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Sweet wines of the Mosel

by Tom Cannavan, 12/02

The wines were not tasted blind. All are low in alcohol (7 - 8% typically) and prices are in pounds sterling

Dr Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett 2000 - £7.72
This has a subdued nose of waxy, lightly bruised pear and some herbal qualities. On the palate there is good sweetness, with a lemony core of fruit and a little suggestion of minerality. Tart green apple adds a counterpoint of acidity. Really very pleasant wine from a difficult vintage. Very good.

JJ Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Spätlese 1999 - £10.64
Pure, reserved, fine and steely on the nose, with gentle waxiness and a honeyed edge to pure, ripe apple fruit. Lovely palate. Medium- to full-bodied with a rich texture, but a rolling, peachy sweetness set against shimmering acidity. Lovely poise and length here. Very good indeed/excellent.

Kurt Hain Piesporter Domherr Auslese 1999 - £9.80
Delicate, waxy, floral tinged fruit with a nice ashy minerality. Delightfully lively palate, with racy lemon and pink grapefruit flavours in a medium-bodied format. Luscious sweetness comes through, but then fine acidity makes its presence felt. Little notes of herbs and plenty of waxy citrus into the finish. Lovely balance, and very good indeed.

Dr Loosen Erdener Prälat Auslese 2000 - £12.64 (37.5cl)
Alluring mix of peach, tropical fruit and honey, all edged with a racy minerality. On the palate it is deliciously sweet with honeyed, praline and cracknel flavours and apricot fruit. It is medium-bodied and nicely balanced, with a pure waxy finish and gentle but persistent acidity. Very good indeed.

Kees-Kieren Graacher Himmelreich Auslese 2001 - £20.10
I was terribly impressed by an earlier tasting of this wine in the summer, so was keen to try it again. It has a gorgeously deep nose. There are little toffee nuances to rich stone fruit aromas, with notes of honey and almond. Lovely on the palate, with a medium-body and really delightful, agile, shimmering fruit quality. There is intense fruit sweetness at its core, and sparky, sherbetty acidity. This has lovely length and balance, and really is delightful. Excellent.

Karthäuserhof Karthäuserhofberg Auslese 2001 Nr 33 - £24.42
Quite a deep, herbal, slightly nettly note on the nose here, with sour fig aromas and interesting floral notes. The palate has full sweetness, with delicious nectarine fruit, and a lovely rich texture. Citrus acidity balances, and this has good length. Very good/very good indeed.

Markus Molitor Haus Klosterberg Graacher Domprobst Beerenauslese 1993 - £30.78 (37.5cl)
Deep, glowing gold colour. Subdued nose with lots of honey and a little peachy fruit. The palate has a luscious honey and lemon sweetness, but it seems a little one-dimensional, though long and well-balanced. Very good.

Kees-Kieren Graacher Himmelreich Beerenauslese 1993 - £25.13 (37.5cl)
Lighter golden colour. Light, soft, ground nut and honeyed aromas. Delicate. On the palate medium-bodied, with a racier style than the previous wine, but still lovely sweetness and ripe, juicy, quite lucious nectarine fruit. Good balance and a more lively acidity. Very good indeed.

Karthäuserhof Karthäuserhofberg Eiswein 2001 Nr 41 - £36.79 (37.5cl)
Intense, super-concentrated nose with floral nuances to a core of minerality, and a flooding of honeyed fruit beneath. The palate has great concentration too, though there's a grapefruity edge that keeps it quite sharp. Lovely sweet fruit; honey again, and that mineral acidity asserts itself, legthening the finish. Fabulous stuff. Excellent.

Messmer Ruländer Trockenbeerenauslese 1994 - £32.12 (37.5cl)
Deep buttercup yellow/gold. Gorgeous nose of deep, figgy fruit, quince and warm, runny honey on toast. Very attractive. The palate is thick and viscose, with luscious, intense marmalade and dried apricot flavours. Notes of stewed tea and prunes, all wrapped in an intense layering of honey. Lovely acidity here, with fine balancing citrus and apple zestiness. Long and pure. This is a fabulous Tba from the Ruländer grape, otherwise known as Pinot Gris. Excellent/outstanding.

Messmer Scheurebe Trockenbeerenauslese 1994 - £58.43 (37.5cl)
Scheurebe is a high-quality cross of Riesling and Silvaner. This dramatically deep, tawny-coloured wine took four years to complete fermentation. Sump-oil thick, it coats the glass and offers aromas of raisins and caramel, spice and herb-tinged stone fruits. Syrupy and thick on the palate, this has astonshing density, and more honey emerges, coating the mouth. It is warming and concentrated, with floral and spice nuances, and sufficient acidity to avoid overload, but it is a touch one-dimensional and lacks the decisiveness of the previous wine. Intriguing though, and very good indeed.