From the Heart of the Mittelhaardt: Jürgen and Sabine Mosbacher

From the Heart of the Mittelhaardt: Jürgen and Sabine Mosbacher

Grüße von den allerbesten Werten des deutschen Trockenweinfilets,
                      My first stop this summer when visiting producers to taste the “throwback” 2021 vintage was with Jürgen and Sabine Mosbacher of the Pfalz.  Their wines routinely offer the greatest substance allied to value among producers farming the hallowed Grand cru dry wine sites of the Mittelhaardt, with their home village of Forst being long revered among the best in all of Germany.  Whereas the biggest marketing headlines and price tags are often found among the three “killer Bs” (Bassermann-Jordann, Von Buhl, and Bürklin Wolf), none of which are actually based in Forst and all of which are owned by big moneyed investors/aristocracy, the Mosbachers have always maintained a grounded sense of familial intimacy and modest pricing, with quality that is often right on par with the very best of the region.  Their 2021 collection, which thrilled me for its sense of intensity meets dancing levity, finds them at the very top of their game.  In recent weeks, the Meininger’s Sommelier magazine, a Germany based publication aimed at the Sommelier industry, chose their house best GG, the Forster Jesuitengarten, at the very top of the heap in the Pfalz.  I was not surprised to read such reviews whatsoever, as their lineup of 2021 GGs were self-evident knockouts; I requested magnums on the spot of their very best, something that I only do when it is plain as day that the wines are special……Now that the press has begun to come out, with Stuart Piggott’s superlative notes/scores being the most recent, my intuitions of just how good this Pfalz vintage is continue to be validated.
                       To my taste and sensibilities, what makes these 2021 wines special is their combination of moderate alcohol levels (12-13% max), bright but completely harmonized acidity, and natural concentration from moderate to low yields.  There is a crystalline clarity and energetic rise in the best wines that is supremely balanced and utterly classic in their terroir expression.  I personally prize cooler years in the Pfalz, which continue to prove the exception in our climate change generation.  These 2021s, especially the GGs, epitomize my personal ideals in dry Riesling, which is why I had them bottle so many magnums (something that is only done upon special request)……Sooo, what follows is a comprehensive offer of their 2021 collection, as well as a small smattering of in stock goodies from prior vintages.  To help you focus on the biggest takeaways, here are some bullet points:
-The 2021 GGs are knockout good, with the kind of supreme balance, concentration, and levity that are plain idyllic to me.  I had them bottle Magnums of their best wines of the vintage, the Forster Jesuitengarten, Forster Ungeheuer, Forster Freundstuck, and Deisdesheimer Langenmorgen.  For fans of the noblest dry Rieslings on the planet, you should check in to the array of ’21 GGs, and thank me later.  It does not get better than this for the money in Forst, that is for sure….. 
-The 2021 Erste Lage (premier cru) wines are really good as well, with their flagship Forster Musenhang an absolute knockout.  This is a wine that continues to be recognized as a “best in Germany” caliber example, its upper slope tension, intensity, and complexity speaking for itself as a category transcending example.  Just watch it get “best of Germany” once again… general, the value quotient here is off the charts good.  
