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Small But Exceptional 2013 Vintage In Mosel

2013 was a painfully small vintage in the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, but quality is exceptional.

Most producers I spoke to harvested about half their normal crop, thanks to bad weather at flowering leading to poor fruit-set, added to by hail in some localities and then by a heavy botrytis occurrence. Some growers got caught with bad rot towards the end of the harvest, further reducing yields.

The quality is excellent, but because of the high incidence of botrytis, J.J. Prum (tastings) has made only auslese and gold-capsule wines. No kabinett or spatlese, and even the auslese has botrytis. Some winemakers are ranking 2013 with 2006, 1976 and 1949 as a top botrytis year.

Across the river at Dr Loosen (tastings), however, Erni Loosen has made his Red Slate and Blue Slate and Kabinett styles as usual. A much bigger producer, Loosen has markets to supply with these wines and although there is less quantity of them, they are very good indeed.

In the Saar valley, Egon Muller (tastings) made only five wines because the yields were so poor: the Scharzhof, two kabinetts (one only for auctions), a spatlese and an auslese.

Most exporters to Australia have recently shipped, or will soon ship, the first of their 2013s. They should start arriving from early September.

There are many stunning wines, and if I was to select from my tastings two of the most exciting 2013 rieslings from each winery, leaving out the super-rare, expensive high-end wines such as beerenausleses and TBAs (many of which will not come to Australia), it would be these:-

Fritz Haag: Brauneberger Kabinett and Brauneberger Juffer Spatlese; Schloss Lieser: Kabinett Feinherb and Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Spatlese; Dr Loosen Blue Slate and Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett; Selbach-Oster (previous tastings): Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Spatlese and Zeltinger Schlossberg Spatlese; Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt: Scharzhofberger Spatlese and Piesporter Goldtropfchen Kabinett; Egon Muller: ‘Scharzhof’ and Scharzhofberger Spatlese. (NB: I did not taste 2013s at J.J. Prum). 

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