2011 delivered some remarkable noble-sweet wines. Few prove as mesmerizing as this Auslese GK (Auction) made by Le Gallais / Egon Müller.
The Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 56 (April 2021) features a comprehensive retrospective of the 2011 vintage including for fruity and sweet Riesling.
The roundness and richness of 2011 may have yielded little real Kabinett and Spätlese, it did however reward wine lovers with some truly stunning noble-sweet wines such as the amazing 2011er Wiltinger Braune Kupp Auslese GK by Le Gallais / Egon Müller.
Every Riesling lover immediately associate the names Egon Müller and Scharzhof with luscious and magnificent wines from the mythical Scharzhofberger hill. But Egon Müller also includes the holdings of the Le Gallais Estate.
Edmund Le Gallais was an enterprising engineer from Jersey who came to Luxembourg, one of the hotspots of coal and steel in Europe at the time, to work on the building of the railways. He married into the Metz family, one of the prominent local industrialist families ... which owned a small but fine winemaking Estate in the Saar composed primarily of some holdings in what forms the Wiltinger Kupp and braune Kupp today.
The Le Gallais-Metz couple was wealthy and lived for many years in one of the most iconic stately homes in Luxembourg (built by the Boch family from Villeroy & Boch). The wines were fermented and aged at the Estate's facilities in Kanzem.
The Le Gallais wines regularly achieved high prices at the annual Auctions. Unsurprisingly, the family was to become a founding member of the Grosser Ring. Its heirs were to tend the Estate until the 1950s, when it was partly sold and partly leased out to Egon Müller.
We relate this story to underline the quality of the Le Gallais Estate in its own right as it, all too often, lives a life in the shade of the majestic Scharzhofberger bottlings synonymous with Egon Müller.
Over the years, the wines from these holdings have been magnificent and among the finest in their style. Lately, 2019 proved a particularly successful vintage here.
The center piece of the Le Gallais Estate has always been its holding in the Wiltinger braune Kupp. In 1992, Egon Müller managed to buy the other half of the Wiltinger braune Kupp vineyard from the Vereinigte Hospitien: This gave him the monopole over this prime 4-ha site.
The Wiltinger braune Kupp oversees the Saar and faces full south. It is iron-rich on a well-drained soil and yields always quite aromatic but also subtly floral wines.
2011 proved a remarkable vintage at Egon Müller overall. The sugar levels were high but the grapes perfect and the good harvest weather allowed to make quite some selections. However, as Egon Müller explained to us back then (see Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 20 – October 2012), “it was not a vintage with much botrytis so we did not produce much Auslese.” This also applied to the fruit from the Wiltinger braune Kupp. Here, the Estate used the botrytized grapes to produce an auction lot of Auslese GK which “could have technically been a TBA,” in Egon Müller’s words.
Of course, this wine was not cheap. But, as we underlined at the time of its release, it offered the unique opportunity to acquire TBA material from the mythical Egon Müller Estate at still not stratospherically high prices.
We followed our own advise and opened one of our bottles acquired at the 2012 Trier Auction for our 2011 retrospective. The smile on our face was immediate. The wine fully delivers now and woes one with complex flavors of dried fruits blended into some fresher ethereal and flowery elements. Its balance is breathtaking, its finish to die for.
We realize that praising this particular wine will not be of immediate use to most of our readers. However, it may entice you to keep an eye on the brilliant Wiltinger Braune Kupp bottlings at Egon Müller and, if the occasion is right, maybe indulge into the odd bottle.
The full retrospective on 2011 fruity-sweet Riesling
was published in the upcoming Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 56 (April 2021).
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Wiltinger braune Kupp Riesling Auslese GK (Auction)
The 2011er Wiltinger Braune Kupp Riesling Auslese GK, an auction lot made from fruit harvested at well over 150° Oechsle, proves already golden-colored and offers a most amazingly subtle and refined nose made of candied tangerine, baked pineapple, almond paste, citrusy elements, bergamot, earthy spices, and herbs. The wine is beautifully balanced on the palate where more fresh and dried fruits are wrapped into a most amazing combination of oiliness and zest. The finish is sweet, complex, fruity, racy, and seemingly never ending. This is a little masterpiece! Now-2061
© 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.