The Summer of Riesling is here and we always have a great assortment of Riesling to choose from this time of year. Choosing one Riesling in particular to talk about is difficult. We are fanatics about this grape, we have Riesling from all over the old world. Schloss Mühlenhof Riesling Trocken 2012 definitely deserves some attention.
The estate is in the Rheinhessen region of Germany. It is named for the traditional region of Rhenish Hesse, it lies on the left bank of the River Rhine between Worms and Bingen in Rhineland-Palatinate. The Rheinhessen produces mostly white wine from a variety of grapes, particularly Müller-Thurgau, Riesling and Silvaner. There is definitely some underrated Riesling made here and it is in an increasingly powerful, dry style.
The Schloss Mühlenhof property is a large estate (nearly 20ha) spread across the slopes above Kettenheim, 3km south of Alzey & 80 km southwest of Frankfurt. The estate was started in 1846 and is now hosting the 6th generation. It first began as a rye and wheat mill until the 1920s, when the small vineyard attached to the property became the focus for the family income. The vines of that era have been replaced over time but some on the property are still as old as 45 yrs.
"Michel" is the last name of the family which has owned and run the estate for the past 150 years. In 1985, they established the name of "Weingut Schloßmühlenhof". Walter Michel and his wife Gabriele are proud to pass on the rein of the estate to their son Nicolas, who in 2007 has successfully completed his studies for viticulture and oenology. Taking the reigns from his father, he actively pursues winemaking at the estate by combining his father's tradition, natural methods and now recent technology to maintain better consistency and to increase the quality of all of his wines.
Nicolas continues to operate the farm organically and they follow what they call, ‘ecologically healthy’ farming practices, with the intent on capturing the fruity expression of the Rheinhessen style. He works the vineyards heavily in August to reduced yields by green harvesting (cutting nearly 1/2 of their fruit). In the cellar he selects his yeasts (from other vineyards and varietals), utilizes electronically monitored steel tanks, uses some pumps and judiciously uses SO2 to polish the wines into purity and bright freshness. His soils are mostly limestone combinations that capture a clear minerality and a distinct spirit from each varietal, from parcels as small as .4ha. Nicolas' expertise is also in the cellar, blending multiple tanks together, each with their strongest asset to form deliciously drinking, full flavored wines with a direct link to the Rhienhessen region.
The estate makes face slapping, great white, red and sparkling wines. Nicolas' Riesling 2012 continues to be in a one liter bottle format, which we are really fond of here at Sour Grapes. More wine, less glass and the quality of the fruit is always tip top. It smells like a blended fruit smoothie with juicy notes of peaches, raspberry, lime, papaya, mineral & ginger. It is so dangerously fresh that you may want to bathe in it. When you drink it, it flies down without any effort, cleaning itself up with a lip-smacking finish. This is perfect, refreshing Riesling and our pick for this Summer. Try it with pork BBQ, spicy grilled shrimp, Thai, Szechwan or Smoked Salmon. Enjoy!