-They made a Forster Ungeheuer Spätlese in 2021, something that has only happened a few times over the past decade, and it is an absolute knockout.  Made from completely botrytis free clean fruit, it has the kind of Grand cru complexity and undeniable substance that will make lovers of Mosel Spätlese wide eyed with joyful awe & disbelief.  People seem to uniquely focus on dry wines in the Mittelhaardt, but this example illustrates exactly why prädikat wines made from the best vineyards here should not be forgotten……
PROSE FROM THE 2019 OFFERING: It has been a few years since i’ve offered the untouchable values of Jürgen and Sabine Mosbacher, the surest bet in the most hallowed of German Grand cru dry wine terroirs: the Mittelhaardt village of Forst.  For a summary both of their portion of the Pfalz region and wines, you can read the included prose from prior offers below.  Jumping to the new releases, the 2019 vintage continues to find Riesling lovers in an excited tizzy, as the balance of low yielding natural concentration meets brilliant poise is something very special indeed.  I spoke to Jürgen on the phone two weeks ago, and he tells me that the vintage is clearly a very good one, most similar to 2016 in analytics (11.5%-13% alcohol for the dry wines, and similar bright acidity to animate), but with even more of a sense of dry extract/concentration due to the lower yields.  That sounds like my cup of tea, and then some……
                     What follows is another head-spinning offering of their range of Rieslings, literally every single one of them a surefire bet in substance meets value.  If you are a lifelong Riesling lover or someone yet to discover the merits of buoyant and dancing dry Riesling at its best, these wines will be sure to please one and all.  In addition to the range of ’19s, there is a small treasure trove of goodies in stock from the 2015/2016 vintages, the proverbial gift in hand.  In a town where corporate entities and aristocrats dominate the scene, it is all the more satisfying to me that the Mosbacher family continues to fly the flag for Forst, illustrating exactly why this region is so prized, and at prices that are plain fantastic.  This is dry Riesling for wine lovers, not trophy hunters…..And so……..
                     Roughly one year ago, I fell into a rabbit hole of vinous beauty meets circumstance in the village of Forst, at the perennial overachieving estate of Sabine and Jürgen Mosbacher-Düringer.  Their wines have been a longtime insider favorite among those who celebrate this tenderloin section of the Pfalz, as they regularly capture the longstanding historical nobility of their hometown of Forst at prices that pale in comparison to their more marketing savvy neighbors.  Having tasted through the range of both their dry and shockingly delicious off dry wines with Jürgen, I knew that there was zero denying just how chock full of substance everything is.  Throwing caution to the wind, I offered a dizzying array of their production, hoping that by putting the cart in front of the horse, positive returns would roll back in once folks have had a chance to taste.  Well, that appears to very much be the case for the few folks who have checked in, as many of those same folks have enthusiastically come back for more.   However, as the vast majority of wine lovers are unfamiliar with their work, the message has proved painfully slow in getting out there…….

                 Thus, when David Schildknecht published his reviews last week of the very best of the Pfalz from the cool and chiseled 2016 vintage, I was anxious to see what he thought, in hope that it would create some traction.  Well…..the reviews are nothing but good good and a side of very good, nearly every wine turning David on in step with my own impressions.  He too recognizes the profound sense of substance meets value throughout the range, as well as the qualitative excellence in all things dry to sweet.  What can I say?  Both he and I have good taste….  ;0
                 What follows is an offering of the bounty of entirely in stock goodies, with each and every one of them a US exclusive to Down to Earth wines.  The value quotient is off the charts here, for everything offered.  If you are a fan of classical dry wines, but are unfamiliar with the virtues of Mittelhaardt Pfalz Riesling, you can shoot blind and come up aces.  And if you are fan of off-dry pradikat style wines but have never had examples from the Pfalz that capture the nobility that generations past have always celebrated yet are all but forgotten to a contemporary lens, you should leap at the Spätlese and Auslese wines from the Ungeheuer…..they are knockout good!! And so…..:
                 The Mittelhaardt is a tenderloin portion of Germany’s Pfalz valley whose wines have long been esteemed among the greatest in the country.  In fact, the 19th century Bavarian vineyard classifications placed the highest value in all of modern day Germany on the Grand cru vineyards of one particular town: Forst.  Today, this small village with its 5 Grand crus and 3 premier crus are still revered as the heart of Germany’s finest Grand cru dry wines, this reputation so deeply established that it is written on the side of buildings as you enter town: “Forst mit den besten Weinlagen” (Forst with the best vineyards…).  The prestigious big three “killer Bs” of Burklin Wolf, Basserman Jordan, and Von Buhl all seem to strongly identify with the greatness of the Forster vineyards, enjoying by far the greatest share of the Forster limelight, in spite of the fact that none of them are actually based in Forst.  There is but one brightest star that calls this hallowed ground home: Georg Mosbacher.
