Import Selection: Piesporter Michelsberg, 1988, H. Schmitt Soehne

“You can drink and enjoy Ger­man wines during the evening and still feel good in the morning.” – words of wisdom, promotional but true, from Peter Limberger, Presi­dent and C.E.O. of Schmitt and Soehne in America. H. Schmitt Soehne GmbH has been producing quality wines in Germany’s Mosel valley for more than two hundred years.

German wines are gradually coming to be recognized as “chic” wines. They fit the contemporary consumers lifestyle in that they are lower in alcohol (8% to 10% for German Reisling vs. 13% for Cali­fornia Chardonnays) and are lower in calories. Moderation is more easily ascribed to.

The wine district in Germany officially called “Mosel-Saar-Ruwer” (the latter two being major tributaries to the Mosel) comprises of some 20,000 acres under vine. About one quarter of these are deemed to produce truly superior wines.

This wine is of Qba. (Qualitat­swein) status; a German wine gains this stamp of approval only by meeting certain minimum tech­ nical standards as well as offering a taste representative of the viticultural region from whence it hails. In the heirarchy of German wines, Qba. ranks above “Tafelwein” (Ta­blewien) and below five other cate­gories.

Piesporter Michelsberg wines are produced from grapes (pre­dominantly Riesling) grown in a very limited district; less than 6000 beautiful acres bordering Germa­ny’s winding Mosel river and around the town of Piesport. The larger delineation surrounding Piesport is designated Michelsberg. The delicacy of body, the el­egance of bouguet and the overall aristocratic personality which char­acterizes these wines is unsur­passed. These famous characteris­tics can be found in properly selected wines that are produced in this area.

This example shows a very clear pale green gold color. Clean, ripe smells emerge from the glass-plums, pears, and figs with a hint of incense. The wine has good body and completely smooth (only 9% alcohol) though bearing excel­lent acidity. Giving at first a deli­cate hint of sweetness, it manages to end off completely dry with a long, long finish.

Serve chilled on a bright spring afternoon with lighter luncheon dishes like chinese chicken salad or bratwurst with onions.

Cellaring Notes: Fully mature. For enjoying through 1990.

Reviewed by Larry Tepper

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