ja bitte.


Germany is the spiritual and actual home of some of the greatest white wines on earth.  I am, of course, referring to riesling.  Loved by wine tragics the world over and misunderstood by the general public, these are incredibly beautiful, diverse, powerful, wonderful wines that speak of their sites, their makers, and above all else, their rieslingicity.

Saline, mineral, fine, tightly acidic and desperately beautiful.  These are eleven wildly different wines from the dramatically steep and sometimes volcanic soils of the Rheingau, Nahe and Mosel regions in Germany.

These wines were kindly shown to me by a friend and owner of C + H Fine Wine Merchants, Fabian Haegele – the importer of these wines into Australia.  You can follow Fabian and C+H Fine Wine via his Instagram.

Markus Molitor Riesling Tradition, Mosel 2017

Furthest north, lightest.

Traditionalist, very fine nose, floral, lifted, slatey.  2018: very hot year – the media loves this year and says it’s one of the best.  No disease. Chalky and floral – acidity is cooling.  Fine.  A lovely wine. Soft and layered.  Hands off minimal intervention.  No enzymes or nutrients added, large format neutral oak, cellar cut into the side of the mountain.  The winters are so cold that often the ferments stop over winter, he doesn’t panic, he leaves it over winter and they start again in Spring.  The wines are left to express themselves, as they are.  50th parallel – further north than Champagne. Molitor practices organic farming but is not certified: an expanded note on organics in Mosel at the end of the article.*


Markus Molitor ‘Zeltlinger Sonnenuhr’ Kabinett, ‘Fuder 6’, Mosel 2017

10.5% alc, dry.

Feather light, clear vineyard DNA here – a washed rind, cheese cloth sort of vibe, brine and chalky.  Crushed limestone?  White sand.  Straight focus and line – this has lightness and finesse but it also has drive and length.  Grey Devonian slate and bit of clay, smaller vineyard, only Jos Joh Prum and him.65/75% gradient.  100+ years vines.  Phylloxera doesn’t like slate.  Individually staked vines.  Everything done by hand.


Markus Molitor ‘Wehlener Sonnenuhr’ Spatlese, Mosel 2018

Much more green apple, citrus… the acidity is bright and plunges deep into the palate… spicy and line… white pepper. I actually love this.  It marries crystalline purity and ripe fruit, tied together by spice and acidity.  It is Light but concentrated.  Exotic fruits.  Weathered slate much bigger vineyard, 3 times the size, plenty of growers in here. 50-80% gradient flattens out at the top has a steep middle.


Markus Molitor ‘Zeltlinger Sonnenuhr’ Auslese, Mosel 2017

Rich and full – we re talking familiar ground here.  Viscose mouthfeel, glossy, dense fruit weight but then a chalky finish too.  It brings it all together.  There is structure and spice on the palate that belie the fineness of the fruit characters…. And the length of this is astounding.


Markus Molitor Pinot Noir Haus Klosterberg, Mosel 2016

Entry level multi vineyard pinot.  Still has the green herbal note and taught acidity that I noticed the first time, but the fruit is more plush and open.  Structured and spicy without the lush fruit weight.  Much more open than when I saw it last time. Open for 3 weeks under argon.


Spreitzer Wisselbrunnen GG, Rheingau 2018

VDP Grosse Lage

1200L barrels, 60-100 years old

Christ – this has concentration for days – mineral structure, chalkiness and finesse.  Yes yes yes.  Unbelievable wine of concentration, power and line.  Full and yet absolutely laced up and regal.

Calcareous loam soil.


Spreitzer St Nikolaus GG, Rheingau 2017

VDP Grosse Lage

This stays on lees for longer, and the lees is evident.  The wine is weighty… full… there is a fleshy weight about it… clean – autolysis characters.  Impressive.  The lees aren’t stirred into the wines here, they are left undisturbed.


Spreitzer Lenchen Spatlese ‘303’, Rheingau 2017

Ultra-concentrated, fruit weight is intense.  Mindblowing.  Homage to a wine the great grandfather made in the 20’s.  The acid just wipes the sugar off the palate.  Lusciously sweet and incredibly intense but the finish is clean and tight and great.  This is taught and lean but luscious and luxurious.  I love this.  Love it.

7% alc. Likely over 100g/RS


Spreitzer Muschelkalk Trocken, Rheingau 2017

Warmer.  Small part of the Rhein that makes the s-bend.  Where its facing dead south, north bank south facing.  Highest concentration of riesling planted in the world.  Of all the land under vine in the Rheingau, 90% is planted to riesling.

Yellow stone fruit and white too, this is fuller bodied and more intense than the previous wines… actually not more intense… just more.  Opulent.  100% carbon neutral sustainably farmed family estate since 1641.

Intriguing complex interesting wines – a very open wine.

Weingut Hees Halenberg Riesling Trocken 2017

Zum Jager Aus Kurpfalz

Searing acidity – austere.  Clean and tight.  Tightened yields, dropped the chemical inputs, access to good vineyards. Acidity is needling.  Almost hard.  Essentially a GG, one of the best vineyards.


Schafer-Frolich Riesling Felseneck GG, Nahe 2017

Leesy and tight on the nose – savoury white spice, volcanic soils, minerality and slate, acidity that sinks this wine deep into the palate.  Concentrated and tight – this punches through walls of flavour and spice…. Curry leaf – white pepper… brine.  Burgundian in style – full and intense…. Jeez.


Schafer-Frohlich Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2017

Nahe – further south – between Rheingau and Mosel.  Diverse soils in the Nahe that’s what makes the region so fascinating.  Volcanic and slate.

The acidity is crazy here – I love it.  Searing.  Laser.  The fruit is plush and full, succulent.  Winemaker is a real character, doesn’t like talking to people.  In a remote side valley of the Nahe region.  Impressive portfolio of grand cru sites.  Monopole over the 98 pt James Suckling wine (Schafer-Frolich 2017 Felsenneck GG).  Modern and avant garde producer.  Crystalline. Salty. Citrus.  White flower.  Sophisticated. Toys with reduction – flint, graphite, matchstick.  Pop-rock type acidity.


Diel Goldloch Riesling Trocken GG, Nahe 2018

Winemaker Caroline Diel worked at Ruinart, DRC, Pichon Baron.  Gets her pinot barrels second-hand from DRC.  Vineyard is on a 65% gradient and is composed of different soiltypes.  Sandstone, ironstone, rocky. Opposite end of Nahe to Schafer-Frolich.

Precision, finesse, polish, beautiful.  Elegant.  Fine.  Gorgeous.  Floral.  Pretty – bathsalts.  Mineral, crystalline…. Unbelievable wine.  Acidity! Her hand is evident in the wines


Diel Goldloch Riesling Kabinett, Nahe 2017

Very early pick, 9%, sophisticated.  Elegant and pretty on the nose, powder fine chalkiness, mineral and fine.  Beautiful and yet rich.  It is incredibly cleansing and purifying somehow…


*Certification in the Mosel is very difficult to achieve because many vineyard holdings particularly in the best sites are very small and highly fragmented after having been passed down from generation to generation and split up time and time again in the process. Unlike in Burgundy many vineyards get sprayed by helicopter these days because they are so steep, so keeping your vineyard free from other growers’ spray residue can be difficult, which keeps quite a growers from going through the certification process.