                 For over 200 years, the Mosbacher family has tended vines here.  Today, the husband and wife duo of Jürgen and Sabine Mosbacher-Düringer, having met and fallen in love during their formal viticultural studies some 25 years ago, carry that tradition onwards, consistently producing wines with a sense of elegance and self-evident pedigree more than worthy of Forst’s lofty reputation.  It was, in fact, one of their ortswein (aka villages in French) that served as my first introduction to Pfalz riesling over a decade ago in my former retail life.  Like many Americans, I had thought that riesling=sweet, so to try a dry wine that possessed such a sense of refinement and buoyant delicacy was a revelation.  With how good the simple ortswein level wine was, I had always wanted to try a broader swath of their production, as complete of a collection of all-things Forst under a single roof as you will find anywhere, but their former importer, Peter Weygandt, brought in very little.  In a cursory survey of the marketplace, I noticed that none of their wines post 2011 had made it Stateside, yet another head-scratcher of an oversight on the part of American importers at large.  I had this in the back of my mind during my recent trip to Germany, but I had no concrete plan whatsoever……
                 When passing through Forst on a sleepy Sunday evening in late May, the thought occurred to me: why not stop by to see what’s up?  No one was around, but I made it a point to check in bright and early the next day.  I pulled up and found Jürgen in the winery, forklifting away.  I briefly introduced myself, asked if they had any US representation, and with a handshake and an afternoon rendez-vous in place, continued on to my appointment with the Rings brothers in nearby Freinsheim (whose phenomenal 2016/2015 wines will be offered soon).
                On a scorcher of a day pushing 95+ degrees, Jürgen and I settled in to their tasting room and got to work, tasting through a huge range of their bottled 2015 and 2016 production.  Whilst I had the expectation that the level of quality was consistently high throughout the range, with my respected friend David Schildknecht having awarded literally every single wine in the range 90+ points for their 2014 collection, I wasn’t really prepared for just how rock solid/worthy every single bottling that I tasted is.  I will save my blow by blow commentary for the Menu portion of the program, but trust me when I say that in substance allied to value, this is as good as it gets in Mittelhaardt majesty, part of why I am including nearly their entire range of riesling from both 2015 and 2016……

Pretty much floored that wines such as these could go unrecognized in the US, I asked Jürgen: “Has anyone approached you from the US about working together?”.   He said, “Nope”.  “Have you approached anyone?,” I asked.  He said no, adding, “Sabine and I always figured that the right person would find us.”  “Well here I am,” I said with a smile…..As with most of the Mittelhaardt’s best, they have a large and faithful base of direct customers, accounting for the vast majority of their total sales, so the export market isn’t nearly as important (or lucrative) for them.  Nonetheless, to be present and recognized in a market as large and “important” as the US holds an important validating place for winegrowers everywhere, it seems…It is my honor to present to you a long overdue, never-before-seen breadth of their work, from two terrific and contrasting vintages:  The concentration and power of the solar 2015, and the more moderate, filigree, and playful 2016.  There is truly something for everyone here, so…if you can’t mix up a 6pk/case, with a range whose substance and value are bursting at the seams, well……what else can I do?   :0        

2021 Riesling trocken – The Mosbacher “basic” Riesling is a hugely important cuvée for them, accounting for some 50%+ of their total production.  This wine gave me a very clear indication of the character and quality on hand in low-octane 2021, startling me to attention.  My note: “Wonderfully bright, clean, and animated.  Quintessential Pfalz peachy aromatics, and a very precise and filigree playful sense on the palate.  This is a wonderful basic Riesling.” In value for your dollar, purity, and precision, this is a value hound delight.  A little * awarded here. 12% alcohol.
