Müller is based in Scharzhof in Wiltingen. Among the highest rated Riesling wines in Germany (on www.riesling.de) Egon Mueller has three of the top eight wines.
Notorious for their low yields, the wines of Egon Müller tend to be richer and fuller than others of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. The 2017’s are no different.
Saar Rieslings are known for their well balanced, fine acid compositions. I love them for their explosiveness, zest and intense aromas. They have structure and balance, are low in alcohol (although higher than those from the Mosel) and usually impress with a long finish, lingering on your tongue like a ballerina which you can still see before your inner eye long after they left the stage.
I had the great pleasure of trying the 2017 Kabinett last week. MIND BLOWN!
The precision, poise and definition here is epic. An incredibly pure core of fruit with such persistence. So fine and long. Insanely good.
Looking at the numbers it’s got an extra 1% alcohol over Dr Loosen’s Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett and around the same sugar. Meaning it was picked riper by around 18g/L of sugar and all of that sugar was fermented out. The consequence, riper fruit profiles and increased vinosity.
Müller’s Trockenbeerenauslese ofter reaches the price of a small car per bottle!
Fortunately, we have an array of special wines at much more affordable prices.
From Weingut Egon Müller
At Scharzhof we favour a traditionally minimalist approach to winemaking. Our work continues to be based on the quality driven philosophy of the late Egon Müller III
One hundred per cent of the quality of a wine is generated in the vineyard. It is impossible to reach even 101 per cent in the cellars but it is a great achievement to pack the full potential of the vines into a bottle
Like most great estates, old vines, perfect sites, low yields, respect for the environment, no herbicides, or pesticides, as few fungicides as possible and no additions to the wine bar sulphur are the norm.
We also have a couple of sneaky Auction wines available.
The Verband deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates, abbreviated VDP), is an elite group of some 200 quality-oriented German vintners who are committed to terroir-driven viticulture at the highest level. Each producer carries the ‘VDP eagle’ symbol and is committed to expressing the best of their terroir at all price points.
The auction is a once in a year event in which producers of the VDP offer one or a few tiny batches of very special and/or unique wines, and in most cases the auction is the only way that these wines can be purchased.
The wine makers are heavily motivated as they want their peers to taste and be impressed by these very special bottles so reputations and pride are powerful motivators for these special wines.
Some of the batches are just 50lt (in the case of TBAs) or just one barrel in other cases.
Essentially these are the best of the best from the wineries that are not general releases. In other words volume = 11!
The 2017 vintage at Weingut Egon Müller-Scharzhof
The winter 2016-2017 began early and it was cold. From the Eiswein harvest on November 30th at -9,5°C, it stayed cold until the end of January. The dry weather that prevailed since July continued. In February temperatures rose and March was quite warm and sunny. April began spring-like and soon the first fresh leaves appeared on the vines. Between April 18th and 28th temperatures dropped repeatedly to -5°C causing considerable frost damage particularly in the lower part of the Scharzhofberg. However, since it wasn’t always radiation-frost but occasionally there was also wind-frost and even a bit of snow, no vineyard was completely spared.
Overall, April was very dry with only 4,6 mm of precipitation and because of the dry conditions the losses were limited and probably didn’t exceed 30%. May was hot. It remained dry but the vineyards thrived. The first flowers could be found on the vines in late May and by midJune, the flowering was finished everywhere. Since it didn’t rain we only started spraying the vineyards in June, using organic products. Despite the continuing drought, the grapes developed well and the berries were rather big, compensating partially for the losses from the frost.
In July the trend turned: It remained warm but we had more than average rainfall. By the end of July veraison began and we finished spraying with the 5th treatment from July 28th to 30th. The warm and humid weather continued but the vines remained surprisingly healthy.
Only by late August, Botrytis appeared. September was cold and wet but because of the cooler conditions, the spreading of Botrytis was slowed considerably. Yet it was clear that harvest would be early. The weather improved by midSeptember and after a few dry and sunny days, we started picking on September 25th. The first week of the harvest was fine with morning fog and sunny afternoons and we picked Botrytis affected grapes and from those selected the dry, shrivelled berries for Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese. Sugars were high and so were the acidity levels.
On September 30th it began to rain, and on October 3rd we received 18 mm overnight. Up to that point the long-range weather forecast had been favourable. The rainy weekend had been forecasted but the following 2 weeks were supposed to be dry. Over the weekend it did change however, and we had to prepare for rainier conditions. Still, we continued our selective picking, even though it slows down the harvest considerably. Fortunately, there were only minor showers and towards the next weekend it became dry again. After a few sunny days we picked the last grapes on October 14th.
For us this is the earliest harvest ever. We began 4 days earlier than 2003 and we finished 2 days earlier than 2014. This is of course due to the hot spring and summer speeding up the ripening of the grapes. The April frost played its part by reducing the quantity and allowing the vines a stress free development during the drought. Because of the experience of past hot vintages we do look a bit more at the acidity levels and maybe pick a bit earlier but first and foremost the early finish is due to the small yields: We only harvested 29 “Fuder” or an average of 18 hl/ha.
Besides the frost it was noble rot that caused loss of volume through evaporation, compensating us with increased concentration. We have promising Auslese, Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese that make up a significant part of the crop. Still, 2017 isn’t a Botrytis vintage like 2005 or 2006, where every single grape is affected by Noble Rot. All the plots in Scharzhofberg and Wiltinger braune Kupp were picked in 2 passes, each time selecting for Botrytis. The remaining grapes that will go into the Kabinett were healthy, golden and crunchy. Thus 2017 resembles 2011 but while the sugar levels are comparable, the acidity is on average 1,5 g/l higher, wines that with all their power and concentration will remain excitingly elegant. Egon Muller
Where in the World is Weingut Egon Müller-Scharzhof?
Egon-Müller is in the Saar valley a smaller tributary that runs of the Mosel river.