Salivary gland-massaging, palate-awakening, and mind-expanding Riesling.

Posted by CrushWine

Two is Better than One
2009 Willi Schaefer Domprobst Spätlesen

Details matter and today we zero in on the bottom edge of what has to be one of the best labels in all of Germany.

On the Willi Schaefer label, this is where the AP number lives, the equivalent of wine's social security number.

Willi and his son Christoph Schaefer are, unequivocally, old-school Moselaners and as such, they bottle numerous wines from the same vineyard and they don't seem to care much that the only way to tell them apart is a eleven-digit code printed in a miniscule font at the bottom of the label. (See below - it's the number above the phrase, "contains sulphites." Note this is just an example AP number, not the one from the wines on offer today.)

This all comes from a time long before snazzy marketing and in-your-face labeling. The simple fact is that different grapes, different barrels, even when they are from the same vineyard, sometimes produce markedly different wines.

And when this happens, well, the Schaefers bottle them separately so we can all enjoy the profound nuances of German Riesling and they tell us by using different AP numbers.

Today, it's with great pleasure and a bit of divine providence that we're able to offer out a FINAL tranche of two of Schaefer's magnificent 2009 Spätlesen from the Domprobst vineyard - the Spätlese #5 and the Spätlese #10.

As a quick reminder, the 2009 Schaefer's are great (click here for a little reminder). This is an absolutely spectacular vintage for Schaefer; compact and stuffed mid-palates that remain ultra-lively due to the crisp acids. At Schaefer, this vintage has everything.

The wines of Willi and Christoph Schaefer have a quiet, calm perfection, an ease and a grace that few other wines, anywhere, have. It's as if everything truly great, was also very easy and cosmically benevolent. They are angelic, wispy and pure even as they riddle the palate with incredible complexity.

In the Graacher Domprobst, looking down onto the sleepy town of Graach and the Mosel River beyond it.

Both wines - the #5 and the #10 - come from the Nicolaslay, one of their top parcels just behind the village of Graach. The rather stoic David Schildknecht always becomes something of a poet when writing about Schaefer's wines.

There are more hyphenated adjectives below than even we could come up with. Read these reviews! Seriously, they are mighty entertaining and, of course, spot on.

These are Spätlesen treasures of 2009 and this is a surprise final call, even if it is just a few cases. Quantities, as always with the Schaefers, are painfully limited. Give us your maximum order and we'll do our best.

To order, email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Stephen Bitterolf
Wine Director
Crush Wine & Spirits

Domprobst Spätlese #5

David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate: "Black tea smokiness, brown spice pungency, and grapefruit and orange citricity in the nose of the Schaefer 2009 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese A.P. #5 migrate to a palate no less juicy or saturatingly mineral than that of the corresponding A.P. #10. Here is a delicacy, refinement of texture, and shimmering interplay of elements such as no other grape and place on earth can deliver save for Mosel Riesling. I happened to taste this wine with the meticulous German wine writer and unsurpassed trove of Mosel lore Joachim Krieger, who discoursed on the fossil-rich slate prominent in the parcel that informed this beauty. I was for my part thinking of sea creatures some millions of years younger, as subtly sweet salinity of raw scallop and iodine-like bittersweetness of shrimp shell added further allure and intrigue to what is already by any standards a “minerally,” salivary gland-massaging, palate-awakening, and mind-expanding Riesling. Don’t miss savoring this repeatedly over the next 25-30 years (or whatever share of them you anticipate being around)! This, the Schaefers point out, could easily have been their 2009 Grosses Gewachs, had nature not intervened to wind-down the fermentation."

Domprobst Spätlese #10

David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate: "The Schaefer 2009 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese A.P. #10 practically drenches your senses in ripe citrus, apple sap, and nut oils. A tart fruit skin edge and pungent notes of brown spices combine with salt and stone-licking impressions for a finish of irresistible saliva- and smile-inducement. Perfectly-integrated sweetness renders the fruit here all the more vivid, and I would anticipate 25 years of satisfaction."