Wet auctions and Two Hands
I Mosel-ed, I Saar-ed, I Ruwer-ed: One AmericanÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s Quest to Conquer GermanyÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s Finest Wines at the Wet Auctions
At the other end of the spectrum, the VDP Mosel auction is held in a more stale, modern building in Trier and the senses, previously engaged, were distracted by the extensive slideshow on the big screen behind the auctioneer detailing each producer’s exploits of the vintage as their lots came up for bid. The big names were there: JJ Prum, Fritz Haag, and Dr. Loosen. I was taken by the wines of Schloos Lieser run by Thomas Haag, son of Wilhelm Haag, the owner of Fritz Haag; particularly by his sweet 2008 Auslese Goldkapsel which was a truly a rich dessert wine, rare for the vintage; but sadly the secret was out as his wine soared above the presale starting bid of 50 Euros to reach nearly 140 Euros. I did manage to snag some of the minty, floral with bittersweet, red peach Willi Schaffer Spatlese 2008 from the rich Graacher Domprobst vineyard while eyeing the riper, pricier Auslese (more of the same but on steroids with its unctuous texture going on and on while flying buttressed by splendid acidity: wine of the tasting for me). The most crowded table was populated by the druidlike worshipers of the iconic wines of Scharzhofberger vineyard from the similarly godlike Egon Muller, whose stately bald head has been a beacon for searing Saar Riesling. The wines were icebergs of their true potential, difficult to taste as yearlings, call me back in 20 years please. In the back seat, found: St.Martins pretzels, not contaminated by preservatives, grown hard as slate or more like granite. Tasting upwards of 40 wines again, I had to settle for a repair wine, a wine which is light and somewhat sparkling like a repair beer. Soon a glass of federweisser was silently placed with a smile in front of me, a seasonal but suspicious looking drink. Yes, this was an Okotberfest of a different sort in the Mosel, it turned out to be a strange partially fermented wine must of the new year for only 2 Euros that my German partners egged me onto drink then watched with amusement as I gingerly sipped. The Rheingau rung of the VDP hosts the largest of the wet auctions at the historic Kloster Eberbach. I was pleasantly lost admist its spacious gardens and numerous buildings before stumbling into the tasting slightly late. Beneath the airy vaulted ceilings inspiring awe, even those already converted to the Riesling religion the top growers of the Rheingau were all in tow: Schloss Vollrads, Schloss Johannisberg, and Robert Weil. Numerous offering by the state run estate abounded that ran the gamut from gravelly Erstes Gewachs(the Rheingau version of the Grosses Gewachs grand cru designation), to spicy piney, dry Pinot Noirs from the Assmanhauser Hollenberg vineyard to a rare, figgy Trockenbeerenauslese dessert Pinot noir.