Some stunning dry-tasting wines were made in 2014, with “smaller” wines often outshining their rank, including this gorgeous Estate Wine!
The Mosel Vintage 2014 proved a remarkably contrasted vintage with true strokes of genius right next to the ordinary (to remain polite). Never have we experienced such a huge diversity in quality and style as in 2014.
However, at the top the vintage delivers some true gems, among the finest since the 1990s. If one got rid of the rot, one was left with stunning clean ripe and zesty grapes with moderate sugar levels ideal for elegant dry or dry-tasting wines.
In particular, smaller wines often outshine their rank and offer superb value. The 2014er Schiefer Riesling by Weingut Van Volxem is a perfect example for this.
When Roman Niewodniczanski took over this historic Weingut Van Volxem in 2000, he had one big vision: Bring the Saar wine back to its glorious days from around the turn to the 20th century, when Riesling was more highly prized (and priced) than Claret and Burgundy.
For this, he purposefully returned to traditional winemaking based on ambient yeasts, fermentation in casks, and letting fermentations run through until they stop naturally. As this may or may not land the finished wine within the legal limits for Trocken, none of his dry wines carry the word Trocken on the label.
He also set on a road to revive some of the great Saar terroirs which were on the brink of being abandoned. Over the past 15 years, he has been the spearhead of the vineyard revival in the Mosel region, bringing back to life or rescuing whole stretches of the Saar. As a result, the Estate has grown to become one of the largest in the region, with over 65 ha of vineyards ... not including the Ockfener Geisberg revived earlier this year together with Markus Molitor!
Despite this huge increase in size, the quality level of the Estate’s wines has remained very high, with many of its wines regularly being among the best of the region (no less than three of its wines made it onto our list of Riesling highlights of the 2014 vintage).
One person more than any other has been at the heart of this achievement, as Roman regularly points out as well: Dominik Völk, the Estate manager since 2004. How he manages to coordinate all the expansions, replanting, etc. while overseeing the on-going vintages is simply awe-inspiring. However, the rather shy and reserved Dominik will never acknowledge it: Ask him how he does it all and all you will only earn is a big smile.
In 2014, Dominik and his teams crafted some stunning “Grand Cru” wines (see Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 29 - Oct 2015 for a detailed review). However, one wine particularly caught our attention: The “basic” Schiefer Riesling. Far from being “basic”, this wine completely transcends the usual standards of “Estate Riesling.”
The Schiefer Riesling is the entry-level bottling at the Weingut Van Volxem. It relies for part on fruit purchased from different local growers tending sometimes stunning vineyards with old vines. When talking about the incredible quality of the 2014 Schiefer Riesling to Roman and Dominik, they believe that part of the success lies in the quality of the fruit they regularly sourced from a local grower in the prime steep-hill and south-facing part of the Serriger Antoniusberg (here below a picture from the Van Volxem team during the harvest 2015).
The 2014er Schiefer Riesling offers stunning complexity and finesse which gives it real elegance. What is also quite remarkable is that this wine is made in quite significant quantities (there is 100,000-150,000 bottles produced of the Schiefer Riesling every year!) and offers great value.
We can only highly recommend to try out this wine or, even better, lay down some in the cellar for enjoyment at maturity.
A review of the 2014 Van Volxem wines can be found in Part II of the 2014 Vintage Report published in Issue No 29 (Oct 2015). 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.
The Schiefer Riesling is made from younger vines from Estate holdings as well as from fruit sourced from local wine growers under long-term contract. This little beauty starts off with some non-saying herbs, spices and some primary lactic elements on the nose but don’t get fooled: There is a little beauty in the making here as we followed this wine at different staging of airing. The wine is already nicely expressive on the palate, with zesty acidity providing a nice focus to the grapefruit and herb infused slate but there is still quite a tart side in need of integration. We know that this is supposed to be the simple wine from the Estate but forget that, this is a real Grand Vin which will develop with aging. With extensive airing, the finish gains in length and focus and some acidity and surprising playful complexity for the wine. This is a huge success! 2016-2024
© 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.