Another spectacular off-dry Riesling from Mosel powerhouse J.J. Prum, from a vintage that will surely be one of the longest lived in quite awhile.
There is no quality difference between the wines of the Graacher Himmelreich (Kingdom of Heaven) and its more famous neighbor, the Wehlener Sonnenuhr. It is simply a question of style or of terroir. Graacher wines typically offer greater finesse when young and are overtly more mineral noted than those of the Wehlener Sonnenuhr.
They often show more citrus and fresh nectarine fruit, as well as a powdery, sorbet-like minerality that strongly differentiates them from the ripe peach fruit and the textural opulence that Wehlener Sonnenuhr wines develop with age. Graacher wines are also typically more accessible when young than those of their more famous neighbor.
'This 2017er Graacher Himmelreich Spätlese is driven by reductive notes of smoke and fire stone at first. It develops more complex elements driven by notes of spices, lime, herbs and dill after some airing. The wine proves delicate smooth, juicy and light on the palate and leaves one with a smooth and round sensation in the finish. The after-taste is all about smoke, kiwi and white peach wrapped into some sweetness which still needs integrate. This smooth version of Graacher Himmelreich will need a few years to absorb its sweeter side and develop its inner balance.'
Mosel Fine Wines
Graacher Himmelreich directly borders the southern edge of the Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard. The wines from this site often often challenge those from its more famous neighbor, especially in hot, dry years. Graacher wines attract with their racy acidity, a pronounced minerality (that reminds of crushed rock) and slightly different fruit aromas and flavours (more in the citrus spectrum). Often, the wines become accessible slightly earlier than the Wehlener Sonnenuhr and are deliciously mouth-watering when young. Looking at the vineyard conditions, the hill faces slightly more westwards than the Wehlener Sonnenuhr , i.e. it has a more south-west exposure, it is a little less steep and has deeper soils which act as excellent water reservoirs.
This 2017er Graacher Himmelreich Spätlese is driven by reductive notes of smoke and f ire stone at f irst. It develops more complex elements driven by notes of spices, lime, herbs and dill af ter some airing. The w ine proves delicate smooth, juicy and light on the palate and leaves one with a smooth and round sensation in the f inish. The af ter-taste is all about smoke, kiw i and white peach wrapped into some sw eetness which still needs integrate. This smooth version of Graacher Himmelreich w ill need a few years to absorb its sweeter side and develop its inner balance.
The Mosel River Valley is probably the most famous and arguably the most admired wine region of Germany. In its wider sense, it includes the adjacent Saar and Rüwer (hence Mosel-Saar-Rüwer), both tributaries of the Mosel River, however it is the middle Mosel (mittelmosel), in particular between and including the towns of Bernkastel-Kues and Erden that the most brilliant wines tend to be produced. Berkastel, Grach, Wehlen, and Zeltingen are some of the most famous wine towns here. All of the vineyards of J.J. Prüm are located within this prestigious strip. The Prüm family history in the Mosel dates back as early as 1156! However Johann Josef Prüm (1873 - 1944), founded the J.J. Prüm estate in 1911. Dr Manfred Prüm has led the estate since 1969. Now his daughter Katharina is taking over the mantle. The 13.5 hectare estate includes some 70% of ungrafted vines (because the phylloxera louse cannot survive in these slate soils.) All of the vineyards of J.J. Prüm are renowned yet it is the great Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard that is the most famous. This site lies opposite the village of Wehlen on a very steep, south-west facing slope between the Graach and Zeltingen vineyards. Stuart Pigott notes; “For wine lovers around the world the Wehlener Sonnenuhr name is synonymous with great Riesling. In top vintages the site yields the richest, silkiest, most seductive wines on the Mosel. The fame of these Rieslings is inextricably linked with that of the Joh Jos Prüm estate.” Having said this, Prüm also produces outstanding wine from benchmark sites in Graach (Graacher Himmelreich), Zeltingen (Zeltinger Sonnenuhr) and Bernkastel (Bernkasteler Badstube) and it is very difficult to pick these wines apart in blind tastings – they are all exceptional. Yet they all subtly express the unique personality of the vineyard in a given year.
Pristine aromas of lemon and lime introduce this crystalline spätlese. It's lip-smackingly sweet, marked by concentrated honeysuckle and hibiscus flavors. Electric grapefruit acidity leads a long pure finish. Delicious already, it will only improve through 2030, and likely hold much further.
STEPHAN REINHARDT - WINE ADVOCATE
The 2017 Graacher Himmelreich Spätlese is deep, clear and flinty on the fascinating, elegant and complex nose. It is lush, precise, piquant and refined on the palate, with more transparency, freshness and crunchy slate minerality compared to the Bernkastel and Zeltingen. The wine is highly stimulating and salty, with concentrated grapefruit aromas. This wine is really enchanting. Open the bottle and glou-glou... Tasted in March 2019.
JANCIS ROBINSON MW
Jasmine tea and gun-powder aromatics. Really floral and petal-detailed delicacy, clementine, and as it unfurls there’s earl grey tea leaf. Keeps opening in the mouth and keeps opening on the finish. So much here already and so much more to come. 17.5/20 points.