A First Look at 2009 German Riesling: S.A. Prüm

Is 2009 another great vintage for German Riesling?
May 5, 2010

I had lunch with Raimund Prüm and his wife, Pirjo Oksanen, in New York recently. It was my first opportunity to taste a few 2009 German Rieslings, from the S.A. Prüm estate, run by Raimund since 1971. Their daughter Saskia oversees the vineyards and cellar.

The estate now covers 45 acres, with an additional 100 acres of grapes under contract, purchased to make the Riesling QbA Mosel Essence.

Prüm described the 2009 growing season as warm, but not too hot and dry, with enough water at the right time to nourish the vines. The harvest began Oct. 16 and proceeded through the end of November under good weather conditions.

“I’ve never had Riesling grapes tasting of Mandarin [orange], pure Mandarin. Unbelievable,” exclaimed Prüm. The grapes were very healthy, with botrytis developing late in the season.

An important development at S.A. Prüm in 2009 was the change of cellar master. Michael Blümling joined the team in April of 2009 and will help focus on greater reliance on older, neutral oak barrels to age the Riesling. Blümling is from the Mosel, but spent time in New Zealand at Cloudy Bay. Prüm feels the oak will help to better express the individual site characteristics.

The Riesling QbA Mosel Essence 2009 was ripe and juicy, with peach and apple flavors and a flash of mineral, all in a fresh, balanced profile (88 points, non-blind).

Next up was the Riesling Kabinett Mosel Prüm Blue 2009. Made entirely from estate fruit, this replaces the Blue Slate label. It’s drier in style, more in the halbtrocken range (9 to 18 grams per liter of residual sugar), though the term isn’t printed on the label. A step up in complexity, it boasted floral, apple, peach and savory notes allied to a firm structure (89 points, non-blind). It needs more time to develop all its charms.

Prüm’s Riesling Kabinett Mosel Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2009 showed a slightly reductive nose (the wines have recently been bottled), with black currant and violet aromas, peach, lime and slate flavors matched to an elegant frame and silky texture. Though reserved, it exhibited harmony and length (90 points, non-blind).

The estate now owns 12.35 acres of Ürziger Würzgarten and the Riesling Kabinett Mosel 2009 from this exciting site delivered spicy, slightly yeasty aromas, with bright strawberry, peach and mineral flavors, all rich and long (92 points, non-blind).

The sole 2009 spätlese came from the Graacher Himmelreich vineyard. Bottled only four weeks ago, it had intense aromas of spice and mineral, ripe with hints of apricot and orange. Elegant, bordering on ethereal, it was well-integrated and graceful (92 points, non blind).

All the Rieslings improved with time in the glass, and all displayed the characteristic mineral elements from the slate soils as well as good acidity.

Germany White Wines Riesling 2009

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