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John Jacob Franz Karl Schmitt

Franz Karl Schmitt 1996 Niersteiner Pettenthal Riesling Auslese 10 97 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – Moderately sweet. Lime, green apple, limestone, and shards of metal…perhaps mostly iron. Yet, in the end, not all that interesting. (12/08)

Two-star general

[vineyard]JJ Christoffel 1997 Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese ** 09 98 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – Extremely creamy, as these wines tend to be. Full of orange sorbet, smoothed out to remove the crystallization, and while there’s not enough nerve to prevent the drying finish from turning a little bloated, it’s definitely an OK wine. Just not really beyond that. (12/08)

Prince Ruprecht

Koehler-Ruprecht 2002 Kallstadter Saumagen Riesling Auslese 04 03 (Pfalz) – Back up the diesel tank! Very light cream, with a texture that alternates between a gritty roughness and a down feather softness. Powerful at its metallic core. Sweet and intense, good fantastic acidity. The long finish leaves the minerality in exposed solitude. Very, very good. (12/08)

Wehlen’ up

JJ Prüm 1995 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 08 96 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – Carries the lithe lightness of a kabinett, with the power of its full pradikat held in reserve. Gorgeous balance. But it’s an infant. An embryo. (6/08)

Maximin overdrive

[estate]von Schubert’sche 1992 Maximin Grünhäuser Herrenberg Riesling Auslese 48 93 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – Severe but incredibly long, with metal in cylinder, shard, and liquid forms, all dusted with aspirin. (6/08)

The Ungeheurer of the wolf

[winery]von Buhl 1996 Forster Ungeheurer Riesling Auslese 35 97 (Pfalz) – Huge minerality…I mean, truly massive rockiness…with, nonetheless, a fine balance between the stones, biting acidity, and precise sweetness. And yet, its actual palate presence is less insistent than it threatens; it’s like a really outstanding German riesling is blowing past one’s nose, but not yet settling on the palate. Despite the age, this is still one for the future. (9/08)

Kerpen it real

[cellar]Kerpen 1998 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese * 11 99 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – There’s more openness here than one might expect, but it’s a window open to the void. I’m not quite sure how that works; the wine feels generous, it says all the right things, but what it’s actually saying is elusive. Maybe it’s running for office. There’s good precision and a lot of steel-jacketed apple – and no lack of thick sweetness, though the wine carries nice crispness – but it needs further development of its language skills before it’s worth a conversation. (8/08)

Sir Rigger

[vineyard]Schloss Saarstein 1996 Serriger Schloss Saarstein Riesling Auslese 11 97 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – Mildly corked. (2/08)

A new Prüm sweeps clean

JJ Prüm 1990 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – Fully past its primary (and sulfurous) phase, but giving only teasing hints of what’s to come…other than the texture, which is already silky and luscious. There’s length and prominence, but there’s also firm conviction and a pressing insistence. Minerals, yes, and also very ripe apples bathed in clotted cream, but mostly just texture and incessant promise. (8/07)