January 21, 2022 | News | Issue Highlights

Weingut Max Ferd Richter | Mülheim | Mosel Riesling | 2018 | Label

2020er Weingut Max Ferd. Richter Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Uralte Reben GG

The filigreed 2020 vintage generated some stunning dry Riesling ... among which this dry beauty by Max Ferd Richter.

2020 Mosel | Filigreed elegance

2020 Vintage | Mosel | Riesling | Picture | Bild

The 2020 growing season was hot and dry and the harvest season mostly cloudy and rainy: The result is a unique vintage with incredible lightness, filigreed precision, subtlety, and a dash of ripeness.

Our preview of 2020 dry German Riesling underlined the potential but also the limitations of the vintage. But one thing is clear: Few dry German Riesling will match the immaculate quality of the stunning 2020er Wehlener Sonnenuhr Uralte Reben GG by Max Ferd Richter.

Weingut Max Ferd. Richter | Mosel Classicism

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 his son Constantin Richter have the privilege of working almost every grand terroir from Brauneberg down to Erden.

Weingut Max Ferd Richter | Estate | Picture | Bild

The Estate’s hallmark has been the timeless elegance, lightness, 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, its 2012er Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett, and its 2018er Wehlener Sonnenuhr TBA.

Over recent years, the Richters have also started to perfect the approach to their dry wines: “Our focus has been in fruity-styled wines but we have been producing a few dry wines since quite a while. These used to come from the same sites. Around 2012, we gradually started to treat these sites separately to enhance their suitability for dry wines. This included mainly making sure that there is less botrytis and not too high yields. We didn't change much in the cellar as we were already having a light touch. We then decided to produce our first GG in 2014 ... from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr.”

The result has shown in recent years but, so far, never so intensely and with such success as with its 2020er Wehlener Sonnenuhr Uralte Reben GG.

Weingut Max Ferd. Richter | 2020er Wehlener Sonnenuhr Uralte Reben GG

One of the pride holdings of the Estate are its holdings in the Grand Cru Wehlener Sonnenuhr. Not only do these extend over 1.5 ha, they also include some truly remarkable old plots as Constantin explains: “We had owned a very old block of un-grafted vines thought to be planted in 1890 since quite a while. During the Flurbereinigung a decade ago, we got allocated more of this original plot of extremely old vines.”

Wehlener Sonnenuhr | Vineyard | Weinberg | Terroir | Picture | Bild

The 2020 vintage was not easy for dry Riesling: “Sugar levels were not really getting high and we had to wait quite a while to get the right aromatic and acidity ripeness. The GG from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr was harvested quite late during the harvest at 93-94° Oechsle, which is not very high but ideal for the style of dry Riesling we aspire to produce. The grapes saw a little pre-fermentation cold soak before being pressed and fermented. I remember that this wine did not complete its fermentation until Spring. After that, we left the wine on its lees until bottling in September.”

The result is simply mesmerizing. The wine does have a slight bite but above all, it is beautifully airy, packed with intense and remarkably fresh flavors (not an easy task in a vintage with record heat in the summer). This is one of those dry Riesling which home in on the fact that Mosel now produces some of the finest dry Riesling in the whole of Germany.

As usual, great wines is rarely produced in gigantic quantities and this is no different with this GG. But, believe us, every effort should be made to lay one’s hands on a few bottles of this divine juice: Happy hunting!

The superb 2020er top dry wines by Weingut Max Ferd. Richter was reviewed in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 58 (September 2021).
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Tasting Note | Extract from Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 58 (Sep 2021)


Max Ferd. Richter

Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Uralte Reben GG

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The 2020er Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Trocken Uralte Reben GG is a bone-dry wine (with 3 g/l of residual sugar) made from fruit picked on un-grafted vines planted in 1890. It proves rather backward at first and really needs a few moments to reveal some subtle but still faint scents of white peach, herbs, fine spices, and floral elements. The wine is hugely focused but beautifully deep on the palate. A touch of zest frames the flavors at the moment and enhances the tart side in the nicely firm and focused finish. The aftertaste is simply a thing of beauty as layer upon layer of fine fruity flavors are enhanced by minerals, spices, and herbs. This hugely impressive dry Riesling now only needs a few years of bottle aging to reveal its splendor. What a great success! 2025-2040

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