The Somm Journal

Dec 2015-Jan 2016

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Page 58 of 124

58 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2015/2016 W ine from the Mosel region of Germany has been famous since Roman times; however, it was the Elbling (Albus) grape, a high-yielding variety which produces a relatively neutral, acidic white wine, that dominated plantings during this period. Despite its promi - nence in the Mosel today, Riesling isn't mentioned in German viticulture until the 1450s and didn't represent a majority of the Mosel's plantings until the late 19th century. It didn't take long for the two to acclimate to each other. It can be argued that no other wine possesses Riesling's com - bination of varietal intensity and ethereal balance.Writer Jancis Robinson says that Riesling "could claim to be the finest white grape variety in the world on the longevity of its wines and their ability to transmit the characteristics of a vineyard without losing Riesilng's own inimitable style." The Mosel demonstrates Riesling's synergy of intensity and balance more dramatically than anywhere else in the world. The Mosel River originates in the Vosges Mountains of France, heading east, ultimately entering Germany, where it wanders erratically for almost 150 miles through Germany's Mosel wine- growing region before finally flowing into the Rhine. The Mittel Mosel, a spectacular stretch of multiple turns of the river from the villages of Liewen to Erden, represents hallowed ground within the 20,000 acres of grapes planted within the greater Mosel region. And it is the northern portion of the Mittel Mosel, from Bernkastel to Erden, that produces what many consider the Holy Grail of Riesling. The Mosel River deserves most of the credit for this; it heads northwest from Bernkastel, veers north as it reaches Zeltingen and finally northeast as it passes by Erden, giving the steep hillside vineyards along the river crucial south and southwest exposures. These exposures enable the late ripening Riesling grape, more often than not, an opportunity to achieve perfect maturity and incredible intensity of flavor. Raimund Prüm, who has guided the estate for the last 45 years, with his wife, Pirjo, the estate's Sommelier. The celebrated blue slate soil of the Mosel. The Prüm family has owned vineyards in the Mittel Mosel since 1156 and has produced wine commercially for more than 200 years. Over time, the family has fragmented into a col- lection of wineries, most of which have Prüm somewhere in their name. The original Prüm winery was founded by Sebastian Alois Prüm in the early 19th century. Sebastian's only son that married, Mathias, had seven children and named one of his sons Sebastian after his father. It was the young Sebastian Alois Prüm who continued to run the original winery after Mathias died,

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