Focus on the Mosel – Wine & Spirits Magazine

Focus on the Mosel


Our blind panels tasted 176 wines from the Mosel for this issue. Tara Q. Thomas, our critic for German wines, rated 42 as exceptional (90+) and 15 as Best Buys. Here, we've published the top wines in their categories and their tasting notes, free to read on our website for two weeks. Afterwards, this collection will remain accessible to Digital Subscribers. Find a complete list of wines tasted and all reviews on our searchable database.

BEST BUYS

95 | Selbach-Oster | $32

2020 Mosel Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Spätlese (Best Buy)

This feels like happy wine, joyous in its burst of fresh, vivid flavor. The vibrant acidity and saline notes make it all the more mouthwatering, adding tang and zip to the apple, citrus and tropical fruit. A shim of mineral flavor, reminiscent of wet slate, supports its prodigious fruit, adding a balancing savor that carries into the long finish. Super youthful, this deserves time to settle down and reveal its complexities, but it's so immediate and thirst-quenching that it's hard to put down the glass. Skurnik Wines, NY


94 | Max Ferd. Richter | $34

2020 Mosel Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett (Best Buy)

This steep, sunny slope, with its ruddy soils, turned out a massive Kabinett in 2020. It's immediately arresting, with a presence that goes beyond simple flavor characteristics. Sure, there's lots of fleshy peach flavor and lemony acidity, a hit of herbal savor and some broad umami notes adding complexity and texture, but it all comes with a confidence that makes it a little awe-inspiring. Delicious now, this can also age well, making it an exceptional bargain at the price. Massanois, NY/Shiverick Imports, Los Angeles, CA


93 | Selbach-Oster | $30

2020 Mosel Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett (Best Buy)

This 2020 bears the lean, lithe feeling of the cool vintage, gliding in on notes of barely ripe peach and nectarine, and lasting with a spring-water minerality. It's as firm as it is elegant, wanting only a decant at this young age to show its best. Skurnik Wines, NY


92 | Meulenhof | $30

2020 Mosel Erdener Treppchen Alte Reben Riesling Spätlese (Best Buy)

This is a huge wine, its lush lemon sweetness filled out with creamy notes of cherimoya and earth. The satin texture holds a vein of saline minerality that adds balance and brings it to a fresh finish. Skurnik Wines, NY


91 | Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler | $21

2020 Mosel Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett (Best Buy)

There's a rich, musky undertone to this wine's citrusy fruit, in notes of tarragon and fresh ginger. It's full bodied and complex, on the dry side of Kabinett, with a mix of sour orange, lime and umami flavors that would be amazing with Cuban-style roast pork. Winesellers, Niles, IL


88 | S.A. Prüm | $14

2020 Mosel Essence Riesling (Best Buy)

Round and firm, this packs more pear and citrus flavors than you might expect for $14. It's firm, plump in the center and dry in the end, ready to pour for fried chicken. Taub Family Selections, Boca Raton, FL


88 | J&H Selbach | $20

2019 Mosel Saar Riesling Kabinett (Best Buy)

This is ripe but firm, with potpourri notes of lavender and clove, and a clean apple-juice sweetness. Skurnik Wines, NY


87 | Clean Slate | $12

2020 Mosel Riesling (Best Buy)

Sweet and limey, with a punch of green-apple flavor in the center, this is a light, fresh riesling to chill for aperitifs. Winebow, NY


87 | Fritz Zimmer | $17

2020 Mosel Single Vineyard Riesling Spätlese (Best Buy)

Lemony acidity bolsters this wine's gentle baked apple and apricot flavors. Chill it for brunch. Winesellers, Niles, IL

RIESLING TROCKEN

93 | Willi Schaefer | $32

2020 Mosel Graacher Riesling Trocken

Austerely dry, this is all mineral notes and pithy lemon flavor, framed in crisp acidity. The wine has the energy of a sound wave-a weightless pulse, pushing toward another sip. Skurnik Wines, NY