Ortsweine (village level wines): The heart of the Mittelhaardt is comprised of Forst and its neighboring two villages: Wachenheim to the north, and Deidesheim to the south.  Here we have three outstanding dry examples to illustrate the three principal soil types of the Mittelhaardt (please take these characterizations with a grain of salt): basalt, which is a rare, hard, black volcanic rock, at once both powerfully mineral and rich;  kalk, aka limestone, a hard white stone known for its driving, linear, mineral punch, the leanest of the three in fruit; and buntsandstein, aka sandstone, a tan colored slightly softer rock type whose “palate attack” is more in breadth, both for its juicy tropical/peachy fruit and mineral qualities.  All three of these terroir-centric ortsweine, a project fully in place since 2009, are plain outstanding successes in expressing the qualities of these soil types, while providing undeniable refreshment and pleasure…. Value hounds, head up!
Kalkstein Deidesheim trocken – Sourced almost entirely from the upper reaches of the Hergottsacker, this is the limestone display piece, which it does with aplomb.  Salty mineral, lean and linear, this smells and tastes of high lime content flavors/aromas, and is plain delicious……12.5% alcohol.
Basalt Forst trocken – This bottling has become a reference point example of Forster volcanic nobility for the budgeteer/value hound, sourced from portions of the Mosbacher‘s massive 1.8 hectare holding in the Ungeheuer GG, as well as the young vine Pechstein GG.  My impression of the 2021: “Tight and compact, this has some serious volcanic stuffing, very much a baby GG in substance.  This will need some time to stretch out a bit.”  This is pretty darn good….12.5% alcohol.
“Like last year’s “Basalt” bottling, this is sourced from young vines in Pechstein plus some Ungeheuer, but only the first of two pickings of Pechstein was utilized, with the grapes that were left hanging longer once again informing a Pechstein Grosses Gewächs. A fragrant and luscious amalgam of apple, white peach and grapefruit is pungently and coolingly laced with pennyroyal and mint. Polished, flatteringly glossy and generously juicy, the wine finishes with outstanding persistence, coriander seed piquancy, actively stony mineral impingement and a marine salinity that intrigues even as it tugs at the salivary glands. And the 13% alcohol is completely sloughed off. Here is certainly an instance where the wine’s class of vineyard origins – notwithstanding young vines – shows through. But I find it curious that a wine so reliant on what Mosbacher and Düringer considered the lesser of two Pechstein selections performed more impressively on this occasion than their Pechstein Grosses Gewächs. An observation I have frequently made at this address definitely applies in this instance: Can’t afford one of the Grosse Gewächse? You will be more than consoled by the best of Mosbacher’s village- and rock-designated bottlings sourced from top sites.” 92 David Schildknecht for the 2016, NOT THE 2021 OFFERED HERE
Buntsandstein Wachenheim trocken – The last of the “rock type” villages bottlings hails from the lower portions of the Gerümpel Erste Lage where sandstone is dominant (interestingly, the Mosbacher Erste Lage Gerümpel bottling is sourced from limestone soils at the very top of the cru, a fascinating contrast).  In typical sandstone fashion, this is much more aromatic and fruity, in a quintessential Pfalz peachy vein; it also carries with it that spherically expansive sense of sandstone minerality.  It its sense of peachy juiciness and charm, coupled with an unmistakable mineral sense, I found this to be the most complete and charming of the three soil type villages bottlings in 2021.  A little * awarded here. 12.5% alcohol.
“Originating once again with mid-slope Gerümpel fruit, this features muskmelons and Persian melons on a heady nose and a glossy, lusciously fruity palate. Alkaline and saline notes serve for counterpoint and saliva-inducement on a superbly sustained finish. Would that more of Germany’s Grosse Gewächse would display this much sensual allure and irresistible generosity. Those virtues are by no means incompatible with complex mineral notes and depth.” 92 David Schildknecht for the 2016, NOT THE 2021 OFFERED HERE.
Erste Lage wines (Premier crus) : I think that the entire range offers pretty much ridiculously good value, but the premier cru wines may take the cake in the quality/price sweepstakes.  Do yourself a favor and mix up a case…….you will be oh-so-glad that you did, as I can guarantee that it will be nothing but joyful and guilt free discovery for you……The Musenhang is seeeeriously good!!
