WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

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WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby Otto » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:48 pm

Mature Mosel is one of my favourite wines so I was overjoyed when the opportunity came to attend a tasting of Joh. Jos. Prüm's Wehlener Sonnenuhrs with a couple Zeltinger Sonnenuhrs mixed in, even though in recent years I have preferred drinking a greater quantity of a single wine over dinner than this sort of analytical tasting. All wines were in good shape (the provenance of the bottles couldn't be better :D ) and none were corked - which was brilliant.


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Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 1943
Deep gold. A spicy and honeyed aroma with a bit of citrus peeking through occasionally. The sugar has dried up and it tastes dry, but it is strangely full bodied and quite extracted. Interminable finish. I liked it very much - but I do enjoy really old Riesling where the sugar has dried up.

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 1949
Also a deep gold, slightly darker than the '43. A very high-toned aroma, almost minty, but also a good whiff of petrol and citrus. This hadn't completely dried up and I could sense obvious sugar. The acidity was quite gentle and the balance between fruit and acidity seemed to suggest a hot vintage. Delightfully persistent aftertaste. Very nice!

Joh. Jos. Prüm Zeltinger Sonnenuhr feine Riesling Auslese 1959
A much lighter gold colour than in the previous. Quite a musky aroma though obviously Riesling; very honeyed and gently petrolly. It tastes very ripe and rich and almost grapey like a Muscat. It's acidity might be on the gentle side, but it is persistent. Nice!

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 1963
Light gold. The aroma is pretty and delicate and very Mosel. This, too, turns a bit musky with air. Despite the fairly youthful colour, this has dried up on the palate and tastes almost dry. Lighter in body than the previous three and higher in acidity and I thought it was absolutely delightful though it was perhaps a bit one-dimensional in comparison.

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 1966
The trio of '66s had a slightly darker gold colour than the '59 and '63. This wine had a spicy and honeyed aroma; there's still some sweetness left and good, crisp acidity, but there is also quite a bit of weight. Nice!

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener-Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 1966
Does anyone know what Wehlener-Zeltinger Sonnenuhr might be? A blend of the two vineyards? Well whatever it is, the wine was lovely and was a very classic aged Mosel with lovely bright Riesling fruit but in a less weighty, more acidic, more delineated way than the previous and following '66s. Lovely.

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Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr feine Riesling Auslese 1966
A darker colour than the non-feine version of this; and it had dried up a bit more, but otherwise was, of course, very similar. So it was nice, but in these '66s I did prefer the weirdly named one in the middle because it was so much more graceful.

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 1971
Very ripe and honeyed aroma but wonderfully pure; rich but incredibly racy, intense and still very sweet. Perfect wine and no hurry with this. Though there's no reason not to open one if you happen to have any.

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 1976
A very deep gold. Very sweet and ripe with apricot and some turpentine/mint aromas. Rich and intensely sweet. Due to the fairly low acidity the finish isn't very fresh but simply sugary. It was still nice, but IMO was a bit outclassed by most others in this tasting (the 1976s I've had have always seemed a bit unbalanced with the sugar too much to fore).

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 1982
A very light colour. A very pure but less ripe Riesling aroma, more citric and mineral than these spicy and ripe ones that we mostly had in this tasting. Light body, electric, wonderfully acidic, clean and pure. I loved this, though it supposedly is a weak vintage. But even I have to admit that it was perhaps a bit one dimensional - but that one dimension is one I particularly like, so who cares!

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Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Lange Goldkapsel 1985
Deep gold. The Rieslingness has tropical aromas to it, something like pineapple, and a blackcurrant leaf aroma that was actually bit like Sauvignon Blanc! A weird aroma but still perfectly recognizable as Riesling. Very rich and broad on the palate, very sweet, but also with good crunchy acidity. Nice enough, but I did prefer the ones without a tropical note to the fruit.

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 1989
A very light colour. This was a surprise because I had always thought of this vintage as a very ripe and fruit-forward one. And, yes, this did have ripe fruit, but it never crossed the boundary to become tropical and it was delightfully mineral. It also had amazingly high acidity and thus better balance than I expected. It seemed a very classic Mosel and has great potential. But this one was truly young and even though it has now had several decades bottle age, it still had slight sulphur. So if you have any sourced straight from Prüm's cellars, let them rest since they are infants! :D

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 1988
Dark gold. A sweet, honeyed and spicy style. Young, primary fruit despite the seemingly advanced colour. A surprisingly rich Riesling for a 1988. Long finish but with a bit of sugar that needs to integrate better.