92 | Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler | $20

2019 Mosel Urziger Würzgarten Riesling Dry

Layers of flavor give this wine a filigreed delicacy. It's quiet and savory, with notes of underripe peach, wet slate and green tea. The roundness of its texture makes it especially inviting. Vinum Cos, Buffalo Grove, IL


91 | A.J. Adam | $27

2020 Mosel Dhroner Hofberg Riesling Trocken

From vineyards in the valley along the Dhron, a tributary of the Mosel, this has a comforting warmth and richness. Vinified entirely in stainless steel, it's floral and peachy, going to tropical notes of passionfruit at its center; an umami earthiness adds a balancing savor. A substantial wine, this it built for richer dishes. Skurnik Wines, NY


91 | Selbach-Oster | $35

2020 Mosel Zeltinger Doppelstück Alte Reben Riesling Trocken

This emerges from the bottle so youthful, yeasty and spritzy that it barely tastes like wine yet. That's part of its charm, along with an underlying richness, a broad underpinning of creamy passionfruit and pithy lime flavor. It's so vibrant and concentrated that it doesn't feel dry until minutes after a sip, by which time the bracing acidity has readied the palate for more. This will age well, or match with a coconut curry. Skurnik Wines, NY


91 | Karthäuserhof | $45

2018 Mosel Schieferkristall Riesling Kabinett Trocken

Featherlight and stone-dry, this is palate-whetting in its pink-grapefruit verve and tarragon-scented herbal notes. A slight smokiness gives it a sense of minerality and a lasting savor. Its clarity, weight and elegance make it a good choice for delicate fish, like petrale sole in a beurre blanc. Massanois, NY


88 | Von Schleinitz | $26

2019 Mosel Apollo Dry Riesling

This is at the juicy end of dry, with lots of peach, apple and lime flavors bursting from the glass. It's a simple pleasure, with enough acidity to bring it to a clean close. Scoperta, Cleveland Heights, OH


87 | Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler | $15

2019 Mosel Dry Riesling

This is a warm, rich riesling with a toasty notes of sunburned fruit. The tropical flavors disappear quickly, suggesting this is best drunk soon. Vinum Cos, Buffalo Grove, IL

RIESLING FEINHERB

92 | Peter Nicolay | $20

2019 Mosel Offdry Riesling

This checks all the boxes for a simple off-dry riesling: Full, juicy texture and crisp golden-apple flavors, with lots of spicy acidity and a lasting savor. Vinum Cos, Buffalo Grove, IL


91 | A.J. Adam | $23

2020 Mosel Dhron Im Pfarrgarten Riesling Feinherb

Vinified in stainless steel, this feels ebullient, a featherweight sweetness emphasizing the wine's juicy yellow-peach flavors and gentling the powerful acidity. It's easy to drink, and rich enough for white-sauced fish or schnitzels. Skurnik Wines, NY


91 | Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler | $25

2019 Mosel Wehlener Klosterburg Riesling Offdry

A bit of residual sugar gives this wine a velvety feel and sweetens its earthy flavors. It's ripe but savory, with notes of papaya and chrysanthemum tea driven by mineral acidity. It would work well with pork belly in a sweet sauce, or anything rich and fruity. Vinum Cos, Buffalo Grove, IL


90 | Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler

2020 Mosel Erdener Treppchen Riesling Offdry

This is light and pretty, its honeysuckle scents and pink-grapefruit flavors presented with weightless clarity. The texture feels taut and firm, with just enough sweetness to punch up the juiciness. Winesellers, Niles, IL

GROSSES GEWÄCHS

96 | Franzen | $60

2019 Mosel Bremmer Calmont GG Riesling

This is everything you want in a riesling, said one panelist. He went on to point out the wine's succulence, the combination of juicy fruit and mineral salinity, as well as the kaleidoscopic array of flavors, from peach blossoms to nectarine flesh, citrus and strawberries. But the clincher is the wine's bell-tone clarity, the flavors rich and round yet weightless, reverberating for minutes after each sip. This comes from one of the steepest vineyards in all of Europe, which had been abandoned for decades until Kilian and Angelina Franzen restored it in the 2010s. Schatzi Wines, Milan, NY


