For decades now, Georg Breuer has been one of the finest and most reliable sources for dry / dry-tasting Riesling. No wonder its Nonnenberg proved a highlight of our 2007 retrospective.
Mature Riesling is one of the great pleasures of the wine world. This is why, every year, we dedicate the Spring Issue of Mosel Fine Wines to this topic in a bid to have our readers try it for themselves.
In the just released Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 34 (Apr 2017), we undertook a major horizontal review of 40 of the most iconic dry Riesling in the 2007 vintage from leading producers in Germany, Austria and France.
While wines were often on the richer side, there is true brilliance at the top, with stunning dry Riesling shining through presence, freshness and elegance. In particular, Georg Breuer hit the bull’s eye in this vintage, among other with the stunning Nonnenberg which we feature here below.
Weingut Georg Breuer is a traditional Estate in the Rheingau with roots into the 19th century. Despite being well-known and also quite acclaimed (especially in Germany), we cannot help feeling that this Estate is not yet getting the full recognition it deserves given its absolutely amazing track record. In every vintage of the last 30 years, the Estate managed to produce some of the finest dry / dry-tasting Riesling money can buy (some Breuer Riesling may end up just above the legal limit for being called dry and therefore the Estate has decided to never mention Trocken on a label even if, more often than not, its wines would qualify for it).
The brain behind this success was Bernhard Breuer, a figure larger than life who died far too early, in 2004. Fortunately, his daughter Theresa Breuer was already active at the Estate. Helped by Heinrich Breuer (Bernhard’s brother) and the long-term Estate Manager Hermann Schmoranz, she continued her father’s work and maintained the high standards of this Estate.
Winemaking at Breuer is as simple as can be. The grapes are pressed and the fruit earmarked for the Grand Cru wines are then fermented with ambient yeasts in large oak casks. In June after vintage, the blends are made with only the finest casks making it for the Grand Cru bottles. The wines are bottled in August and left in bottle for another 7 months before being released commercially in April (i.e. 18 months after the vintage).
This traditional winemaking can often make the Estate’s wines seem backward and almost non-saying in their youth (this is in particular the case with the Grand Cru wines from the Rüdesheimer Berg). However, make no mistake, these wines only need time, a decade or two, to blossom.
The Rauenthaler Nonnenberg has been in sole ownership of the Georg Breuer Estate since 1990. As Theresa Breuer explained, the terroir is quite remarkable: “The soil contains a high proportion of phyllite [Editor’s note: a rock derived from slate and rich among others in quartz and mica]. This gives the Nonnenberg wines a great salty side. Also the soil allows the vines to go very deep, which helps in dry vintages. Lastly, the vineyard is exposed to the south-east. This protects it from the brunt of the evening sun and helps it retain a sense of freshness in hot vintages.”
The water retention properties of the Nonnenberg paired with the south-east orientation of the vineyard did work wonders in the ripe 2007 vintage: The 2007er Nonnenberg proves a huge success as it avoids the ripe side of the vintage and develops stunning finesse and precision underlined by low levels of alcohol. It was one of the highlights of our 2007 dry Riesling retrospective. Also the Estate’s Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg proved a success in this vintage!
We hope to have encouraged readers to put this Estate on their radar (if they have not done so yet) and to let its wines age like any fine wine, for a decade or more, in order to get the full reward from these stunning pieces of Riesling.
The superb 2007er Riesling by Weingut Georg Breuer
were reviewed in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 34 (Apr 2017).
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Rauenthaler Nonnenberg Riesling
This delivers a remarkably under-cooled nose for a 2007 wine as a great floral side is wrapped into pear, hazelnut and aniseed herbs. The wine develops great presence and grip on the palate, where more minerals and spicy elements give the wine fabulous complexity. The finish focused, long, refined and very long. What a stunning dry Riesling classic! Now-2037 Now-2037
© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling ... and beyond!"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.