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Lange Goldkapsel 1988
I always thought that Lange GKs would be riper in style than plain GKs, but here it was the other way other around. This was classic Mosel: mineral and citric and in a brighter, more elegant, cleaner, purer style than the GK. This was lovely, but these two were so different in style that it's strange than the only difference is the "Lange"!

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Lange Goldkapsel 1990
Very sweet and ripe scent with a bit of sulphur. Intense and rich style but with good acidity for a warmer year. But it is very unevolved so let these rest.

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 1993
A darker colour. A nicely expressive, pure Riesling aroma. An intense, slightly drier style. Very nice, but perhaps a bit lost in this crowd.

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 1996
A very light colour. A very pure, clean, appley and mineral style. Wonderfully high acidity and wonderfully delineated. I love the elegant but coiled-up-spring style of the '96s. But, of course, such a young Prüm needs age. My favourite of the the infants.

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2005
In a very bad phase: tropical fruit, super-ripe, sweet and soft. All in pieces.

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2005
Also in a bad phase, but at least it seemed a bit more structured and/or less fruity and sugary. But still primary, so hold.

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2007 & 2009
These younger Prüms were a bit difficult, too, after such a range of drinkable and mature ones. Both are very ripe and sugary, with perhaps a bit more weight and intensity on the 2009. Though the '05s and these two are all very ripe, I like the components in them though my usual preference is for leaner Riesling. But they will all need decades.

Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Eiswein 1983
And to finish we had an old sweetie. Brown colour. But the aroma is still that of exquisitely pure Mosel Riesling! It is almost painfully intense and has wonderful acidity and high sugar levels. It was pretty awesome.

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Re: WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby Salil » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:56 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener-Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 1966
Does anyone know what Wehlener-Zeltinger Sonnenuhr might be? A blend of the two vineyards?

From what I understand, that was Prum's plot in Wehlener Sonnenuhr blended with the 'Rotlay' parcel of the Zeltinger Sonnenuhr (regarded as the top subplot within that vineyard), which the Prum estate held until the early 2000s when it went to Selbach-Oster after flurbereinigung. FWIW, Johannes Selbach makes tremendous wines from that wine (also made separately from his other Zeltinger Sonnenuhrs, under a special 'Rotlay' designation).

And that is one hell of a tasting. Older Prums (as I'm starting to realize these days) can be really extraordinary.
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Re: WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:14 pm

Salil has it right on the Wehlen-Zeltingen blend.
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Re: WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby Otto » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:23 pm

Salil, thanks for the explanation! (And David, for its confirmation!)
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Re: WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby Rahsaan » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:33 pm

Nice!
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Re: WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby Lars Carlberg » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:03 am

Salil wrote:
Otto Nieminen wrote:Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener-Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 1966
Does anyone know what Wehlener-Zeltinger Sonnenuhr might be? A blend of the two vineyards?

From what I understand, that was Prum's plot in Wehlener Sonnenuhr blended with the 'Rotlay' parcel of the Zeltinger Sonnenuhr (regarded as the top subplot within that vineyard), which the Prum estate held until the early 2000s when it went to Selbach-Oster after flurbereinigung. FWIW, Johannes Selbach makes tremendous wines from that wine (also made separately from his other Zeltinger Sonnenuhrs, under a special 'Rotlay' designation).

And that is one hell of a tasting. Older Prums (as I'm starting to realize these days) can be really extraordinary.


In 1959, Sebastian Prüm of Joh. Jos. Prüm created a Wehlen-Zeltinger Sonnuhr TBA. It came from a blend of botrytized grapes from his holdings in each vineyard and sold at auction. Back then, I don't know what Sebastian Prüm had for exact parcels. He took over the property from his father Johann Josef Prüm (one of three sons and three daughters of S.A. Prüm) after the First World War and specialized in nobly sweet wines. In fact, he was one of the first to produce TBAs in the late thirties.

Rotlay is one of several place names in today's Zeltinger Sonnenuhr. It's located below a slate outcropping at the foot of the hillside and more towards Wehlen.

That's interesting. I didn't know about the trade/sale between J.J. Prüm and Selbach-Oster in 2000. Selbach-Oster's first en-bloc-picked wine from Rotlay was the 2004 vintage. In old books and labels, I've come across the name Zeltinger Rotlay and in the more recent past Zeltinger Sonnenuhr-Rotlay.

