Riesling Sparkles at 22 Years: 1990 Lauer Sekt Reserve

Posted by Joe Salamone

Riesling Sparkles at 22 Years
1990 Lauer Riesling Sekt Reserve
Direct from the Winery, Recently Disgorged

Florian Lauer has fairly quickly become something of a super-star in the U.S. - as we've heard people say, "Lauer has gone cult."

Today, we offer an oddity, a treasure from Florian's cellar.

A 22-year-old sparkling Riesling that's been perfectly stored in Lauer's cellar and disgorged last October.

There's no way around the fact that this is one of our most unusual German offerings. However, the more important point is that it's also one of the most compelling and fascinating.

We recently opened a bottle at Crush for the staff. It's been some time since I've seen such unanimous excitement over a wine. Ian recently took a bottle to a wine-insider's party with any number of NYC somms in attendance and the wine was one of the hits of the night.

Lauer is a small, family estate in the Saar. As you can imagine, the cellar is not large - VERY FEW cases came into the U.S. and we've bought every single bottle we could.

Today, the few bottles we have go out at $65.95, a price that is closer to most NV Champagnes than it is to the top vintage bottlings, to say nothing of 22-year-old vintage Champagnes with PERFECT provenance. This is a steal.

Trying to get a handle on adequate descriptors is not easy. The wine is insanely complicated, contradictory and unique. Nevertheless, here goes...

The Saar has long been a specialist in making sparkling wine, known around here as Sekt. The region's finessed acidity makes it ideal for sparkling wine. Of course, this being Lauer, it's not shy on the acid front.

The style at Lauer is undeniable, these wines have a signature. This is Riesling in its brightest, most transparent form. This is Riesling as nimble, finessed, filigreed. This certainly stretches into his sparkling wine.

What's most striking is the juxtaposition of deep mature flavors with a startling freshness. The wine is equal parts sleek, vibrant acid, minerals and flower and rich, dark, gently oxidative flavors packed full of nuances.

The trajectory of this winery has been nothing short of astounding. Although David Schildknecht has to be given credit for "discovering" this estate in the 80s, Schildknecht was maybe ahead of his time - it wasn't until the estate was reintroduced to the U.S. in 2009 that things went crazy.

And this is not just a U.S. phenomenon - Lauer's reputation in Germany has also skyrocketed and although Florian told us as early as March that his application to the VDP (THE elite growers association in Germany) was accepted, the official decision has only recently been made. Lauer will be VDP as of the 2012 vintage. This is big.

The simple fact is that the Lauers are one of the most sensitive and thoughtful winemaking families in Germany. Being able to offer a bottle as rare, well-stored and compelling as Lauer's 1990 Sekt Reserve is a treat.

To order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits