classified as either VDP.Erste Lage® (Premier Cru) or VDP.Grosse Lage® (Grand Cru) – source. For more on this historic German estate, check out the website here.

Today’s Wine: 2014 Forster Ungeheuer Riesling Großes Gewächs

100% Riesling; 13% ABV

The 2014 Ungeheuer Riesling GG is transparent medium yellow in color with medium to deep straw hues. As the wine opens up, it constantly evolves and showcases its complexity transitioning from dominant aromas of dried gravel, petrol, and pineapple into apricot, peach, white florals, exotic Asian spice, honey, and smoke. Once in the mouth, this gorgeous Riesling displays notes of white peach, lemon zest, green apple skins, apricot, saline and crushed rock minerality, honeysuckle, beeswax, flint, and dried herbs. This is medium-bodied and bone-dry with gorgeous high acidity and a lush mouthfeel into an incredibly long finish.

Price: $70 (but looks like there is some in bond for ~$40/btl in 6 packs). To be honest I would buy the 6 packs in bond from Europe if I could, because this is absolutely worth every penny of the $70 I paid. Riesling is a variety I am trying to explore further, but this is certainly the greatest example I’ve had to date. Pair with chicken Pad Thai, roasted pork, or sushi.