World-renowned for its fruity and sweet wines, Weingut Fritz Haag also nailed the 2015 vintage with its dry Riesling, above all with a magical Juffer GG. Here is the story.
Few vintages have been as hyped as 2015 and there is some truth in it. 2015 yielded some stunning wines, and this in all stylistic directions.
But not everything that shines is gold. At its heart, 2015 is a ripe vintage, pepped up by glorious zest, with many wines on the powerful side. Only the very best wines will turn into classics in a decade or two.
The historic Weingut Fritz Haag produced one of its best collections ever in 2015, with not only a grandiose set of sweet wines, but also some stunning dry wines, including a magical Brauneberger Juffer GG.
As one of “the” grand Estates of the Mosel, one may have anticipated that the Weingut Fritz Haag would do outstandingly well in 2015. And it did. It produced some of the finest fruity and sweet wines of the vintage, including an auction TBA which is pure wine perfection. 2015 is clearly the best vintage at this Estate since Oliver took of over in 2005. However, 2015 proved also a milestone for Oliver Haag regarding his dry wines, as he crafted two of finest dry Riesling in this vintage.
Dry Riesling has been a subject close to Oliver’s heart: “Right from the start, I spent time thinking about what my grand dry Riesling should convey. I want them to be intense and pure and therefore I usually harvest them from ripe but completely clean material in the second half of my harvest. But I also want that they underline different aspects of the Brauneberger Hill. The Juffer GG should bring forward the lightness and elegance of the hill while the Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr GG should underline the fiery and more powerful side of its central part. As a result, the Juffer GG is usually harvested a touch earlier and is also partially fermented in stainless steel.”
But above all, he is adamant that his dry Riesling should not be over-powering: “Weingut Fritz Haag stands for drinking pleasure. My wines should retain a certain playfulness. Therefore, I reduced the level of pre-fermentation maceration in my dry Riesling over the years and do not target abnormally low yields. The wines should make one want to drink more than one glass!”
This approach has been bearing fruit as we have noticed a continuous refinement and depth of the dry wines at Fritz Haag over the years. This has (so far) culminated in some stunning dry Riesling in 2015!
In 2015, Oliver Haag believes that nature delivered him with near-perfect conditions to realize his dry Riesling ideal: “Provided one did a proper pre-harvest, the harvest conditions proved almost ideal in 2015 as the grapes remained clean and not too ripe throughout the harvest. I waited for the middle of October to bring in the bulk of the fruit for my Juffer GG. Because the fruit remained so clean, I also added a batch from the very end of the harvest. The resulting wine was then fermented with ambient yeasts in a mix of stainless steel and traditional wooden casks.”
What is remarkable about the 2015er Brauneberger Juffer GG by Fritz Haag is that, at its core, the wine is all about elegance and finesse. However, this core is enhanced by some fiery spices and great depth. Oliver believes that this could also come from the terroir: “My Juffer GG usually comes from the slightly fresher part of the Juffer vineyard situated in the middle of the Brauneberger hill, above the Juffer-Sonnenuhr. In 2015, it also includes some fruit from the two ends of the hills, i.e. the Hasenläufer sector, whose deeper soil adds depth, and the sector near the bridge, whose light and warm soil often brings a fiery side.”
The result is simply stunning. Overall, the Estate hit the bull’s eye with its dry wines in 2015. Also its Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr GG and its “lesser” Brauneberger Trocken J prove both huge successes this year. Moreover, the wines are still more than reasonably priced.
If you have not done so yet, we would encourage you to give these dry wines a try. However, you will need to keep in mind that, unlike fruity wines, dry Mosel Riesling does usually not have an immediate primary fruit phase but need some time to shed its tannins and let the acidity and aromatics integrate. So a little bit of patience is needed or, if not possible, do not hesitate to open these dry Riesling well in advance (even days in advance is no issue, on the contrary!).
Then these dry Riesling can offer some of the most fascinating dry white wine experiences in the world, as our numerous tastings have shown!
The stunning 2015 collection by Fritz Haag was reviewed in Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 32 (Oct 2016). 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.
Brauneberger Juffer Riesling GG
This proves utterly captivating as smoky scents of baked pineapple, almond and candied citrus, all infused in residual notes from spontaneous fermentation, emerge from the glass. These lead to a refined and playful feel on the palate. While there is quite some structure and grip coming through, the overall balance remains gorgeously refined. The superbly long finish proves firmly dry, spicy and utterly pure. This is easily the most complete dry Riesling we have tasted from the Fritz Haag Estate so far: What an utterly great dry Riesling in the making! 2018-2030
© 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.