95 | Carl Loewen | $65

2020 Mosel Longuicher Maximin Herrenberg GG Riesling

From vines planted in 1902 in the steepest part of the Maximin Herrenberg vineyard, the fruit vinified in old fuders, this wine has a sense of depth and roundness that sets it apart. It's impressively inviting for a GG wine, delivering pretty floral delicacy and riesling's fresh fruitiness without any sweetness. The flavors last, held firm by an earthy acidity so well integrated it's imperceptible except in the wine's verve and resilience. It would be easy to drink this today, but it's worth losing a few bottles in the cellar as this should age well over the next two decades. Skurnik Wines, NY


94 | Van Volxem | $52

2019 Mosel Bockstein GG Riesling

Like all of Roman Niewodniczanski's wines in 2019, this is both meaty and elegant, combining ripeness and density with clarity and grace. The richness comes through mainly in the wine's texture, firm and dense, while the flavors dance on top of it, light and airy, in notes of lemongrass and makrut lime, with a warming camphor-like spice. The longer it sits in the glass, the more flavors it reveals, without taking on weight. This is one for the cellar. Vintus, NY


92 | Van Volxem | $68

2019 Mosel Gottesfuss Alte Reben GG

The 120-year-old vines of this sheer red-slate slope translated the sun and warmth of 2019 into a massive riesling. The wine is so dense it feels almost meaty, with a beefy savor running through its tropical fruit; it's warm and spicy, too, with a ferrous minerality that adds depth and grip. Intense now, it needs either powerful dishes or time in the cellar to settle down. Vintus, NY


90 | Van Volxem | $42

2019 Mosel Goldberg GG Riesling (Best Buy)

From a sunny vineyard of gray slate that glints with mica, this holds a lot of tart, bright fruit in a fleshy, creamy package. It's big and ripe, powered by alcohol as much as acidity, which brings it up short but clean and savory. Vintus, NY

RIESLING KABINETT

94 | Max Ferd. Richter | $34

2020 Mosel Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett (Best Buy)

This steep, sunny slope, with its ruddy soils, turned out a massive Kabinett in 2020. It's immediately arresting, with a presence that goes beyond simple flavor characteristics. Sure, there's lots of fleshy peach flavor and lemony acidity, a hit of herbal savor and some broad umami notes adding complexity and texture, but it all comes with a confidence that makes it a little awe-inspiring. Delicious now, this can also age well, making it an exceptional bargain at the price. Massanois, NY/Shiverick Imports, Los Angeles, CA


93 | Von Hövel | $45

2020 Mosel Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett

Maximilien von Kunow likes to stress the lean, stony character of wines from this famed Saar site by fermenting with ambient yeasts, mainly in stainless-steel tanks. His 2020 Kabinett captures the site's cool, gray slate soils in its austere clarity, the flavors recalling wet stone, dry grass and citrus leaves more than fleshy fruit. It's lean and graceful, with a white-tea brightness and sense of calm. Schatzi Wines, Milan, NY


93 | Selbach-Oster | $30

2020 Mosel Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett (Best Buy)

This 2020 bears the lean, lithe feeling of the cool vintage, gliding in on notes of barely ripe peach and nectarine, and lasting with a spring-water minerality. It's as firm as it is elegant, wanting only a decant at this young age to show its best. Skurnik Wines, NY


92 | A.J. Adam | $45

2020 Mosel Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett

Andreas Adam makes this from his oldest parcels, the vines more than 70 years old. Get past the reductive funk and you'll find a deep well of Anjou pear and white peach flavor. It's meaty and concentrated without being cloying, the acidity keeping everything buoyant. This needs another few months in the cellar and a swirl in a decanter before serving with something on the rich side, like arctic char. Skurnik Wines, NY


