source material 010 - Koehler-Ruprecht Library Offer

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Robert Dentice
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source material 010 - Koehler-Ruprecht Library Offer

#1 Post by Robert Dentice »

I love these library offerings for my own cellar! I personally tasted over 40 wines with Stephen and we picked what we thought were the best ones for two individual 3 packs for Spätlese and Auslese Trocken. This would be a great #rieslingstudy! As always giving the berserker crew a heads up!

https://sourcematerialwine.com

offer 010
Koehler-Ruprecht
direct from the cellar
Dry Spätlese and Dry Auslese
Saumagen Spätlese Trocken 3-Pack: $130.00
1 bottle 2013
1 bottle 2015
1 bottle 2017

Saumagen Auslese Trocken 3-Pack: $210.00
1 bottle 2011
1 bottle 2015
1 bottle 2018


{ the nuance and articulation of dry Riesling
a decade of history fresh from the cellar }
Koehler-Ruprecht is simply a foundational estate that helped shape the very notion, the very idea of truly Grand Cru dry Riesling.

Today we present modern history, six wines that offer a five-vintage vertical spanning nearly a decade. Every single bottle is, at this moment, still in the cellar at the estate; they will come to the U.S. with an unquestionable provenance, with perfect cellaring. Almost none of the wines are commercially available in the U.S.

But before we dig deeper into what this estate means, what these wines mean, we think it'd be prudent to just note that we are only being offered a few cases of each wine by the estate and we expect a quick sell-out. If you are interested, please let us know as soon as you can.

Each and every bottle here could be considered a GG; the estate simply uses a more old-school labeling format, calling the wines Spätlese and Auslese Trocken. In this context, with many of the greatest GGs selling for $100-$200+, these are incredible deals, as Mosel Fine Wines mentions.

We are selling the Spätlesen and Auslesen 3-packs separately, though obviously you may order one or the other, or both. Please give us your maximum order and understand if we have to allocate; the wines should arrive in June. Each mixed 3-pack will come with a letter from winemaker Dominick Sona, with notes about the vintages and wines.

There are no German dry Rieslings more "old school" than the powerful, saturating, structured monuments of Koehler-Ruprecht. While these can be broad-shouldered, powerful dry Rieslings (the German equivalent of the more lavish wines of Burgundy's Côte d'Or?), it is the clarity and definition of the wines, their ability to age, that has made them benchmarks with a track record of greatness that goes back thirty plus years.

As is often pointed out, the idea of dry Riesling is not a new one. As long as the Riesling grape has been fermented into wine, presumably, it has been made into all types of wines, including dry wines.

What is a rather new idea, is using the greatest parcels, the greatest grapes, to make dry Rieslings that have not only the minerality of the greatest dry wines on earth (that part was maybe easy, it's Riesling after all), but also the balance and the structure of the greatest dry wines on earth... and with that, the ability to age.

As a recent Mosel Fine Wines tasting of the "reserve" wines reported, the quality of the bottlings of the last decade easily compare to the legends from the 1990ers. Dominik Sona and Franziska Schmitt have crafted masterpieces from the recent vintages, including 2015, 2017 and 2018. Please see a full vintage discussion below; we tasted through nearly every vintage from 2011 on - our selections are personal, yes, but they are not arbitrary.

In 2014, the team at the estate also made the bold decision to have Koehler-Ruprecht leave the VDP (an old and prestigious organization of growers) after nearly 90 years, so that the estate could maintain its Prädikat-based system of articulating the nuances of dry Riesling. In other words, there is an important difference in ripeness, in power, in depth, in alcohol and acidity, between a dry Spätlese and a dry Auslese. For this estate, it is also an important cultural heritage that they wanted to honor, that they wanted to preserve.

This is a complex discussion beyond the scope of this email; many of the changes the VDP has brought to German wine labeling are wise and long overdue. There is no easy right or wrong answer here, yet we can't help but deeply respect the estate's decision.

For us, as wine lovers, their decision to continue classifying and labeling their wines as they always have offers us the unique opportunity to really delve into the differences of a dry Spätlesen and a dry Auslesen. This is a good part of the profundity of what this estate does, what this offer might bring you. The full discussion is below.

