TN: Willi Schaefer meets some solid Italian Wines

WILLI SCHAEFER MEETS SOME SOLID ITALIAN WINES - La Chaseur, New Bridge Road (22/11/2010)

Three of us gathered to do a quick tasting of Willi Schaefer’s 2009 Graacher Domprobst wines. Anotehr few friends just happened to be meeting for dinner at the same time and place, so we had a combined table. What was supposed to be a simple night turned out to be more than we bargained for. Not complaining one bit though!


  • 2009 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
    Just absolutely superb stuff. This had been opened for 3 days, and it needed it - I got a feeling that it was just about to shed some of its tightness when we got to it. What a lovely nose though. Peach, tons of stony mineral, exuberant flowers, all very expressive. Wonderful palate too - this had just pitch perfect balance with young Mosel flavours of grapefruit and lemons just melting into the mouth with a lovely wash of fresh, perfectly integrated acidity - all guided along by a gentle stream of minerally that builds and builds towards the finely detailed finish. I thought this had really incredible depth for a Kabinett, and yet it was so lithe and ethereal (unlike some plodding 2007s) that no one would ever confuse it for a Spatlese. Superb, and unsurprisingly drinking far better than its Spatlese brother. (93 pts.)
  • 2009 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
    Very good indeed. A clear notch up from the Kabinett in terms of texture, complexity and power. However, while the Kabinett was really oustanding for what it was, I did not feel this was remarkably better than any of the 2009 Spatlesen from other top-tier makers across Germany. Perhaps it needed time. This was far tighter than the Kab even though we had opened it three days earlier. The nose showed some asparagus, green apple, a bit of nuttiness, some minerals and sprigs of fresh herbs and flowers. Deeper than the Kab, but but less expressive. The palate was certainly impressive though. It was clearly young and tight, with some light floral tones and some peach, grapefruit and green figs showing in very primary fashion. However, this had wonderful depth and balance, with some rich oiliness perfectly integrated with oh so lively acidity. Obviously more substantial than the Kabinett, but just as pitch perfect in the way it was balanced and integrated I thought. Finish was nice and lengthy, unwinding with a whole mouthfull of minerality. A really good Spatlese. One does feel, however, that it needs age before it really struts its stuff. (93 pts.)


  • 2008 Broglia Gavi Gavi di Gavi Bruno Broglia - Italy, Piedmont, Gavi
    Excellent stuff. Tre Bichierri, and you can see why. A little oak on the nose, but it widens out into nice florals, white fruit, pears and pineapples, sesoned with some spice and mineral scents and a little a bit of earthiness. Lots of depth on those smells. The palate gave an impression of bright acidity, with lemony flavours puckering the mouth, but that tones down on the midpalate, where the weight of white fruit - again pineapples, some pears, some apples - brings the wine into lovely balance. Nice sappy feel here, and the finish was underlined by a serious seam of minerality. I thought the acidity was spot on when this was served when cool, but the definition and focus slipped a bit when warmed - that was our fault rather than the wine’s though. Otherwise, good depth, quite a bit of complexity and a good amount of dry extract bodes well for its future. I would think that it will be even better a couple of years down the road. Very good indeed. (92 pts.)
  • 2004 Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu Les Chaillées de l’Enfer - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Condrieu
    A very nice Condrieu. Strong beeswax scents on the nose were accompanied by flowers and honeyed fruits - apricots and ripe peaches I thought - and some almond nut scents. Very nice. Palate was nice too. Some sweet vanilla oak hoevered over the whole wine, but there was no mistaking the Condrieu character below that - lots of spice note, sweet Chinese almonds, more beeswax, all wrapped in a rich creamy texture. Lowish Viognier acidity for sure, but it was well balanced. Finish was decent too. A bit of heat, more dollops of vanilla oak, but the varietal spice showed itself again with a little kiss of flowers at the very end. A fun wine with plenty of substance to go along with it. (91 pts.)


  • 2005 Marchesi di Incisa della Rochetta Barbera d’Asti Superiore Sant’Emiliano - Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Barbera d’Asti Superiore
    This was really a very nice Barbera. No thin washed-out nonsense, or alcoholic over-extracted mess. Just a delicious wine with lots of typicity and character. Nose showed classic tar and violets, earthy spices, blackberries, some meat. Nice, but it was the palate that really caught me. Charming red fruit on the attack, slightly darker berries past that, some savoury meatiness, along with more smoky, mimerally tar notes and some powdered Chinese herbs at the finish. Not the most complex, but hedonistic fun, with nice depth, good concentration and really nice balance, so that the wine, at 15% tasted more like 13%. Yum. (90 pts.)
  • 2001 Tommasi Crearo Conca d’Oro Veronese IGT - Italy, Veneto, Veronese IGT
    Interesting Corvina blend, with some Cab Franc thrown in. Real pity it was TCA’ed, otherwise this might have been quite nice. Not quite enough TCA to ruin the wine, but it was certainly affected. Nose showed telltale wet cardboard signs, along with more typical smoke, tar and dried cherries and little raisins. The palate had pretty nice acidity, reflecting the strength of the vinatge I think, with fresh cherries overlaid on more dried raisins and a little flowery upper register. Unfortunately, the finish was truncated by the flaw, ending with a little iodine / metallic twang. NR (flawed)


  • 2007 Estasi Moscato di Trani Passito - Italy, Puglia, Moscato di Trani
    Waldo whipped out this amazing wine to end the night. Really killer stuff, and quite clearly the wine of the night. The nose was just incredible, with flowery scents just tumbling over one another - jasmine infused green tea, elderflowers, osmanthus, chamomile… ultra-seductive, yet not overtly sweet smelling, this was more incense than perfume-like in its lovely aromatics. Drop dead gorgeous. However, while the nose was all exuberant expressiveness, the palate was almost zen-like in its minimalist beauty. Certainly no lack of complexity though, the wine had this in spades, with gentle layers of almond skins, grape seed oil, perfumed dried flowers, lots of Italian herbs- sage, thyme, taragon - dried spices, a little rivulet of mineral, and a hint of savouriness wafting around the palate. Really enchanting. However, it was the beautiful balance of the wine that made it really stand out. It had 14.5% alcohol and was able to stand up to a host of sweet desserts, yet the acidity was so well judged and so perfectly integrated that this seemed as light on the palate as the German Kabinett. It had an elegant focus and a gently refreshing, almost sea-breeze-like effortlessness across the palate - pure magic in a bottle. Not the richest sweet wine, not the greatest depth maybe, but this was all complexity, balance and harmony - a bottle I will remember for a long, long time. (94 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Hi Paul, thanks for the notes. I drank the Himmelreich Kab yesterday and today. Man can the Schaefer family make Kabinetten? I’ve got near a case of the Domprobst coming. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this wine… especially after reading your note.