91 | Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler | $18

2019 Mosel Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett (Best Buy)

This has an old-school opulence to it, with sepia-toned notes of cedar and citrus leading into a pool of plump tropical-fruit flavor. It's intense and expansive, with enough mineral savor and acidity to balance. Vinum Cos, Buffalo Grove, IL


91 | Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler | $21

2020 Mosel Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett (Best Buy)

There's a rich, musky undertone to this wine's citrusy fruit, in notes of tarragon and fresh ginger. It's full bodied and complex, on the dry side of Kabinett, with a mix of sour orange, lime and umami flavors that would be amazing with Cuban-style roast pork. Winesellers, Niles, IL


91 | Willi Schaefer | $45

2020 Mosel Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett

This feels ripe and rich, with lots of juicy lime flavor filling in a broad, almost creamy mineral texture. Yet it stays lifted and fresh, buoyed by notes of herbs and cold stone, so that the lasting impression is savory and cool. Skurnik Wines, NY


90 | Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler | $25

2020 Mosel Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett

This feels cushy and ripe, its lemony fruit and petrol notes held in a whipped matcha-like texture. That gives it a satisfying heft, even as the wine cleans up on the finish. Winesellers, Niles, IL


90 | A.J. Adam

2020 Mosel Dhroner Hofberg Riesling Kabinett

A dynamic burst of green plum and citrus flavors defines this wine, its tartness underlined by earthy mineral notes. There's little elegance, but maximum juiciness. Skurnik Wines, NY


90 | Karthäuserhof | $49

2018 Mosel Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Kabinett

A generous Kabinett, this is round, sweet and silky, with a salt-water quenching note that takes it to a dry finish. Massanois, NY

RIESLING SPÄTLESE

95 | Selbach-Oster | $32

2020 Mosel Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Spätlese (Best Buy)

This feels like happy wine, joyous in its burst of fresh, vivid flavor. The vibrant acidity and saline notes make it all the more mouthwatering, adding tang and zip to the apple, citrus and tropical fruit. A shim of mineral flavor, reminiscent of wet slate, supports its prodigious fruit, adding a balancing savor that carries into the long finish. Super youthful, this deserves time to settle down and reveal its complexities, but it's so immediate and thirst-quenching that it's hard to put down the glass.  Skurnik Wines, NY


94 | Selbach-Oster | $41

2019 Mosel Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Ur-alte Reben Riesling Spätlese Feinherb

The Selbachs had an outstanding showing in this issue, with ten wines recommended from their estate, and another two from their negociant business. Many were from 2019, the year Johannes Selbach's son, Sebastian, came on full-time, after stages at Dönhoff and Müller-Catoir and oenology studies at Geisenheim University. It wasn't exactly an easy vintage to start with: Yields were down thanks to spring frost and summer heat waves; sugar levels were high; and September was wet. But the family's old vines in their hometown of Zeltingen handled the vintage's challenges well-apparent in this wine, made from the fruit of vines over 100 years old, rooted in Devonian slate soils. It's a seamless beauty, gliding across the palate with honeyed notes of red-blushed peach and pear. Those fruit flavors last in a warm glow as the lime-pith acidity brings everything to a clean, savory close. With the gentleness of a Spätlese and the firmness of a drier wine, it's flexible, providing pleasure on its own or with a pork roast. It's also structured enough to last well for a week on the counter after opening, a sure sign that it will age well in cellar. Skurnik Wines, NY


93 | Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler | $30

2020 Mosel Bernkasteler Badstube am Doctorberg Riesling Spätlese (Best Buy)

From a 4.5-acre parcel of old, ungrafted vines rooted in blue-gray slate, this is silky and supple, as concentrated as apricot nectar. It feels seamless, the acidity notable only in the wine's clarity and length of flavor, the sweetness registering only as a gentle fullness. The wine finishes cleanly, lasting on fragrance, an elegant Spätlese to drink now or to cellar. Vinum Cos, Buffalo Grove, IL


