The "Forgotten" Schloss Lieser

Posted by CrushWine

Juicy, Juicy, Juicy, Juicy, Juicy, Juicy Juice!
2008 Schloss Lieser
Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Spätlese
Serious, Mouth-Watering Fun in a Bottle

I do NOT like to include cheeky photographs of myself with winemakers in emails.

But there's a story to tell today.

A story that involves today's wine and a cheeky photograph, below, of myself and Thomas Haag, the winemaker/owner of Schloss Lieser.

As we all know, the Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr is one of  the Mosel's great sites. The Fritz Haag estate, with its relentless focus on the Juffer Sonnenuhr, has basically guaranteed the vineyard's stature. When Thomas Haag left the family circle and went out on this own, revamping the old Schloss Lieser estate, he was given some of his father's plots in the Juffer Sonnenuhr.

And indeed Schloss Lieser's Juffer Sonnenuhr has quickly become another top expression of the site. So it was a curious thing for me to be flipping through the 2008 offerings last spring and *NOT* see Lieser's Juffer Sonnenuhr Spätlese being offered. (Even more curious because I had tasted it in Germany, and it was very good.)

But I forgot about it... until, Thomas Haag literally walked in the door. It was July 16th of last summer. Thomas was visiting New York with his family, just doing the German tourist thing, and he stopped by the store to say hello.

Now, dear readers, inspect the photograph closely. Thomas is holding in his left hand a bag. That bag contains, yes indeed, a bottle of his 2008 Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Spätlese. It was just a small gift, but as he handed it over he mentioned the fact that he was surprised it wasn't picked up for the U.S. market.

And it all comes rushing back to me. "Oh yeah, why did that happen???" I asked. He sort of shrugged and that was about it. Anyway, I put the bottle in the fridge for a later date - to give it a rest after its travels.

I don't remember exactly when we tasted it, but I do remember, exactly, the sensory impressions. I also remember, soon thereafter, getting in touch with the importer and seeing if there was any of this wine left in Germany - there was, not much, but we bought what we could.

This is an absolutely joyous wine, a Riesling party-in-a-bottle. It is absurdly, absurdly, juicy. A slew of words just pour out about this wine: It is bright, bouncy, energetic, gleeful, playful, peppy, precocious, sprightly, spirited and vivacious. For you numbers people, this wine pockets over 90 grams of residual sugar per liter, slapped back by a walloping 8.4 grams of acidity per liter.

THIS is tension. There has got to be a way to power a small village with the energy in this bottle. Any engineers in the audience?

This is what I LOVE about 2008 - the energy, the purity, the clarity. This has it all; the wine shimmers with slate, lots and lots of slate.

It's hard to overemphasize both the reaction that Joe and I had to this wine - and then later (last Friday) the reaction that Tom, Ian and the rest of the staff had to this wine, as our small special-order parcel finally arrived and we cracked one open near-immediately.

Do not let all this "joyful, bouncy, playful" talk overwhelm the seriousness of the bottle, the pedigree and style of the presentation. Because while it is a raucous affair, the focus is stunning, the balance and tension of the wine impeccable. For all the energy, this wine has a very thin waist, a lean, cutting profile.

This is the best of what 2008 speaks; a spätlese with incredible acidity, psychotic tension. A foil for so many diverse dishes, an absolute pleasure to drink entirely on its own. I believe Ian said something like: "Give me a nice weekend in the summer and I could easily drink a case of this."

Unfortunately, there's too little wine for such an indulgence. while Joe and I went out of our way to bring in some of this wine, we only secured a few lonely cases. That's it - for the U.S. So act fast and we'll allocate as necessary to try and put as many bottles in as many hands as possible. Obviously, this offer goes out *only* to those of you who have supported our German/Austrian program.

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

Stephen Bitterolf
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

Schloss Lieser

2008 Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Spätlese