Willi Schaefer History: The New Dry Side
2009 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich GG
The First Ever "Grand Cru" Dry from Willi Schaefer!
One lonely, solitary fuder, with wine sourced from a low-yielding parcel in the Himmelreich: This single fuder represents the totality of the first-ever Schaefer Grosses Gewächs.
We're honored that we've been chosen to introduce it to the U.S.
For those not up to speed with their fuder conversions, this is roughly one thousand liters of wine, about 1,300 bottles - just over 100 cases.
This is not an exercise in rarity for rarity's sake, it's simply a reflection of the limits of intimacy. Four hectares: more than this and Willi and Christoph Schaefer simply wouldn't be able to do what they do.
Today, the ripeness of the powerful 2009 vintage finds its most eloquent, most delicate voice in Schaefer's first-ever "Grand Cru" dry from the Himmelreich vineyard. (What is a Grosses Gewächs? Click here to learn more about German dry Rieslings.)
This dry Riesling is intense yet ultra-fine, a lively play of white peach, apple and lemon zest mixing it up with a stunning array of slate and flowers. (John Gilman's gushing review is below.)
The flavors present themselves with such vividness, yet the wine itself is delicate with needle-fine dimensions - this is a Riesling authentic to its Middle Mosel roots with that signature thrill of ice-cold Mosel acidity. Perhaps more than I've ever encountered before with a Schaefer Riesling, the acidity here feels ultra-polished, near gossamer, as if like a crystal decanter, it provided its contents with form, yet was perfectly clear, adding only sparkle.
This is a spectacular bottle of dry Riesling and highly recommended. Mosel fanatics should consider going a bit deeper than normal, as this is truly a historic bottling that will no doubt age gracefully for 10+ years.
The more I drink Schaefer Rieslings, the more I realize, on a very deep level, how simply profound these wines are. NOBODY does detail, fine-ness, with a more ethereal, uncomplicated grace.
As if everything that was really, truly beautiful, was also very easy.
I really think this is the signature of the estate, the tiny bit of magic that has made these wines unbelievably famous. Terry Theise calls the wines here not "blow-you-away wines, but friend-for-life wines." I like that.
The wine itself is sourced from a small, low-yielding parcel of the Himmelreich, and some of the vividness of the wine must be attributed to the low yields. Christoph says they've always found the Himmelreich to be more suitable for dry wines, the airiness of the fruit, its purity and scale being more adaptable to the rigid confines of the acidity. While I can see this being true, I can decipher the logic, still... one shivers a bit at the idea of a Schaefer Domprobst Grosses Gewächs.
Everything else about the production is typical Schaefer; an ultra-gentle pressing (to eliminate any trace of bitter phenols) and a fermentation and aging in old fuder. The wine did see a bit more time on the fine lees before being bottled. Because of German wine laws, the Grosses Gewächs may not be released until September of this year - we expect to have our small parcel soon thereafter.
In all likelihood, we will be sold out long before then. As stated above, only about 100 cases of this wine have been made in this inaugural vintage. While Willi and Christoph have been more than generous with us, it's still a paltry amount of wine.
Especially after you consider all the wine we have to take for our own cellars!
Please give us your maximum request and we will do our best to allocate accordingly. All orders subject to confirmation. To order, email us at email@example.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Crush Wine & Spirits
John Gilman, View from the Cellar, "The Schaefers have certainly picked a fine vintage to release their first Grosses Gewächs from the Himmelreich, and this wine will be a lovely new addition to their portfolio. The wine has fermented out to twelve percent alcohol and is a classic middle Mosel in terms of its size and aesthetic sensibilities. The bouquet is simply beautiful, as it offers up scents of green apple, sweet grapefruit, really striking minerality, hints of the petrol to come and a lovely topnote of lemon zest. On the palate the wine is deep, medium-full, crisp and perfectly balanced, with a great core of fruit and classic inner tension between fruit, minerality and acidity. The finish is very long, crisp and classy, with the ripe acids of the vintage giving a real seamlessness on the backend. A very fine bottle of Grosses Gewächs that is utterly true to its middle Mosel roots."
Wine arrives fall 2010
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