Weingut Schloss Lieser

I wanted to start a thread on the wines of Schloss Lieser. I think these wines are somewhat controversial, at least in the US, so I should note at the outset that I am a big fan.

I think that there are a few reasons why they are controversial. For one, Thomas Haag is making wine at a lot of different sites. They are all very good sites, but with a lot you have to ask whether it is possible to make good wine at all of them. I’m not sure how long it would take to drive between his two furthest vineyards, but I have to imagine that it would be difficult, in the face of an issue that appeared across the Mosel all at once, for Thomas Haag to do to much in more than two of his vineyards in a single day.

More importantly, I think the wines show fuller and richer than many of the top wines that are en vogue in the Mosel right now. I think that they are a bit amped up, although not clunky and not glossy or slick, at least to me. These will not be described as lean, and while they can be racy, they will not show as the most linear wine in a given pradikat from a given site.

But I love them. When I line up the various Lieser kabis in any one vintage I can see very clearly the differences from Wehlener Sonnenuhr to Juffer to Niederberg Helden to Himmelreich to Goldtropfchen. Any maybe even Doctor if its wam enough.

I tasted the 2021 Lieser domprobst kabi this week side-by-side with the Willi Schaefer, and they couldn’t be more different. The Willi is the light, dancing, filigreed style that everyone loves. The Lieser is darker and more brooding and shows more power up front. To use a totally unhelpful analogy that will probably start a completely different and unrelated debate, if the Willi Schaefer is like Mugnier’s chambolle – delicate, lite and transparent – then the Schloss Lieser is Arnoux-Lachaux’s chambolle – impossibly powerful but not in a way that shows manipulation, and still graceful and elegant. But maybe not for everyone.

Tonight and last night I drank the 2016 piesporter goldtropfchen kabinett, and it was bursting with fruit and energy and really showing well until the finish, which was somewhat clipped and bordering on harsh. It was not his best wine, but I drink a lot of Schloss Lieser, from GG to kabi to spat to spat to auslese and sometimes even above. I’m interested in what others think. If you love them, please open a bottle post a note and tell us why. And if you hate them, suffer through a bottle and let us know what is wrong.

Thanks

Alex

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Lieser is my favorite producer (edging out Fritz Haag and Donnhoff a bit)! Thomas’ wines are bigger and more powerfull, and I’m here for it! People shouldn’t be fooled though, think most of these wines have great acidity and wonderful tension. Sure, they are amped up rather than lean, but they tend to be wonderfully balanced.

Big Schloss Lieser fan here as well, they are the biggest producer by number of bottles in my cellar.
Before people that don’t know them get a wrong impression: they are somewhat bigger and at times richer, but still in the context of the Mosel, so I’d still describe them as racy and light-footed compared to more than 99.9% of global wines.

Thomas told me he has more than 140 individual parcels and harvest time is absolutely mad, trying to optimize what goes where constantly. He essentially doesn’t sleep for 6 weeks. They have a very experienced team of harvest helps though that’s been with them for ages and his kids Nicholas and Lara are really pushing their weight as well.

I usually prefer his Goldtroepfchen and Wehlener Sonnenuhr bottlings. In fact, after the auction I picked up some Kabinett from the former and spaetlese from the latter. Beautiful expressions of the different sites. Their Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese Goldkapsel of 2019 is definitely my absolute all-time favorite wine.

And for me also importantly: the whole family is just really really nice. Always take a lot of time for a tasting, humble despite their huge achievements and proud to share pics of their first grandchild.

Remarkable contrast with another famous grower where I went the day after to pick up my allocation. They simply pointed to the 5 cases of wine that were mine when I arrived and wished me a nice remainder of the day…

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I was in Germany for wine a few weeks ago, so have been paying more attention to the German wine threads. Overall I am way out of my depth on them to constructively comment.

But above - Absolutely. We dropped in for an afternoon tasting, both Thomas and his wife were running around helping out for the tasting since it got a bit crowded all of a sudden. Somehow we got on to how much I can carry back with me, and he offered to sell me some of those DHL boxes if we wanted, as that is all he uses when he travels with wine. I needed to do a count of what I was hauling around so later that night decided to take him up on it. Next day after breakfast I went over before they opened and he was buzzing around doing other stuff and he stopped to help get me two boxes sorted out. Super nice guy.

