• Mosel Meteor: A.J. Adam Riesling
    Mosel Meteor: A.J. Adam Riesling

    The Mosel is home to the most laser-focused and fine German Rieslings, but A.J. Adam's style diverges from the Mosel norm. Yes, his wines are built upon electrifying acidity and prototypical energy, but they also bring a broader, gossamer texture than the norm. They have a deep impact on the palate with density void of much weight––they are a trip. 

    His work with dry wines (Trocken & GG designations below) are particularly thrilling examples of Riesling from two of the best Mosel sites, Hofberg & Goldtröpfchen. Adam fastidiously farms just four hectares of 1950-planted vines in the villages of Dhron and Piesport. The incredibly steep Hofberg vineyard receives maximum sun exposure, moderated by the Dhron tributary below and the whipping winds coming from the Hunsrück Mountains. The estate's hallmark is maximum ripeness with a fierce dry extraction.

    The lineup ranges from the bone-dry Grand Cru-level Hofberg and Goldtröpfchen to the ultimate value snapshot of his home village, the dry Dhroner Riesling Trocken. And, In Der Sengerei Feinherb has just the slightest kiss of residual sugar, perfect for your favorite Thai dish.

    Wines from 2001 have barely budged in their evolution, still showing fresh salinity and pale straw hues. A visit just before harvest in 2012 was my first exposure to these wines, and since then, each vintage has been accumulating in my cellar.

    Shop A.J. Adam

  • Mosel Lace: Willi Schaefer Riesling
    Mosel Lace: Willi Schaefer Riesling

    Putting aged Willi Schaefer wines on the website is one of the hardest things I do. These personal wines will only improve as the decades pass, while quantities will be long gone. Now, off-dry German Riesling clearly pairs well with spicy cuisine, my first pick for favorite Thai and Szechuan, but the magic of pairing with a pork shoulder and other heavier proteins always feels like it was destined.

    Recently I was at Majordōmo L.A. and was so close to ordering a 1990 Mosel Riesling with the Bo Ssam pork shoulder. We went in another direction, but that just means that if this 2001 Dombprobst Spätlese below doesn't sell, then I'm going to just bring it back there next dinner.

    The balanced Rieslings found in Mosel River Valley captivate at every turn, but for me, Willi Schaefer sits in a select category. These wines have long impressed me for their featherweight lightness and mineral spring purity. Along with J.J. Prüm, this is where the Mosel reaches its crescendo.

    Schaefer's minute holding of 4.2 hectares focuses on two vineyards in the village of Graach—Himmelreich and Domprobst—both comprised of Devonian slate soils. Visiting Christoph Schaefer at his family's cellar, situated at the foot of the wickedly steep Domprobst Vineyard, was an unforgettable experience (See picture below).

    In its youth, Himmelreich is the more approachable, fruity, and silky, with lots of citrus and white peach. Its nimble weightlessness personifies the magic of the Mosel. Domprobst, in comparison, is much deeper, spicy, and powerful. Earthy characteristics reveal themselves, slightly higher acidity, and the flavor profile moves toward yellow and red orchard fruit notes.


    Shop Willi Schaefer