Wet auctions and Two Hands

I Mosel-ed, I Saar-ed, I Ruwer-ed: One American�s Quest to Conquer Germany�s 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.

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  • I absolutely adore the appropriation of the word Mosel as a verb. To "mosel" is wonderfully evocative, especially w/r/t all the bends in the river.

    Jan 18, 2010 at 11:04 AM

  • Snooth User: bonest
    263919 1

    I lived for 8yrs near the Mosel river, and recommend the wines highly, and also the region. If you ever get the chance, spend a few days driving from Trier to Koblenz along the Mosel. The scenery is breathtaking, and explore the Hunsruck or Eiffel on either side by driving up and down the treacherous switchbacks.

    Jan 18, 2010 at 1:25 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 7,094

    Thanks, Justin, for the info on the wet auctions and the wittily told anecdotes. Certainly the best post on rieslings I've seen in the past year on Snooth (or anywhere else, for that matter). Definitely had me salivating, if not also wishing I had a good Porsche to follow you in your drive....

    Was wondering, Snooth editors, if the transition from the third to the fourth page was missing something?

    Jan 18, 2010 at 2:03 PM

  • Snooth User: Chris Carpita
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    33093 5,528

    Thank you Justin, I enjoyed reading that. Makes me want to Mosel on down to our wine collection. Also I had little idea about wet auctions, and I want to learn more now!

    Jan 18, 2010 at 3:49 PM

  • Snooth User: Mark Angelillo
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    2 6,224

    Great article. I've shared a few bottles of riesling from Mosel, but haven't even begun to scratch the surface.

    Jan 18, 2010 at 5:53 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 203,894

    That really was fun reading, both for the winegeek in me and the vicarious thrill seeker!

    Jan 21, 2010 at 5:00 PM

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