2018 yielded much dry Riesling which is broad and powerful. Not so at Schloss Lieser, as its Wehlener Sonnenuhr GG superbly underlines.
2018 is a ripe and consumer-friendly vintage characterized by fruit and mild acidity. For lovers of racy Mosel, is there therefore little to cheer? Not really, as we explain in Part I of our 2018 vintage report: A few growers completely defied the ripe DNA of the vintage and produced some truly stunningly fresh and racy wines.
One such Estate was Schloss Lieser. It crafted some stunning dry Riesling, among which a stunning Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling GG.
Weingut Schloss Lieser is one of the old traditional names in the Mosel. This founding member of the VDP Mosel has roots going back to the aftermaths of the secularization around 1800. It belonged to the von Schorlemer family for much of the 20th century before it slowly went into decline. In 1992, young Thomas Haag, son of Wilhelm Haag of Weingut Fritz Haag fame, took over the remaining parts of the historic Estate. Together with his wife Ute, Thomas rapidly brought it back to the forefront of Mosel Riesling excellence. He rejoined the VDP Mosel in 1997.
Today, the Estate extends over 25 ha with holdings in no less than eight of the region's most highly regarded vineyards: Lieserer Niederberg Helden, Graacher Himmelreich, Graacher Domprobst, Bernkasteler Doktor, Brauneberger Juffer, Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, and Piesporter Goldtröpfchen.
Dry Riesling had always been an important part of the Estate, as Thomas explained: “We have been producing dry Riesling right since I started in 1992. Over the years, we haven’t changed much. The proportion of dry wines has increased a little bit, following the addition of new vineyards. We have certainly also refined our selections for these wines. But we have kept our basic approach as we want to produce elegant wines. We don’t rely on any pre-fermentation cold soak and aged the wines in stainless steel.”
These dry Riesling regularly make in onto our lists of vintage highlights, lately in the 2017 vintage. Over the years, we have highlighted a fair share of these dry Riesling crafted by the Estate, including the 2015er Lieserer Niederberg Helden Riesling GG and the 2009er Lieserer Niederberg Helden Riesling GG.
In 2015, the Haags was able to add a small parcel of vineyard in the Wehlener Sonnenuhr (one needs to remember that his wife Ute comes from Wehlen, which no doubt helped in getting the right contacts and tip-off: The battles for each plot in that prized vineyard are said to be fiercely fought!). they have been able to increase this to a full 1.0 ha since.
In 2018, Thomas produced a superb dry Riesling from these holdings: “We did a pre-harvest for Kabinett and left the grapes near the stem of the vine to ripen further. At the end of September, i.e. at the middle of the harvest, we brought these grapes in for our GG bottlings. These were then fermented spontaneously and the resulting wine was aged on its fine lees until July. We made sure that the wines fermented down to really bone-dry levels to avoid that they taste slightly sweet. This was important in the round and ripe 2018 vintage.”
The resulting wine is simply stunning. Many dry Rieslings in 2018 are on the hot, ripe and somewhat astringent side. Not so at Schloss Lieser: Its Wehlener Sonnenuhr GG has the airiness from light vintages and the refined softness of ripe ones. The wine simply seems to dance on the palate
As we mentioned, the Estate produced a simply mind-boggling set of GG bottlings in 2018. Should the Wehlener Sonnenuhr GG not be available in your neck of the world, maybe one of the Estate's other GGs is. They are all on the list of “no-brainer-buying” recommendations.
The stunning set of 2018 GGs by Weingut Schloss Lieser
was reviewed in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 48 (October 2019).
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Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling GG
The 2018er Sonnenuhr Riesling GG, as it is referred to on the consumer label, is a bone-dry wine (with less than 3 g/l of residual sugar). It comes over as steely and reductive at this early stage and only gradually reveals some deep and complex scents of smoked bacon, dried white flowers, spices and minty herbs. The wine starts off on the light and mineral side on the pure and zesty palate. It then develops great presence and a superbly zesty and smoky side, which carries over right into the immensely long, beautifully tart and superbly mouth-watering finish. The length is stunning and the after-taste, while powerful and assertive, shines through its aromatic precision and focus. This is a stunningly elegant expression of dry Mosel Riesling in the making. 2025-2038
© 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.