This highlight from our extensive “10-Years-After” retrospective underlines the great classic qualities of this under-rated vintage.
Our extensive 2008 Riesling retrospective, with more than 100 wines re-tasted, showed above all one thing: The vintage offers great racy yet ripe purity, especially at Kabinett and Spätlese level.
The Ürziger Würzgarten Spätlese Alte Reben by little-known Dr. Lippold epitomizes this joie de vivre of the 2008 vintage particularly well.
Never heard of Dr. Lippold? Don’t worry. You haven’t lost touch. In fact, even most Mosel growers will not know this tiny Estate situated in Ürzig.
Enno Lippold is quite a character. After some winemaking studies, he followed a career in the wine business at the Deinhard winery. This brought him to Bernkastel, where he admired the different local vineyards: “In the evening, I would drive around and just soak up the scenery. But the red slate of the Ürziger Würzgarten really caught my eye. Right since 1971, when I first came to Bernkastel, I have dreamt of a vineyard in this site.”
In the mid-2000s, he finally made true of his dream and took over some prime vineyards from a befriended grower in Ürzig, Benedikt Pfeiffer, who continues to provide him with a helping hand for the winemaking. The wines are all fermented with ambient yeasts in traditional Fuder oak casks.
However Enno Lippold did not stop here. His almost militant credo is that great Mosel is both aged and balanced: “Mosel wines are enjoyed far too young, when the acidity, the sugar and the minerals are still completely standing next to each other. With age, the feeling of sweetness recedes and the acidity mellows away. That’s when the miracle of balance happens.”
He does release his wines accordingly: “I want people to enjoy my wines when they are ready. No wine leaves my cellar before having spent at least 2 years in bottle. Many wines remain there much longer. For instance, I haven’t released any of my 2010 yet. This will most likely only happen next year.”
The holdings of Enno Lippold are situated high up the Ürziger Würzgarten, in two privileged and neighboring sectors, the Weltersberg and the Neuberg. The terroir of the Würzgarten is one of the most complex of the Mosel as many different types of soils come together here. While the Weltersberg is on what is geological speaking real red slate, the Neuberg is already more on a base of red sandstone.
The vines in the Weltersberg are over 60 years old and un-grafted: “Luckily, the father of Benedikt Pfeiffer did simply not have the funds to pay for the more expensive grafted vines.”
The 2008er Ürziger Würzgarten Spätlese solely comes from the Weltersberg sector. This wine is made in a fruity style but with only 45 g/l of residual sugar (most Spätlese from 2008 have around 60-80 g/l of residual sugar). As Enno explained, “After 1971, the region cranked up the levels of residual sugar. 45 g/l were low for the period, but I have gone down from that since it does not provide the classic balance from before 1971.”
This wine epitomizes everything great and appealing about 2008. It oozes racy freshness, is light on its feet, yet also has a good inner ripeness (thanks to the vintage's rather hot spring and early summer).
The only real issue with the wines of Enno Lippold is that these are not widely distributed, to say the least, an unfortunate consequence of the tiny production. Only a few hand-picked restaurants in the US and, lately, in Italy, carry his wines.
We hope to have enticed you to have a look in your area or nag your importer or favorite sommelier to reference some of these fascinating wines.
The full 2008 Riesling retrospective with over 130 wines revisited can be found in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 40 (Apr 2018). You are a subscriber and miss this Issue? Simply send us a request by email and we will be happy to send you a copy. You are not yet a subscriber and wish to get this Issue? Subscribe free of charge by registering yourself here below and ask us for a copy by email.
Ürziger Würzgarten Spätlese Alte Reben
The 2008er Ürziger Würzgarten Spätlese Alte Reben is made from 55 year-old vines in the Gewann Weltersberg, a prime sector situated in the upper part of the Würzgarten, downriver from Ürzig. The wine offers a most delicate and flowery nose of vineyard peach, rose petal, orange blossom, lime and balm. The wine is beautifully playful even if still aromatically restrained on the palate. But its delicacy and refinement are already quite breathtaking. The finish is pure and airy as well as zesty and dynamic, courtesy of a gorgeously juicy and perfectly integrated acidity. Despite approx. 40 g/l of residual sugar, the finish comes over as beautifully off-dry rather than fully fruity-styled. This may appear light or zesty at first, but make no mistake, this little jewel only needs time in the glass to blossom. This is a great zesty, light yet layered Spätlese which will prove quite irresistible at maturity, in something like 5 years’ time. 2023-2038
© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.