The ripe and round 2018 nevertheless generated some true modern-day legends, such as this TBA by Weingut Max Ferd. Richter.
2018 is a ripe and consumer-friendly vintage characterized by fruit and mild acidity. For lovers of racy Mosel, is there therefore little to cheer? Not really, as we explain in Part I of our 2018 vintage report: A few growers completely defied the ripe DNA of the vintage and produced some truly stunningly fresh and racy wines.
One such wine turns out to be the 2018er Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling TBA by Weingut Max Ferd. Richter, a sheer perfect expression of noble-sweet Riesling.
Weingut Max Ferd. Richter is one of the most traditional Estates in the Mosel: Its roots go as far back as the 17th century. 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 Estate’s hallmark has been the timeless elegance and playfulness of its wines, a style which it has been pursuing irrespective of the fashion of the day. It also tries to remain true to the vintage, crafting crisper wines in cool vintages and smoother ones in warm vintages. It is therefore not surprising that its wines are regularly among our vintage highlights, including its 2015er Veldenzer Elisenberg Kabinett and. its 2012er Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett.
As Constantin Richter underlined, “2018 was about sunshine and little rain. We therefore started our harvest very early by our standards, on September 19. We were then able to pick the fruit at our pace as the weather conditions proved perfect during harvest time.”
As one would expect, the Richters did not defy the 2018 vintage but played with the conditions to produce some gorgeous wines with a touch more ripeness and roundness than usual, but also with the playful side that has made the success of their Estate over the years
One of the pride holdings of the Estate are its 1.5 ha of parcels currently farmed in the Grand Cru Wehlener Sonnenuhr.
The good weather conditions meant that the Richters were able to craft some BA and TBA, as Constantin confirmed: “There was not as much botrytis as we have seen in recent vintages, but the little there was proved exceptionally pure and elegant. Thanks to the good weather conditions, we were able to spend the time necessary to pick the dried out and botrytized berries for some TBA.” In the end, the Estate produced two TBAs, one from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr and another from the Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr.
Many noble-sweet wines in 2018 are heavily under the influence of their sweetness (a result of the low acidity of the vintage) and will often require decades to “eat up” the sweetness and develop some balance. Not so for Richters’ 2018er Wehlener Sonnenuhr TBA: This wine proves a triumph! It combines aromatic precision and complexity with rarely-seen balance and finesse. This is easily one of the finest TBA we have ever tasted. Good news never come alone: We understand that this wine was made in good quantities by TBA standards. There is therefore a chance it made it or will make it to your neck of the world.
The superb 2018er collection by Weingut Max Ferd. Richter
was reviewed in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 47 (August 2019).
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Max Ferd. Richter
Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling TBA
The 2018er Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling TBA was made from botrytized berries harvested at 235° Oechsle and was fermented down to noble-sweet levels of residual sugar. It offers a stunning nose of date, candied grapefruit zest, nutmeg, almond cream, whipped cream, cassis puree, quince jam, raisin, and smoke. The wine is incredibly elegant and playful on the multi-layered and beautifully honeyed palate, and leaves a stunningly pure and unctuous feel of cream and spices. Despite the oily structure and the sweetness, the wine remains pure and incredibly refined. What a little masterpiece in the making! 2033-2068
© 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.