Friday, April 25, 2014

2012 Joh. Jos. Prüm Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett Riesling

The fifth white wine we sampled in the tasting group on April 13th after the Sancerre, Chablis, Albariño, and Pinot Grigio was a Kabinett Riesling.

Riesling is probably one of the most food-friendly varietals and it is definitely a “must have” on any wine menu. Of all the Germany Riesling producers, Joh. Jos. Prüm is definitely one of my favorites. Last month I posted a review of the 2012 Joh. Jos. Prüm Auslese Riesling so in this review I’ll compare and contrast my notes on the two wines.

The History of Joh. Jos. Prüm

The roots of the Prüm family begin with Sebastian Alois Prüm in the village of Wehlen in the year 1156 A.D.. Stadt Wehlen is a town in the Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge district, in Saxony, Germany. It is located on the western edge of Saxon Switzerland, on the right bank of the Elbe, 6 km (3.72 miles) east of Pirna, and 23 km (14.29 miles) southeast of Dresden.

Alois had six sons but only his son Mathais got married, who then had a son named Johann Josef Prüm (1873 - 1944).  In 1911 Johann Josef Prüm founded the family estate winery. Then in 1920, after World War I, Johann’s son Sebastian joined the family business. It was under the leadership of Sebastian that the winery achieved the reputation as a one of the highest quality producers of Riesling in Germany.  In fact, at the 1974 auction his 1949 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Trockenbeerenauslese sold for 1,500 Deutsche Marks ($652). In 1969, after Sebastian died, his son Dr. Manfred Prüm followed in his father’s footsteps to continue the family legacy. 

The Joh. Jos. Prüm Estate

Joh. Jos. Prüm’s average annual production is only about 13,000 cases that come from their 13.5 hectare (33.5 acre) estate which consists of nearly 70% ungrafted vines. Some of the vines are in the best parts of the top Middle-Mosel sites such as Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Graacher Himmelreich, Graacher Domprobst, Bernkasteler Lay, Bernkasteler Badstube, and Bernkasteler Bratenhöfchen. The estate also has holdings in the lesser-known vineyards such as Wehlener Klosterberg, Wehlener Rosenberg, Wehlener Nonnenberg, Bernkasteler Johannisbrünnchen, and Bernkasteler Schlossberg. The vineyards consist of 95% Riesling planted on steeply sloped Devon schist soil. The remaining 5% of the vineyard is planted to Optima in the Wehlener Nonnenberg. Optima is a Riesling and Silvaner cross with Müller-Thurgau created by viticulturalist Peter Morio at the Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding in the Palatinate in 1930.[1]

The Bernkasteler Badstube Vineyard and the Graacher Himmelreich Vineyard
Joh. Jos. Prüm Vineyard
The Kabinett  Riesling we tasted came from the Bernkasteler Badstube which is the last of the vineyard sites that can appear on a J.J. Prum label. This vineyard borders those of the Graacher Himmelreich on the latter’s southern edge. The Bernkasteler Badstube slopes are on a marginally shallower gradient, with deeper soils than the Graacher and Wehlener, while the western orientation allows the vines longer exposure to the afternoon sun.

The Auslese Riesling in my previous review came from the Graacher Himmelreich vineyard which directly borders the southern edge of the Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard. The hill faces slightly more westwards than the Wehlener Sonnenuhr and has a more south-west exposure. It is a little less steep and has deeper soils which act as excellent water reservoirs.[2]

The Styles of Qualitätsweinmit Prädikat (QmP)

I have mentioned this before in a previous post, but since we’re comparing a Kabinett  Riesling with an Auslese Riesling it is worth reviewing the 6 Qualitätsweinmit Prädikat (QmP) ripeness categories. They are as follows:

The Styles of Qualitätsweinmit Prädikat (QmP)
This designation applies to wines made from grapes that just qualify for minimum QmP ripeness levels, generally considered a normal harvest for Germany
Literal meaning: “late harvest” (plural form is Spätlesen) is a German wine term for a wine from fully ripe grapes, the lightest of the late harvest wines. Rieslings made in this style will have a little more body, have stone fruit and can be dry or sweeter than Kabinett.
Made from individually selected extra-ripe bunches of grapes. This is also the highest Prädikatswein category that can appear as a dry wine.
Beerenauslese (BA)
Indicates a rare, expensive sweet wine that will have been made from individually selected extra-ripe bunches of grapes, preferably with acids and flavors enhanced by the effects of noble rot.
Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA)
Literal meaning “dried berries selection,” produced in minute quantities, in only the finest vintages from individual grapes that have shriveled to tiny raisins. After fermentation, they rarely have higher than 8% abv.
Literally “ice wine”, made from grapes that have been left on the vine until the weather is cold enough to freeze them, below - 8°C.

The Wine – Kabinett vs. Auslese

The 2012 Joh. Jos. Prüm Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett Riesling is a clear white wine, straw in color with green tints, with low concentration and moderate low viscosity. On the nose it has subtle aromas of aromas white apples, lemon-lime, white peach and a distinctive note of flint. It also had some sulfur aromas which dissipated with aeration. On the palate it has intense flavors of orange juice concentrate, pears, minor notes of honey, and black tea. It is off-dry with high mouthwatering acidity, medium- body, low alcohol and a medium+ length finish.

Last month I posted a review of the 2012 Joh. Jos. Prüm  Graacher Himmelreich, Auslese Riesling. These two wines are of the same vintage from the same producer so it is worth noting the differences that the ripeness of the grapes coming from two difference vineyards (Bernkasteler Badstube vs. Graacher Himmelreich) makes in these two wines.

The 2012 Joh. Jos. Prüm  Graacher Himmelreich, Auslese Riesling is a clear white wine, lemon / light straw in color, low intensity with a watery meniscus, and low viscosity. On the nose it is clean with subtle aromas golden apples, lemon-lime, lemon blossoms, melon and a touch of honey. On the palate it is off-dry with mouthwatering medium+ acidity, it is medium bodied with a very long finish. It retails for about $33 per bottle.

The primary differences are: First, the Kabinett had the presence of sulphur aromas that dissipated with aeration which I have found to be more common in Rieslings from less ripe grapes. Second, the fruit of the Auslese is riper and more pronounced. Third, and this is the most obvious, the Auslese has a little more alcohol and body. Other than that, both wines were had similar types of fruit and honey notes in their profile and they were both off-dry, high in acidity and had a lengthy finish. While I wouldn’t argue that one was of a higher quality than the other, I did prefer the Auslese.


No comments:

Post a Comment