2021 Forster Stift – There are but three Erste Lage vineyards in Forst, with the Mosbachers having holdings in all three.  The first two are from lower lying vineyards adjacent to the village, with the Stift being on the north side of town, and even further “downhill” than all other Forst vineyards.  Here in the lower laying flats, they had big time issues with crop losses, and so the wine is even more concentrated than usual.  My note: “Quite peachy fruity, then in the mouth, all built around the dry extract/acidity/minerality.  This is delicious….”. 12.5% alcohol.
2021 Forster Elster – The second of the Forster Erste Lagen is from fine sandy soils on the southern side of town, roughly at the same height on the hill as the Grösse Gewächse.  This one is an all around crowd pleaser, open knit, easy, and inviting.  Jürgen referred to this as a “baby Ungeheuer”, I suppose for its proximity (the two vineyards touch) moreso than the wine’s character.  My note: “More herbaceous and reticent aromatically, then a fuller fleshier fruity palate.  This should be a crowd pleaser.”  12% alcohol.
“Fresh apple and white peach deliver an impression of ripeness and juiciness, to the point of suggesting slight sweetness. A polished palate and a stone-lined, mouthwateringly salt-tinged finish display a sense of buoyancy that is remarkable for a wine that harbors 12.5 percent alcohol.” 90 David Schildknecht for the 2015, NOT THE 2021 OFFERED HERE
2021 Deidesheimer Maushöhle – Here is where things start to get much more serious….This wine is just a knockout good value, quite complete in its Pfalz foodgroups of higher toned stone fruits/citrus/sandstone minerality.  My impression of the 2021: From the sandstone soils of the Mäushöhle, this presents pale peachy aromatics that then turn wonderfully playful and dancing on the palate, with an outstanding sense of finesse, moderation, and complexity; its minerality creeps in breadth as opposed the linear attack of limestone or the explosiveness of volcanic.  A little * awarded here. 12.5% alc.
“The penetrating, high-toned nose suggests lemon peel and sour mash. Lemony brightness, sweet corn succulence and hickory nut piquancy are underlain with wet stone on a polished, glossy palate, leading to a finish of invigorating pith and penetration, laced with mouthwatering marine minerals.” 91 David Schildknecht for the 2016, NOT THE 2021 OFFERED HERE
2021 Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten – A third year entrant in the range, this is an absolutely lovely lovely wine, all about airyness and prettiness.  Sabine tells me that, along with the perennial rockhead favorite Musenhang, this wine presents some of the best linear, driving Riesling character in the range of 1er crus.  I found its sense of perfumey intensity and weightlessness to be wonderfully classy and delicate, quite impressive…..a little star * awarded here. 12.5% alcohol.
2021 Deidesheimer Leinhöhle – This is one of Jürgen and Sabine’s pet favorite wines in nearly every vintage, and I very much can understand why…..its combination of charm and substance is simply undeniable.  On the day that I tasted the 2021, it seemed out of sorts a bit, with rich fruit driven aromatics, but without the kind of dynamism and focus in the mouth that I expect.  Maybe it was having a bad day…..
“Subtly bittersweet, iris-like floral top notes complement ripe pear and apple, leading to a lusciously fruited, polished palate impression and a finish that displays transparency to mineral and floral nuances as well as infectious, bright juiciness reminiscent of this estate’s outstanding 2014s. What’s more, an influx of mineral salts serves to activate the salivary glands. Astonishingly, given its elegance and complete lack of any heaviness, this bottling reached 13 percent alcohol. It is almost certainly an illustration of the advantages in 2015 of a slightly cooler site that could accordingly be picked a bit later.” 91 David Schildknecht for the 2015, NOT THE 2021 OFFERED HERE
2021 Forster Musenhang – The Musenhang is from limestone soils at the very top of the hill in Forst, right up against the forest.  I would say that the Mosbachers are somewhat reknowned for this bottling, as its cool, chiseled limestone punch and citrus fruit freshness offer an undeniably complex Forster experience at a pittance of a ticket price.  In fact, the 2019 was chosen by some leading publication (which exactly escapes me at the moment) as a “best of Germany” example, and they have been flooded with interest in the years since.  This bottling is always picked later, and always has a smidge higher acidity than its Erste Lage stablemates.  For those whose prefer more tonic/linear/mineral expressions of dry Riesling, this is for you….it doesn’t get better than this for the money, y’all.  My impression of the 2021: “Class!!! A no doubt, no brainer kind of immediacy: in upper register limestone complexity and tension, this is class in a glass, with a gorgeous sense of proportion, balance, layered complexity, and precision.  Get what you can justify, as this stuff is outstanding, once again…” A little * awarded here.  12.5% alc.
