I first tasted this wine on a cold, rainy Friday night, after a five-hour drive to Philadelphia that should have taken just a shade over three. Long Island traffic, the driving rains and, of course, the insanely packed New Jersey Turnpike tried to set the tone for a weekend in the City of Brotherly Love with friends...but when we arrived, Paul and Sara had this riesling waiting for us.
And all was right in the world again. It was the perfect post-traumatic-driving trip elixer and we bought some the next day at Moore Brothers Wine.
The Thielen family has been making wine in Merl since 1874. The wider surrounding area of Merl-Zell is best known for making gallons and gallons of Zeller Schwarze-Katz from Muller-Thurgau grown in the flat, shaded vineyards along the Mosel's banks.
The riesling grapes for this wine were grown on the steep, slate-covered slope pictured above...far above the hamlet of Merl itself. Greg Moore (one of the Moore brothers) considers Fettgarten "the most important vineyard" in the region and this wine "among the finest rieslings made there in 2001."
Eyes: Slightly golden and darker when compared to the other, much younger (in some cases 2004) rieslings I've tasted recently. This is a 2001 after all.
Nose: Wonderfully aromatic with slate, petrol (yes, that's a good thing) and hints of ripe peaches and pears
Tongue: Subtle sweetness (can't find find any information on residual sugar) and zesty, prickly acidity provide the framework for lush peach and apricot flavors and a tantalizing, lingering finish that begs another sip. Absolutely delicious.
Overall: I wish I had a case of this at home. But, this was our last bottle and, sadly, I'm not sure when I'll be able to get more. Moore Bros. doesn't ship it's wines (their wines never rise above 55 degrees...even when crossing the Atlantic, so they won't ship via UPS or FedEx either!). They are opening a store in Manhattan...but I'm picturing myself carrying a case of wine on the subway and then on the Long Island Railroad.
This wine just might be worth it though.
Lenn's Grade: A