93 | Selbach-Oster | $32

2019 Mosel Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Spätlese

This shows the warmth of the 2019 vintage in its honeyed density, but the acidity breezes through it with impressive strength. It's a dynamic balance, plump and juicy with fruit on one hand, lean and crisp on the other, culminating in a mouthful of flavor as vibrant as a peach picked straight from the tree-only this will retain that freshness far longer than any tree fruit could dream of. Skurnik Wines, NY


92 | Meulenhof | $30

2020 Mosel Erdener Treppchen Alte Reben Riesling Spätlese (Best Buy)

This is a huge wine, its lush lemon sweetness filled out with creamy notes of cherimoya and earth. The satin texture holds a vein of saline minerality that adds balance and brings it to a fresh finish. Skurnik Wines, NY


90 | Max Ferd. Richter | $36

2020 Mosel Veldenzer Elisenberg Riesling Spätlese

This is restrained, its limey sweetness balanced by a savory Brie-like funk. Notes of bergamot and quiet spice add delicacy. Massanois, NY


88 | Peter Nicolay | $20

2019 Mosel Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spätlese (Best Buy)

This balances herbal freshness with sweet pineapple fruit, a simple, light Spätlese. Vinum Cos, Buffalo Grove, IL


88 | Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler | $28

2020 Mosel Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spätlese

With vibrant acidity and peachy sweetness, this is ready for dim sum. Vinum Cos, Buffalo Grove, IL


88 | Christoffel | $40

2020 Mosel Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spätlese

Silvery in color, this feels cool and crystalline, with light notes of green apple drizzled with clover honey. It may find more expression with time in the cellar to unwind. Skurnik Wines, NY

RIESLING AUSLESE

94 | Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler | $33

2020 Mosel Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Auslese (Best Buy)

This packs a lot of detail into an elegant package. It has the complex, umami-rich sweetness of tropical fruit, as well as bright, citrusy acidity; there's earthiness in a spicy ginger-root way, yet the flavors maintain a sense of crystalline clarity. A honeyed sweetness wraps it all together, the wine lasting with a sense of energy that's palate-whetting. It handles its ripeness so well that it could match savory dishes-like chicken bisteya-as well as a cheese plate. Vinum Cos, Buffalo Grove, IL


94 | Selbach-Oster | $74

2019 Mosel Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Rotlay Riesling Auslese

From an especially stony, fully south-facing parcel in the Sonnenuhr vineyard, this is plump and round, with sweet, peachy ripeness. With air, it moves toward tropical notes of mango and pineapple, with the spicy earthiness of botrytis and a mineral firmness beneath it all. Concentrated and deep, it needs time. Skurnik Wines, NY


90 | Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler

2020 Mosel Bernkasteler Alte Badstube Am Doctorberg Riesling Auslese

Tangy herbal notes and pointed acidity balance bright, lemony sweetness, the wine shining with intense clarity. Not too sweet, it would work well with fresh-fruit desserts. Winesellers, Niles, IL


90 | Selbach-Oster | $60

2019 Mosel Zeltinger Schlossberg Schmitt Riesling Auslese

Johannes Selbach picks this plot in the Schlossberg all at once, collecting fruit at varying degrees of ripeness. It gives this wine a particularly multidimensional feel: It's both sweet and savory, with flavors of bruised peach, baked pear, dried pineapple, earth and honey. A line of bitterness brings it up short, but it's plenty intriguing enough to contemplate over an evening. Skurnik Wines, NY

RIESLING BEERENAUSLESE

90 | Selbach-Oster | $50

2018 Mosel Noble R Riesling BA (Best Buy)

Blended from an array of top sites in Zeltingen, Graach and Bernkastel, this Beerenauslese is easy to like, from its relative affordability to its super juicy flavors. It carries its sweetness well, a gingery acidity balancing the ripe peach and baked apple notes, giving it some elegance. It ends feeling clean and refreshing, ready to take on a cheese course or fresh-fruit desserts. Skurnik Wines, NY

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