“Lime, lemon and white peach are accompanied on the nose by high-toned green herbal essences as well as stony anticipations of the tactile mineral impingement that ensues on an otherwise polished, brightly juicy palate. Pronounced piquancy of peach kernel and citrus peels is invigoratingly integrated without turning outright bitter, while alkaline and saline notes serve for intrigue and saliva-inducement on a superbly sustained finish. (For information about this site – from which Düringer and Mosbacher source a consistently exemplary wine – consult the review in my previous report of the corresponding 2015.)” 92 David Schildknecht for the 2016, NOT THE 2021 OFFERED HERE
2021 Wachenheimer Gerumpel – The Gerümpel is presented as the last Erste Lage, and is the most expensive on their pricelist.  This tells you what the Mosbachers think of this site/bottling…As mentioned earlier, the Mosbachers source this wine from the tippy top NW corner of the cru, right up on the Altenburg, where the soils are dominantly limestone, a somewhat exceptional example of the site that is much more commonly known for its bundsandstein peachy spiciness, as one finds at Bürklin Wölf, for example.  My note from the 2021: “This year’s Gerümpel offers a between worlds personality: both the limestone aroma/flavor elements and the sandstone richer stone fruit qualities intermingle.  I would say that at the moment, it isn’t presenting as much flavor clarity/precision as the best of the 1er crus, but this is a notoriously slow developing wine.” 12.5% alcohol.
“Ripe peach and apricot are alluringly garlanded with lilac on a seductively heady nose and then saturate a silken-textured palate, where hints of oregano and fresh lemon offer welcome invigoration and brightness. Peach kernel and lemon seed convey a piquant glow to the finish without precluding infectious juiciness and consummate refreshment.” 91 David Schildknecht for the 2015, NOT THE 2021 OFFERED HERE
Grösses Gewächs wines (Grand crus): Without an ounce of doubt, the Mosbachers are the surest bet in Grand cru value in these most hallowed of Grand cru grounds….compared to Bürklin Wolf, for example, the prices are literally half/third!, and the wines are in a very close echelon qualitatively.  If you want to better understand the many facets of the noblest Forst terroir (and Grand cru dry German wine in general) at the most consumer friendly prices to be found anywhere, this should be one not to miss…….To get such elegant intensity, with all of the GGs between 12.5%-13% alcohol, is the kind of lower octane balance that is my cup of tea, and something that is increasingly difficult to achieve in the Pfalz.  For what it is worth, the Jesuitengarten was recently chosen in the German magazine Meininger’s Sommelier as one of the top scoring Pfalz GG wine of the 2021 vintage (95 points, with the highest scoring single wine at 97 points).  I’m tellin’ ‘ya, I only order magnums on the spot when the wines are outstanding, which I did here (and you can see, I chose very well….).   
2021 Deidesheimer Kieselberg GG  – This Deidesheimer bottling presents quintessential Pfalz fruit flavors of ripe peach/apricot, with a terrific sense of overall balance and completeness.  It reminds me of the Leinhöhle’s best qualities, that of quintessential Pfalz fruit flavors, coupled with sandstone minerality, but in a classier/nobler vein.  This is terrific……..12.5% alcohol.
