Mosel Riesling, the embodiment of German wine - at least in foreign perception. Readers of the Wine Rambler will not have to be told that there is so much more to German wine than Mosel Riesling. Still, every so often reminding everyone of the fantastic wines that come out of this area cannot hurt. One of our favourite producers at the Mosel is Markus Molitor (who also makes fantastic Pinot Noir). And one of the best Molitor wines I have had is, no, it is not one of the prestigious Auslese or Trockenbeerenauslese wines, it is a 'Qualitätswein'. These quality wines are somewhere in the middle of the German classification system - but don't let these bureaucratic details fool you. You are looking at pure awesome, and at amazing value too.
If this wine is so good, why is it not classified as QbA, as the top Auslesen would be? The reason is that the grapes used for 'Alte Reben' come from different vineyards around the Mosel, so Molitor decided to simply call it 'Old Vines'. The vines are at least 30 years old, often 60 or more, and will usually be on a similar quality level as the late harvest Rieslings, perhaps even the famous Auslese wines - but a lot cheaper. I bought this one directly from Molitor for €13.90.
The wine has a beautiful, really intense golden colour. And the bouquet - well, just taking a sniff from the cork was enough to send me to Riesling heaven. The nose is very sophisticated and deep, featuring cool mineral, almost mentholy in its herbalness, with paraffin wax, petrol, tobacco and wonderfully integrated peach and pear, plus the right splash of lime. The tobacco is just fantastic, I rarely get this in white wine.
And on the tongue - on the tongue it feels like a spherical wave of cool menthol paraffin that explodes in juiciness, coats your gums with mouth-filling fruit, herb and tobacco and then slowly fades away, leaving lots of mineral with a tingly bitterness, that in terms of texture borders on buttery at moments. This is a long sentence, but the same can be said of the lasting impression this wine left on my whole system. It is in perfect harmony, you can still feel the underlying fruit sugar, but despite 24 g of residual sugar the wine does not feel sweet. The acidity is perfectly integrated and keeps everything together.
A wine with substance, fantastic fruit and fine structure; in its combination of paraffin wax, menthol, acidity and mineral it is a great example of Riesling, and comes at a fantastic price - I had wines that cost twice as much and delivered less.