I'll publish soon a fascinating piece by Kevin Goldberg about Middle Mosel land disputes around 1900, including Bernkasteler Doctor, Erdener Treppchen, and Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, among others.
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Re: WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:06 am

Lars,

I have had the chance to separately discuss the Rotlay parcel with both Johannes Selbach and Katharina Prum. Their reactions to the dicussion were somewhat predictable. Selbach thrilled to talk about the great wines from the site, and Prum tight-lipped and very clear that the land swap due to fleurbereinigung was not at all to their liking. Prum indicated the reason they did not contest the parcel swap was in order to give them an even stronger bargaining position when the Wehlener Sonnenuhr eventually gets carved up and re-parceled out.
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Re: WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby Bill Hooper » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:55 pm

Otto,

Well done! And thanks for sharing.

Cheers,
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Re: WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby Lars Carlberg » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:08 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Lars,

I have had the chance to separately discuss the Rotlay parcel with both Johannes Selbach and Katharina Prum. Their reactions to the dicussion were somewhat predictable. Selbach thrilled to talk about the great wines from the site, and Prum tight-lipped and very clear that the land swap due to fleurbereinigung was not at all to their liking. Prum indicated the reason they did not contest the parcel swap was in order to give them an even stronger bargaining position when the Wehlener Sonnenuhr eventually gets carved up and re-parceled out.


Thanks, David. The next time I see Johannes and Katharina, I'll ask them for more details about this specific parcel in Rotlay. In my Selbach-Oster profile, I write briefly about the different place names and their history. Johannes gave me and David Schildknecht additional details, as I suspected that Schlossberg probably referred to the site around the castle ruin in the present-day Sonnenuhr. By the way, Wehlener Sonnenuhr is going through a Flurbereinigung at this very moment. J.J. Prüm and other producers have already swapped holdings. For example, Studert-Prüm has an old-vine plot from J.J. Prüm. The idea, as you know, is for each producer to have larger, more workable parcels on the hillside.
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Re: WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:12 pm

Lars,

Thanks for the update. I new the reparceling of the Wehlener Sonnenuhr was coming, but not exactly when.

Any idea how many out of the way, perhaps old vines parcels might be left in tact (a la what happened with a few plots in the Erdener Treppchen), or is every square inch being replanted?
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Re: WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby Lars Carlberg » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:54 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Lars,

Thanks for the update. I new the reparceling of the Wehlener Sonnenuhr was coming, but not exactly when.

Any idea how many out of the way, perhaps old vines parcels might be left in tact (a la what happened with a few plots in the Erdener Treppchen), or is every square inch being replanted?


You're welcome, David. The Flurbereinigung began some time ago. In 2011, Gerd Studert of Studert-Prüm took me up into Wehlener Sonnenuhr and Rosenberg and pointed out various place names, swaps, and new blocks. Some old-vine plots will remain. I don't know how many, though. When I go by, large areas of vines have been uprooted and cut down.
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Re: WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby Kelly Young » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:13 pm

I can't pull my jaw off the floor from the opening post.
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Re: WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby Andrew Bair » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:20 pm

Otto -

Thank you for the great writeup. You are extremely fortunately to have been able to go to such an event - I'm definitely envious, as I've never even tried a single LGK from Prum. :P

Anyway, which one is the bottle on the far right of you last photo, with the auction sticker? I can't quite make out the vintage.
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Re: WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby Lars Carlberg » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:33 am

Correction: Claude Kolm tasted a 1949 Wehlen-Zeltinger Sonnuhr TBA. At first, I only read about the 1959, though Loeb & Prittie mention the 1949 too. I should ask Katharina to be sure on the first vintage of this blended wine as well as their first bottlings of BA and TBA.
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Re: WTN: JJ Prüm 1943-2009

Postby Lars Carlberg » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:46 pm

As a follow-up to my previous replies, Katharina says that her grandfather produced, already in the 1930s, small quantities of wine as Wehlen-Zeltinger Sonnuhr. Her father, however, can't remember a 1959 TBA from a blend of these two sites. (Loeb & Prittie's Moselle is mistaken.) He believes that 1934 was the first BA and 1937 the first TBA produced at their estate.

They still hold "the best parcel" in the ur-Sonnenuhr of Zeltingen (i.e., near the sundial). Their parcel further upstream, in Rotlay, was taken away and given to another producer (Selbach-Oster) against their wishes during the remodeling (Flurbereinigung). On my site, Kevin Goldberg contributes a riveting piece about Middle Mosel vineyard disputes (including Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Erdener Treppchen, and Bernkastler Doktor) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
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