“Wonderfully ripe yet delicate nose of ripe apricot. Maybe this is not the most complex dry riesling of the vintage in Germany, but it’s certainly one of the most immediately appealing. I love the way all this ripeness and substance come off as light and animating. Long, very polished finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.” 94 Stuart Piggott
2021 Deidesheimer Langenmorgen GG – In addition to the delectable range of Forst Grand crus, this is the third vintage for a Deidesheimer Grand cru from the Langenmorgen.  Considering that they choose to price the wine at the same level as their best Forst Grand cru (the Jesuitengarten), that speaks volumes to me of the quality one can expect……I personally thought it was beyond evidently Grand cru caliber in its complete nature, offering fruit driven immediacy of pleasure, with wonderfully dynamic and focused complexity coming in layers, both aromatically and in the mouth.  This is a no doubt Grand cru wine, and I asked for 6 magnums on the spot.  A little * awarded here.  13% alcohol.  Its only deficit is that people don’t know the Langenmorgen that well.
“Hard to resist this one! Tons of papaya and ripe citrus aromas pour from the glass of this well-structured, yet juicy Pfalz dry riesling. The longer it stands in the glass the more its juicy side dominates. Full, long finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.” 94 Stuart Piggott
2021 Forster Freundstuck GG – Translating literally as “Friend’s piece”, the Freundstück is both the smallest and most delicate of the Forster Grand crus, located directly behind the Mosbacher winery.  This 2021 epitomizes this gentle caress of a style, both its aromatic delicacy/charm, and in the mouth.  It is pure delicacy, dancing on the palate in featherlight fashion.  This is tremendously classy, delicate, and playful.  Soul soothing loveliness.  I am thrilled to be able to offer such a lovely reference point example, and asked for mags immediately.  It seems that Piggott didn’t review this one, but trust me……A little star * awarded here.  13% alc.
2021 Forster Pechstein GG  This 2021 is the seventh rendition of the Mosbacher Pechstein since it was replanted in 2012.  For the first few vintages, the majority of the fruit was used in the Forster Basalt Ortswein.  In just its third leaf, based upon the evident character in cask, Jürgen and Sabine surprisingly elected to bottle a Grosses Gewächs Pechstein in 2015.  The 2021’s rich fruit display and powerful volcanic minerality are indeed present with the young face of Pechstein, with a certain tenderness relative to the other GGs in the range…..nonetheless, for someone who wants to get to know the Pechstein without breaking the bank, this is your player.   12.5% alcohol.
“Rather complex rose hip, wild blackberry and yellow apple aromas pull you into this juicy and elegant dry riesling that’s got a firm mineral core, but is so easy to enjoy right away. Long, very clean finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.” 93 Stuart Piggott
2021 Forster Ungeheuer GG – In what has to be considered the house specialty, the Ungeheuer is the largest holding for the Mosbachers who possess 1.8 hectares in total from morcellated bits of contrasting soil content/character throughout the vineyard.  With this large palette to choose from, they vinify all of the pieces separately, and then blend together the very best bits of the site to create an even more complex whole.  And trust me folks, they succeed masterfully in doing so…..This is so undeniably classy, multifaceted, and complete, as good as it gets to my taste….get some and thank me later!  A little * awarded here. 12.5% alcohol.
“Very expressive nose with notes of fresh and some dried tarragon, as well as Asian pear and white peach fruit. Not bone dry, but the hint of natural grape sweetness really accentuates the sensual aspect of this many-sided dry riesling. Very long, complex finish that’s remarkably polished for this challenging vintage. From organically grown grapes.” 95 Stuart Piggott
“A juicy, salty, piquant suggestion of white peach near the core is accompanied by Forst-typical high-toned, pungent green herbal notes, here suggestive of peppermint and wintergreen. The palate is silken, cooling, generously juicy and invigoratingly tangy and piquant. The finish is brightly penetrating and delivers the vibrant active sense of mineral and herbal impingement that characterizes top basaltic Forst sites at their best, and that was not so much evidenced in the corresponding young-vines Pechstein. “Bear in mind,” noted Sabina Mosbacher-Düringer when I complimented this wine for a clarity and precision not so often achieved from Ungeheuer, “that with our relatively large surface area on this site, we are able to be more selective than in some other sites.” What’s more, their roughly four acres are split over numerous parcels whose individual microclimates may well contribute enhanced eventual complexity. If you want to know why Ungeheuer – or at least, the best portions of this large Einzellage – are considered top terroir, this wine deliciously explains. Incidentally, it was raised in two of the estate’s remaining old Stückfässer, one of which fermented spontaneously and one of which was yeasted.” 93 David Schildknecht for the 2016, NOT THE 2019 OFFERED HERE.