But please act quickly. As the Mosel Fine Wines review also noted: "...prices for recent releases have not (yet) skyrocketed. Despite the limited production, these wines can be found on the market for pretty reasonable prices. Lovers of Riesling excellence should therefore make sure they stock up on the stunning bottlings produced here in 2016, 2017, and 2018 … and skim through auction catalogues to try and unearth some of the older legends." Mosel Fine Wine, Issue 55, Jan. 2021

For more on the wines, please see our continued discussion below including notes from winemaker Dominik Sona. All the wines are pre-arrival. We hope to have them stateside by June.

Koehler-Ruprecht Riesling Saumagen Spätlese Trocken (dry) 3-Pack: $130.00
Includes: 1 bottle 2013, 1 bottle 2015 and 1 bottle 2017
Part of the goal of this offer is to articulate the differences between a dry Spätlesen and a dry Auslesen. From the most basic perspective, an Auslese Trocken is simply made from riper grapes, normally harvested after the Spätlese. As winemaker Dominik Sona told me, "for the Spätlese Trocken we look for golden berries, and for the Auslese Trocken we look for amber-colored berries." This means, most of the time, the Spätlese Trocken will be a lighter wine, lower in alcohol and a wine of more finesse and balance. But these are stylistic questions, and Sona does not rely on numbers but on the context of the vintage. While the picking team will do multiple passes through the vineyard, selecting out the Spätlese and Auslese grapes, the ultimate decisions are made in the cellar, tasting the various casks.

Sona says that for him, a Spätlese Trocken should be a wine of extreme elegance. These are wines that shine at the dinner table with all kinds of fare. We tasted through nearly every vintage from 2011 on and chose three that represent unique aspects of the grape, vineyard and estate. First, the 2013: This is a profoundly misunderstood vintage - it happens to be one of our absolute favorites. The wines are tensile and nervous, with high acidity and a bouncy energy. This wine requires time to open up and showed more unified on day two, with a spiced apple and pear core, raw honey, crisp pineapple, a lovely woody, herbal complexity with beautiful grip. The 2015 is simply a no-brainer; a great vintage that grows in stature every year - beautifully centered and clear, with complex, spiced fruit and minerality. Finally, the 2017, a vintage that I missed on release, but that may prove to be one of the greatest of the last decade. The wines are dense, with immense concentration, yet the best have energy too. This is layered and compact, candied melon, apricot, raw honey, glazed apple and pear. All of these wines will cellar easily for 5+ years.

Koehler-Ruprecht Riesling Saumagen Auslese Trocken (dry) 3-Pack: $210.00
Includes: 1 bottle 2011, 1 bottle 2015 and 1 bottle 2018
Part of the goal of this offer is to articulate the differences between a dry Spätlesen and a dry Auslesen. From the most basic perspective, an Auslese Trocken is simply made from riper grapes, normally harvested after the Spätlese. As winemaker Dominik Sona told me, "for the Spätlese Trocken we look for golden berries, and for the Auslese Trocken we look for amber-colored berries." This means, most of the time, the Auslese Trocken will be a more powerful wine, higher in alcohol and a wine of more complexity and depth. But again, these are stylistic questions, and Sona does not rely on numbers but on the context of the vintage. While the picking team will do multiple passes through the vineyard, selecting out the Spätlese and Auslese grapes, the ultimate decisions are made in the cellar, tasting the various casks.

Sona says that for him, an Auslese Trocken should be a wine of complexity. While these wines can pair with richer dishes, for Sona at least these "are wines of mediation, to be drank on their own." We tasted through nearly every vintage from 2011 on and chose three that represent unique aspects of the grape, vineyard and estate. First, the 2011: This was a surprising wine - at exactly a decade old it is in a beautiful place, woody and textural, with woodland notes and a perfect maturity. A palate of melon and pineapple, honey and caramel is buoyed by the clarity and energy of the assertive finish; it's just a lovely wine in a perfect place. For you historians, this is the final vintage that Bernd Philippi worked on with Sona. Again, the 2015 was an obvious choice: powerful, dense and even creamy with delicate coffee / toffee notes, caramel and honey, all pushed and lifted by brighter spiced apple and apricot notes, incredible balance and poise. Finally, the 2018 which at 13% alcohol shows beautiful vigor and brightness, apricot and peach framed by complex oils, dried spices and herbs. It is still an infant, primary and mouth-watering. Drink now with a good decant or bury in the cellar. As Sona noted in our conversations, Auslese Trockens are wines that can age! :)
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