Preparing a Prüm Wine to Drink
Decanting: Prüm’s winemaking often results in a burnt match aroma in young wines and wines just opened. As the wines age, the character tends to dissipate. If you’re drinking a young Prüm it’s worth making sure you have time to allow it to breathe in glass or to decant on opening if necessary.
🌡Temp: 8-10°C. If they’re in the fridge let them warm a little. Start cold and experiment. You’ll find they become more expressive as they warm up.
De-gassing: Many Rieslings are bottled with a significant amount of dissolved CO2. It has the effect of helping protect the wine from oxygen in bottle and allowing it to stay fresher for longer. It’s a common practice world wide, typically seen in young Semillon from the Hunter too. I find it masks the aromas and flavours of wine. It’s easily removed by pouring a small glass from the bottle then replacing the screwcap or putting your hand over the top of the bottle, giving it a vigorous shake, allowing the foam to settle and then releasing the pressure by undoing the screw cap or removing your hand. Once is usually enough, go again if you think it needs it. Added bonus is the introduction of oxygen to the wine helping it open up and start to show itself in the glass a little earlier.
⏳Time: I love trying good wines stand alone, with food, and, often the next day. It gives them the chance to shine and ensures you don’t miss a good wine through impatience or fail to bring out it’s best by not marrying them to food. These young Rieslings will open up and be more expressive with a bit of time in the glass.
🕯Cellaring: Riesling, when young has a raw attractiveness to it, age it and you’ll see it go through several phases of development. After a few years the youthful primary characters subside, the wine comes together, more sophisticated aromas and flavours develop. After 10 years what we call secondary characters associated with ageing wines start to develop and layer in, creating complexity, they become adults. The good ones will continue to age beautifully for decades. Seriously, get at least 2 x 6 Packs drink one soon and put the other away. If you really want to find the true potential of these wines get 3 or more 6 packs from these 2 excellent vintages and lose one somewhere for a decade!
Food Match: These are incredibly versatile wines, in Australia we love drinking them with fresh vibrant Asian food, they great with seafood, but can easily go toe to toe with chicken, pork and mid-weight pasta. Riesling and cheese work particularly well together! The little bit of fat balanced by the acid and the salt of bringing out the flavours beautifully.
About Joh Jos Prüm
“Few estates in the world can claim to have maintained the highest quality standards uninterrupted for half a century and more. Joh Jos Prüm, the most famous of the many Mosel wine estates bearing the Prüm name, is one estate that can. Since the early 1920’s its wines have been among Germany’s best, Rieslings with the Mosel’s vivacious aroma and racy elegance in its highest form.” Stuart Pigott, The Wine Atlas of Germany
The German System
Wow, even the most dedicated wine geek often has trouble getting their head around the German naming systems, something they’ve been working on simplifying!
When it comes to wines containing some level of grape sugar, the Germans have a classification that dictates ranges of sugar levels grapes for a specific wine must be picked at, in essence establishing a framework for the ripeness, amount of Bortytis and shrivel / raisoning the fruit should have when picked. The amount of grape sugar left in the wine after it has fermented, is up to the maker.
All of this super detailed information is interesting to know.
At the end of the day the most important thing is whether the wine meets those standard criteria for good wine. During Riesling Down Under it was great to hear winemakers from around the world, all saying they don’t care much for the numbers, they picked their fruit on flavour and made their wines to achieve balance and harmony.
You can read more about the German System HERE.
To sum up, the freshest style is Kabinett and as you move up the scale you’ll see additional complexity added by botrytis and other winemaking influences in addition to greater levels of sweetness. Each style whether Kabinett or Eiswein being perfect for consumption on different occasions with different foods. The Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, and, Eiswein being exceptional dessert wines. Kabinett and Spätlese being suited to table wine consumption. The standard line for the German’s being that where the English offer tea to guests in the afternoon the German’s offer Kabinett or Spätlese wines, more akin to a table wine. That said I devoured a Wagner-Stemple Kabinett, with pasta and cheese on a 38°C day in Melbourne, perfection! Auslese sitting on either side depending on the style the estate makes.
The Vineyards in the Mosel Valley
Although the J.J. Prüm vineyards all border each other along the same riverbank and share roughly the same soils (Devonian slate), each site has subtle, yet important differences that result in quite distinctive styles of wine. We explore these in more detail in the wine reviews below. The vineyards we are looking at in this offer are those of Wehlener Sonnenuhr – The Sundial of Wehlen, Graacher Himmelreich – The Kingdom of Heaven, and, Bernkasteler Badstube.
You can see just how incredibly steep the vineyards of the Mosel can be and how dominant the slate rock is, often driving the root systems meters into the hillside.
The best vineyards of Germany’s Mosel Valley are incredibly steep, south-facing slopes with mineral-rich slate soil and a favourable position near the river. Excellent drainage and the heat-retaining quality of the rocky slate soil also help to produce fully ripe, concentrated wines. The combination of these elements results in racy, mineral-inflected Rieslings that are fruity, crisp and very refreshing to drink.
The Wehlener Sonnenuhr Vineyards
The Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard has become intrinsically attached to the name of Joh. Jos. Prüm. The Estate owns five hectares of this majestic site. It offers perfect growing conditions for the Riesling grape with its deep, weather-beaten grey slate soil, good water support, extreme steepness of up to 70 % gradient, and its optimal south-south-west exposure. As for the Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Wehlener Sonnenuhr is named after the sundial erected in the vineyard in 1842 by Jodocus Prüm, an ancestor of J.J. Prüm, to give the workers a better time orientation. The wines of the Wehlener Sonnenuhr generally possess excellent structure, show beautiful, ripe aromas and flavours (typically stone fruits, like peach, nectarine, apricot), a fine minerality and great depth and length. Especially after having been aged for some years, the harmony, finesse and expression of these wines is unique. Riesling guru Stuart Pigott has written; “Joh Jos Prüm’s Sonnenuhrs are classic examples of the way in which the best Mosel wine’s natural sweetness magnifies, rather than obscures, their character. These are a perfect marriage of Riesling’s peach-like, floral and mineral aspects. White wine cannot be fresher, more vivid and delightful.”