2010 Willi Schaefer Futures: Attention to Detail

Posted by CrushWine

2010 Willi Schaefer: Attention to Detail
Kabinett to Spätlesen to Auslesen

"Overall, this is a fine, fine group of 2010ers that will make the fans of this estate very happy indeed."
- John Gilman, View from the Cellar

The more I drink Schaefer Rieslings, the more I realize, on a very deep level, how simply profound these wines are. NOBODY does detail or fine-ness with a more ethereal, uncomplicated grace.

Of course, the issue is that even in the most generous of years, there's only so much wine that 4 little hectares can make. In a vintage like 2010, the wines become even more painfully limited: Schaefer's production was down by 50%.

Frustrations with securing these limited wines aside, there are certainly advantages to having an estate of the jewel-box size of Schaefer, particularly in a complicated vintage like 2010. The small size of the estate means they can be present and focused on all the details, and it shows in the rigor of these wines.

In tricky vintages, this attention to detail shines through with even more brilliance. (Remember Schaefer's 2006s?) This really is one of the world's great artisan estates.

Tricky may be one of the best descriptors of the 2010 vintage. "Difficult" doesn't quite capture the potential for the vintage to yield truly profound wines (which, in many instances, it did). I keep quoting Terry Theise: "What's good is absurdly good, and there are enough of them. What's not good is a mess." The John Gilman quote above makes clear that Schaefer's 2010 collection falls squarely in the "absurdly good" camp. (See below for Gilman's tasting notes for the wines.)

I will tell you, however, that part of Schaefer's success with these 2010ers lies in the house's ability and willingness to play the cards dealt. Even if the general market preference currently tends towards drier wines, this is largely a vintage for the higher-Prädikat wines, and that's exactly what one gets at Willi Schaefer.

As Gilman points out, "there will be very, very little dry wine in 2010, but a spectacular array of upper Prädikat wines."

Schaefer's 2010ers are deep, full, filigreed wines even as they pack considerable zest, awesome purity, and the grip, grace and detail to keep things fascinating. Our offer today includes Kabinett and Spätlese (in addition to Auslese), but keep in mind these run with higher ripeness levels than you might normally expect.

As to the question of longevity, I'll say that while it's difficult to predict how any vintage will age, this is particularly the case for the unprecedented 2010 vintage. That said, the combination of ripeness, massive dry extracts and muscular acidities that the best 2010ers flaunt bodes well for the cellar.

When I attended a wide-ranging tasting of Schaefer's wines with John Gilman and others almost a year ago, I was blown away by how young everything tasted, even Kabinetts at 13 years old, even in the "just good not quite great" vintages. If you're looking for wines of delicacy and elegance that you can forget about in your cellar for ages, Schaefer offers some of the most compelling and well-priced options available.

Please give us your maximum order and we'll do our best - please understand however that quantities are extremely limited. To order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Stephen Bitterolf
Wine Director
Crush Wine & Spirits

2010 Willi Schaefer

Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett
Special Email Bottle Price: $25.95
John Gilman: 
There will only be this single Kabinett from the Himmelreich in 2010 and it is cut in a quite lovely and classic style. The vibrant bouquet offers up scents of orange, lime zest, beautiful slate minerality, citrus blossoms and a touch of wild yeasts in the upper register. On the palate the wine is medium-full, bright and pure, with lovely nascent complexity, very nice balance and a long, bouncy and elegant finish. This will drink very, very well right out of the blocks.

Graacher Domprobst Kabinett
Special Email Bottle Price: $25.95
John Gilman: 
There is only this one bottling of Kabinett from the Domprobst this year at the estate as well, as the strength of the vintage lies in the upper Prädikat wines in 2010. But it is really a very fine Domprobst Kabinett, as it delivers a deeper, complex aromatic mélange of green apple, pear, slate, a touch of petrol, orange zest and spring flowers. On the palate the wine is deep, medium-full and nicely filigreed, with a lovely core of fruit, bright acids and very good length and grip on the complex and zesty finish. Lovely juice.

Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spätlese
Special Email Bottle Price: $34.95
John Gilman: 
As has been the case in most recent vintages at Weingut Schaefer, the family’s tiny holdings in the Sonnenuhr have only produced a single wine this year, but what a lovely bottle of Spätlese it will be. The nose is deep and really lovely, as it offers up a complex blend of pear, apple, a touch of vanilla custard, beautiful slate tones, orange zest and a pungent topnote of apple blossoms. On the palate the wine is medium-full, elegant and filigreed, with fine focus, lovely mid-palate depth, ripe acids and impressive length and grip on the dancing finish. A beautiful bottle of Spätlese that will drink well with only a couple of years of cellaring.

Graacher Himmelreich Spätlese
Special Email Bottle Price: $34.95
John Gilman: 
The 2010 Himmelreich Spätlese is a lovely bottle in the making and a wine that seems decidedly more snappy than its Kabinett counterpart. The bouquet is deep, young and vibrant, as it jumps from the glass in a superb mix of green apple, tangerine, slate, petrol and lime zest. On the palate the wine is medium-full, crisp and very pure, with great focus and balance, zesty acidity and very, very good length and grip on the dancing finish. A beautiful and quite classic expression of the Himmelreich.

Graacher Domprobst Spätlese
Special Email Bottle Price: $44.95
John Gilman: 
There are only two Spätlesen from the Domprobst in 2010, one of which will be offered up at the auctions in Trier in September. The AP # 5 is the “regular” Domprobst Spätlese this year and it is a beauty. The bouquet is deep, complex and quite marked by its wild yeasts in its mélange of green apples, petrol, a bit of honeycomb, a great base of slate, orange zest and a distinctly smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish and nicely reserved, with a great core of pure fruit, superb soil inflection, bright acids and excellent grip on the very long finish. A classic in the making.

Graacher Himmelreich Auslese
Special Email Bottle Price: $83.95
John Gilman: 
The sole Auslese from the Himmelreich this year from Christophe Schaefer is absolutely stunning. The bouquet is deep, pure and stunningly crystalline in its expression of minerality, as it soars from the glass in a blaze of lime, orange, wonderfully complex, crystalline minerality, citrus blossoms and a lovely topnote of lime zest. On the palate the wine is medium-full and absolutely dancing, with a fine core of fruit, great intensity of flavor, stunning transparency and delicacy and great cut and grip on the racy and very, very long finish. A laser beam of an Auslese, this is a stunning example of the vintage.

Graacher Domprobst Auslese #1
Special Email Bottle Price: $69.95
John Gilman: 
This is one of three Auslesen from the Domprobst this year, with all three exceptional and showing decidedly different personalities. It will be hard to choose a favorite amongst them. The AP #1 Auslese is a beautifully glazed, elegantly botrytized bottle that offers up a fine bouquet of sweet apple, orange, a touch of yellow plum, lovely minerality, honeycomb and lime blossoms. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish and very pure and minerally, with a lovely spine of acidity, excellent focus and impressive length and grip on the perfectly balanced finish. A lovely wine.

Graacher Domprobst Auslese #10
Special Email Bottle Price: $92.95
John Gilman: 
The AP #10 Auslese from the Domprobst is unequivocally not a weak link in the Schaefer lineup this year, as this too is a brilliant wine in the making. The deep and beautifully glazed nose offers up a complex mélange of oranges, white peach, a beautiful base of slate, honey, lemon blossoms and citrus zest in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish and nicely reserved, with a beautiful expression of soil, a rock solid core of fruit, great, snappy acids and brilliant focus on the stunningly long, pure and dancing finish. Another great bottle in the making.