It is said that life's too short for German wine labels. With their impenetrably labyrinthine names and hidden symbols (multiple stars and gold or extra-long foil closures) to indicate subtle nuances, they have a byzantine theological complexity of sacred knowledge known only to initiated insiders.
Welcome, then, to the Da Vinci Code of wines.
With around 60 wines lined up to sample and not enough time to try them all, I asked Jancis Robinson writer Julia Harding MW what I should try. Her view was that 2012 is a good vintage and consistency is generally high and gave me a few names whose wines had especially impressed.
All wines are varietal Riesling; code is Mosel (M), Saar (S), Ruwer (R).
Prices, unless stated otherwise, are for a case of 12 In Bond, so excluding VAT (20%) and duty (£22.81 per full 9 litre).
Sybille Kuntz Kabinett Trocken (M) £72 (6) fresh, mineral, floral, precise.
Sybille Kuntz Spaetlese Trocken (M) £96 (6) floral and perfumed, spicy and exotic yet fresh.
Qba & Kabinett
Schloss Lieser Qba (M) £85 fresh, mineral, lively-buzzy and pure
Schloss Lieser Kabinett (M) £95 richer, spicier, fuller and riper
Maximin Gruenhaeuser Bruderberg, von Schubert (R) £102 zesty lime nose, lime marmalade palate with ripeness and minerality
Wolfer Goldgrube Kabinett, Daniel Vollenweider (M) £108 rich, spicy; exotic, citrus and lime zest, peach texture. Very Good.
Rausch Kabinett, Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken (S) £120 ripe and zippy. Good.
Neiderberg Helden Spaetlese, Schloss Lieser (M) £65 (6) fresh citrus, zippy acidity and ripeness with some white pepper
Wolfer Goldgrube Spaetlese, Daniel Wollenweider (M) £75 (6) zippy and limey with ripe lime marmalade
Kroever Steffensberg Spaetlese, Daniel Wollenweider (M) £75 (6) citrus and mineral nose, peachy and weighty with fresh acidity, long. Very Good.
Rausch Spaetlese, Forstmeister Geltz Zillliken (S) £92 (6) peachy, apricotty and elegant, fresh and zippy, good structure
Rausch Auslese Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken (S) £160 (6) ripe with roasted peaches, freshness and honeyed bitterness and complexity. Good.
Schwarzhofberger Eiswein, von Hoevel (M) £294 (6 halves) floral, fresh and peachy, rich and ripe.
Eitelsbacher Karthaeuserhofberg Eiswein, Christoph Tyrell (R) £795 / £395 (6 / 6 halves) richer, fuller and more complex - quite incredible. Very Good Indeed.
As Julia noted, both quality and consistency are high here, but if you were to limit yourself to just one wine, it should be Daniel Wollenweider's Wolfer Goldgruber Kabinett at £108 for 12 bottles.
Other related articles
Loeb Mosel Masterclass
Mosel Tasting at Cambridge Wine Merchants
Kirchengut Wolf in the Mosel Valley
Loeb - website