This highlight of our extensive “20-Years-After” retrospective of the 1996 vintage is a tribute to the timeless elegance of Max Ferd. Richter wines.
Mosel Riesling blossoms as it matures. Every year, we dedicate the Spring Issue of Mosel Fine Wines to the beauty of mature Mosel. This includes the largest "20-Years-After" Riesling retrospectives made anywhere in the world.
The retrospective of the 1996 vintage just published in Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 30 (Mar 2016) underlines the beautiful liveliness of the best 1996 Auslese wines. The best 1996 epitomize everything great about Mosel, being stunningly zesty and fresh, yet at the same time complex and delicately smooth.
Several highlights among the 50 wines re-tasted came from Weingut Max Ferd. Richter. Its 1996er Graacher Domprobst BA simply proved a stunning success.
The Estate is one of the oldest and most traditional of the region. Its roots go back to the 1600s. It was already highly recognized by the 19th century, when its wines regularly won medals at the World Exhibitions of the day.
Thanks to smart buys (and marriages!) by the different Richter at the helm of this Estate, its current owners Dirk Richter and young Constantin Richter have the privilege of working almost every grand terroir from Brauneberg down to Erden.
The Max Ferd. Richter style is one of lightness, elegance, depth and utter drinkability. But, above all – and this is what sets this Estate apart from many others – its wines remain true to each vintage and terroir. The Richter do not try to go against nature (by over-selecting or correcting, etc.) but rather work with what nature provides. If a vintage is naturally richer or leaner, this will be reflected in the Estate’s wines.
The result is honesty and transparency. Richter wines allow one to taste the DNA of a vintage and terroir. Add to this that the wines of this Estate age particularly well and you will understand why there are few tastings which we look more forward to than those at this Estate.
The Graacher Domprobst is characterized by superb exposure, deeper (slate) soil and good drainage abilities. This unique combination proved a winning one in 1996 as the great exposure ensure ripe grapes, good drainage kept the grapes clean for longer and the deeper soil tamed the vintage’s firm acidity.
This allowed the Weingut Max Ferd. Richter to harvest some great wines from its parcels in the Graacher Domprobst in 1996. Remarkably, this includes a BA, a rare sight in this vintage in which ripeness proved rather the challenge.
As so often with wines from high acidity vintages, this Beerenauslese has turned amber in color. However do not get irritated by this color (some locals call this Coca-Cola BA/TBA): Despite being already 20 years old, this BA has retained a gorgeously fresh complexity, enhanced by some racy acidity nicely wrapped into a soothing touch of oiliness.
It is a great ambassador of the beauty achieved by well-matured sweet Mosel wines.
A comprehensive 1996 20-Years-After Riesling retrospective
was published in Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 30 (Mar 2016).
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Max Ferd. Richter
Graacher Domprobst Riesling Beerenauslese
This amber colored BA harvested at 150° Oechsle immediately captures one’s attention with a stunning nose of nut, dried fruits, caramel and herbs, all immersed in a whiff of volatile acidity. The wine is both zesty and delicately oily on the palate, as more scents of honeyed dried fruits, caramel and nut provide for an ethereal feel in the gorgeously long finish. What a beautiful BA-Eiswein styled Riesling! Now-2026
© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling ... and beyond!"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.