The best possible array of the top sites of the Pfalz, including the oldest vines in the very best vineyard. Mouth-filling, fruity wines, direct and approachable. Astoundingly reasonable prices for wines of such pedigree. In two words: juicy and caramelly. They aren’t “modern” in their insistence on vinosity, and they seem to aim for power rather than brilliance. I often underrate them because they need six to nine months after bottling to really come forward. These are showy wines, full of flavor, and they do stand out in tastings.
They obtained a remarkable quartet of Grand Crus when Wilheim Spindler retired many years ago, and yet the wines were always values because the estate presented a fundamental modesty. The wines were solid and honest, sometimes a little rural, but this selection shows the inherent talent at this domaine. Stefan Müller has entirely settled in now, and I think he wants to make a point. The last two vintages have been remarkable, and the 2008s are this estate’s apex, the best collection they have made. The spiffy new label reflects the precise diligent nature of these modern, crushed-stone wines. But if Dad’s wines were like comfort food, Stefan’s are starting to show touches of refinement without going all molecular upside your head.
This is a winery on the move, and the next few years will tell a new tale. There’s a sensational collection of vineyards and new energy in the cellar. This is what the Germans call an Aufsteiger, i.e. one who is climbing. The wines used to be rather matte and caramelly as a whole, though the fabulous Auslesen from the Kirchenstück showed great fire and breed. The 2004s were harbingers of a change, as they are more “modern,” clear and bright. ’08 ascends to yet another level, and the dry wines to another three levels.
First offering, for what is plain-and-simple a steal. Each time Müller makes this wine it’s a quintessence of this great Cru without overt sweetness, but endlessly and firmly rich, porcini-rich, milk chocolate rich, old Beaufort rich, Amontillado rich. Where are the buyers for such a self-evidently useful and compelling wine? (10-30 years)
Can you imagine if Trimbach made a vendage tardive of Clos Ste. Hune , and if instead of being fatigued by fat and botrytis it was instead every bit as concentrated and incisive as the dry version? This ’14 is the biggest vintage Müller’s made, and a level up from ’13 in power and scope. A masterpiece in the making;fantastic saltiness and mineral, like some mind-meld of ’03-’04 or even ’08-’09. This is what is meant by STATURE. ~Terry Theise
The prime section of the best site in the Pfalz; this was so embryonic that you should basically disregard this note as anything more than a blurry impression. That said, I’m confident there’s more primordial minerality here, and the wine is powerful to the point of throbbing. It’s long and incipiently complex, and justifies the stature of the land. ~Terry Theise
Basalt is of course (and famously) the soil of the Pechstein, from which this wine indeed hails, but it’s bottled under the name of a small privileged Grosslage because it’s the “item” Müller’s private customers recognize. It is also a super-aromatic lot fermented with a less vigorous yeast strain that guarantees an incomplete result, i.e., residual sugar. It’s a more gentle way to stop fermentation than by chilling, filtering or sulfuring. So if you’re someone for whom the very notion of cultured yeast fills you with dread…well, um yes: actual thinking is hard. This wine also snakes its way around the palate but this time it’s all flowers and gloss; starts out musky but firms up and becomes sleek and lithe with a refined dialogue among herbs, pebbles and blooms. ~Terry Theise