2021 Forster Jesuitengarten GG  – I am thrilled to be able to offer a great example of the Jesuitengarten, a wine that Jürgen explains as being somewhere between the delicacy of the Freundstück and the implosive power/class of the Kirchenstück.  This wine is always the highest in demand of their GGs, selling out on subscription from loyal customers (Jesuitengarten has a huge following among insiders/long time fans of Forst riesling).  In lacy elegance meets power, this is a ballerina of a wine that I simply adore…..get some and thank me later…..a little * awarded here.  13% alcohol.
“How could any white wine drinker not go for this? A classic Pfalz dry riesling with the combination of exotic ripeness, juicy fruit and generous underlying structure that makes these wines so exciting. Very long, crisp, yet expansive finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.” 95 Stuart Piggott
“A haunting nose delivers lavender, sage, iris and chamomile, along with hints of white peach, which lends subsequent juiciness. As with the corresponding 2015, this exhibits an especially flatteringly silken, subtly creamy texture in comparison with the other Mosbacher bottlings. Peach kernel and almond serve for piquant counterpoint, and billowing, bittersweet floral perfume persists inner-mouth. A slight, supportive suggestion of sweetness is engendered in part by much higher residual sugar (at 8.5 grams) than in the other Mosbacher Grosse Gewächse, but also by richness of fruit and sheer extract. The vibrantly sustained finish stimulates in a cooling, resonant manner quite distinctive from the more insistent and tactile sense of herbal and mineral impingement delivered by the corresponding Ungeheuer. This polished performance beautifully illustrates the elegance and eloquence of which the renowned Jesuitengarten is capable.” 94 David Schildknecht for the 2016, NOT THE 2019 OFFERED HERE
Prädikat off-dry wine: Off-dry wines are increasingly rare in the Mittelhaardt, but when one does encouter great examples like this year’s Ungeheuer Spätlese, if is a reminder of a lost cultural legacy.  This Spätlese is a knockout, and not to be missed for fans of the style…you will thank me!!!
2021 Deidesheimer Feinherb – Sourced from the Maushöhle and Leinhöhle Erste Lage vineyards, this is lovely lovely by any measure, yet another compelling example of the irrepressible charm and versatility of the feinherb style.  My note: “This is just lovely lovely, in charm, brightness, featherweight on the palate, just lovely….”.  I love me some feinherb…..
2021 Forster Kabinett – From the Stift Erste Lage, this is not the last word in complexity, but man, is it delicious……
2021 Forster Ungeheuer Spätlese – The Mosbachers lament that they have a hard time selling prädikat wine, even when it is as outrageously good as this…..hailing uniquely from the Ungeheuer Grand cru, from fruit that was completely botrytis free, this has the layered complexity, soul soothing charm, and impossible poise of Spätlese at its very best.  This is drop dead gorgeous Grand cru Spätlese, folks, its just that people don’t expect great Spätlese from the Mittelhaardt.  Don’t miss it….a little * awarded here.
Jürgen and Sabine’s wines continue to hum below the radar, an undiscovered gem hidden in plain view.  Riesling lovers of any and all ilk would do themselves justice to check in to see exactly what David Schildknecht and I already know: the heart of Mittelhaardt majesty lives here, run by a transgenerational family (rather than large corporate interest which seems to dominate around here) at prices that are simply untouchable……
As always, with any questions or interests:

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