And I liked all his wine!

I am definitely interested in exploring as its a producer I really don’t drink but do buy occasionally. I think the set up with the hotel, up until they went with Skurnik their distribution was not great, the confusion with the other Haag and the large number of wines they make have resulted in some of the confusion or controversy.

There seems to be a very contentious relationship with the hotel. I asked the somm why they only had one Schloss Lieser wine on the list and she said because the owner has lots of local winemaker friends that he wants to support. And when I stayed at the hotel, they literally did not know what I was talking about when I asked about setting up an appointment at Lieser.

Alex - if you ever want to do a big tasting in NYC I am in and have a bunch of the wines.

Funnily, I discussed the topic of the hotel with them. The previous F&B manager of the hotel wasn’t the easiest to deal with apparently, but they have a great relation with the new one who has listed numerous wines of their on his winelist.
To be clear: the hotel is completely separate from them, but as they are located right next to each other (and share a name :grin:) they are sometimes seen as one

I was there in August 2021 and yes as you say it does create confusion. And unfortunately when I was there it was run so poorly and $700 a night in the Mosel that it reflected poorly on their winery for those that don’t know they are completely separate (I did).

This is a great idea Robert. Let’s do it.
Alex

Saw your post on a related thread. 2022 seems to be a lot more sorted out, enjoyed my stay and the staff were quite helpful. (Fancy restaurant in the hotel was decent enough but a little disappointing for me though…)

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I just checked my inventory and I have close to 100 bottles with a lot of 2015s. Would be very excited to do this.

I will reach out to you and then will work on setting something up.

I’d be curious how this evolves… I’ve had stranger reasons (maybe) to get on a 16 hour flight… (I’ve got several bottles of his newer stuff now!)

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Looks like I’m just north of 400 bottles. Don’t think anyone other than the two of us will need to bring much wine…

I like the wines. I don’t find them to be that much “bigger” necessarily than other Mosel wines, but others have more experience than I do with them. When my wife and I visited the region in 2014, we stayed in the little apartment run by the family (not the Schloss Lieser hotel, I mean the winery had one room they rented out). Super nice folks.

We were there during harvest and it was extremely hectic and they weren’t able to offer us a tasting, but they were so nice that they arranged for Wilhelm Haag to come and run us through the Lieser wines and then after that he took us to Fritz Haag to run us through those wines as well. Highlight of the trip.

Thanks Arjan. I was hoping you would chime in. For me, the Wehlener is the standout across his various bottlings, whether dry or sweet. He makes so much wine that it can’t be hard to track everything, so my usual strategy is to buy anything wehlener and then a fairly random assortment of other bottles. The terroir cases at the GG and kabinett levels are a nice way to try everything, but you only end up with one bottle, which can be tricky.

I would be into this. Have had the wines from time to time, all good experiences. But haven’t seen enough of them side by side to really grasp the nuance.

I don’t know if there is any conflict between the hotel and the winery. They seem to only share a name and wall between their properties.

I just got back from Schloss Lieser. Stayed there. Guess what was waiting in my room? Yep, a bottle of Haag’s Schloss Lieser Riesling Trocken. So I guess they don’t have THAT strained of a relationship if their wine is in every guest room on arrival (I wasn’t the only one that had a bottle waiting). By the way, it was damn tasty. Both mine and my buddie’s bottle the next night.

They’re good wines, just a little too brooding and powerful for me especially in the ripe years.

The trick for that is to buy multiple terroir cases every year :grin:

The normally still have quite some wine available to taste around the auction and I always make sure to visit them then. They lost 45% in 2021 and didn’t have much left to taste this time unfortunately, but still a very nice selection overall.

I have come to increasingly like the wines from their holdings in the Lieser Niederberg Helden, their de facto house mountain. Less fruit forward and more herbal/spicy almost savory.

Sounds like things are operating better which is great to hear.