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The Estate only holds parcels in the Graacher Domprobst, Graacher Himmelreich, and Wehlener Sonnenuhr, all three “Grand Cru” vineyards by any standards. As Christoph and Andreas Schaefer explained, “the stony slate in the Graacher Domprobst adds an extra layer of saltiness and even dryness to the wines. Our wines from this site come over as intense yet remain light-footed.”
The Estate picked the grapes for its 2019 Domprobst Kabinett in different parcels in the early part of the harvest. These were then pressed and fermented with ambient yeasts in traditional Fuder casks before being bottled in Spring 2020.
The result is simply breathtaking: The combination of freshness, precision, and intensity, all delivered with airy elegance, is simply to die for! Already now, it is clear that this is a modernday classic in the making.
The 2019er Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett was fermented down to fruity-styled levels of residual sugar. It offers an absolutely tantalizing and hugely complex nose made of yellow peach, minty herbs, grapefruit, lime peel, a hint of whipped cream, and fresh lily flowers, all wrapped into fine residual scents from the spontaneous fermentation. The wine has grip, energy, and great focus on the palate, yet remains at all moment extremely light and balanced. A bracing and spicy touch of acidity then kicks in, giving the wine structure and blending the flavors together as well as whipping them up right into the tight and hugely long finish. This remarkable Kabinett in the making is set to become a modern-day legend! 2027-2043
Weingut Willi Schaefer (4.2 hectares)Graach / Mosel / Germany
If you’re new to all this, there’s a reason these wines are so beloved. Part of it is they’re so scarce; the estate is all of 4.2 hectares with no desire to grow. Part of is the wines themselves; they’re silly delicious. You cannot be unhappy drinking these perfect ur-Mosel Rieslings. And as crystalline as they are, as ethereally complex and limpidly clear, they have a quality of calm; they don’t fuss at you with how amazing they are. Since 2015, Christoph Schaefer and his wife Andrea run this storied family winery in Graach, the pair met while studying enology at Geisenheim. Their winemaking philosophy is not much different than that of Christoph’s father or grandfather. The focus is not on numbers or analytics, but on how the grapes taste. From harvesting each plot to the fermentations with natural yeast, all the way through bottling, everything is done by taste and feel.
In the village of Graach, with south-to-southwest exposition, the vines have great sun exposure all day as well as natural spring that runs through the hillside, guaranteeing good water supply even in warm vintages. The Romans already knew the benefits of Graach’s sites and cultivated vines here. In the Prussian classification of the Mosel vineyards from 1816 to 1832, Graach’s vineyards had the highest ratings. Compared to the wines just slightly northwest in Zeltingen, the wines from Graach show cooler green and white tones rather Wehlen and Zeltingen’s more orange and red flavors. These wines perfectly reflect this unique terroir and show the distinct differences between these two sites right next to each other. Domprobst is more mineral, smokier, shadowy, and takes longer to emerge while Himmelreich is buoyant, more floral, lighter in texture, and is open from day one.
Schaefer is absolutely, without question, one of the greatest producers in Germany. This is a benchmark for the Mosel and the wines are coveted not just by collectors, but by other growers.
The 2019 Himmelreich Spätlese AP #8 from the Schaefer family is a really classic and flat out delicious example of its Prädikat level and terroir. The wine comes in at 7.5 percent alcohol and offers up a vibrant, complex bouquet of lime, tangerine, lovely slate minerality, bee pollen, apple blossoms and a topnote of citrus zest. On the palate the wine is crisp, medium-full and succulent on the attack, with a lovely core, fine mineral drive and focus, bright acids and a long, complex and seamlessly balanced, bouncy finish. This is simply gorgeous wine. 2020- 2065+. (9/2020)
Play me a love song to the Mosel! Super fresh and super precise, this Spätlese has a ton of floral delight and a wonderful interplay of the most delicate, white and yellow character with vibrant acidity. Such a clean, filigree finish you want to bathe in it. Drink or hold. (9/2020)
The 2019 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese is precise, fresh and pure on the nose that displays notes grated lemon rind and crushed stones. Round, piquant and juicy on the palate, this is an utterly refined yet sustainable and firmly structured Spätlese with dense and vibrating fresh Riesling fruit whose sweetness is well-compensated by mineral grip, salinity and tension. 7.5% alcohol. Tasted from AP 08 20 in June 2010. 2019 is a great vintage for this tiny icon producer in Graach. Christoph and Andrea Schaefer were even able to select a (dry) Grosses Gewächs from the Himmelreich, and I am curious to taste the result as soon as possible. However this wine will show, the sweet predicates are hard to beat. They are absolutely brilliant and possibly include some of the finest I have tasted here. Just look at the several selections from the family's Domprobst holdings! A great Kabinett, three highly finessed Spätlesen, three savory Auslesen and even a Beerenauslese! Namely, Schaefer's Spätlesen (Domprobst #5 and #10) and Auslesen (Domprobst #14 and Himmelreich) are extraordinary, and you don't have to go to the auction in Trier in September to prove it. Due to the cold autumn and the healthy grapes, there was even time to sort for a Beerenauslese in the Domprobst, which is another highlight of the vintage and based entirely on healthy yet overripe grapes. The 2019 Prädikatsweine show Willi Schaefer at its very best. (SR) (8/2020)
LouElla is Downtown Durham's neighborhood bottle shop, bar, and event space offering curated wine, craft beer, and fortified selections from family operated producers. The business takes its name and mission from owner and proprietor Campbell Davis's Great Aunt LouElla who was much beloved for her warmth, hospitality, and generous spirit. Whether we are serving you at the bar or helping you pick that perfect bottle to host your celebration, our mission is to share LouElla's hospitality with the community.
Owner & Manager
For Cam Davis, LouElla is the culmination of more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality and beverage industry. Cam has successfully managed some of Durham’s finest locally and nationally recognized establishments, including Hutchin's Garage, Guglhupf, Rue Cler, and Durham Catering Company. He brings a wealth of wine and beverage knowledge, not only from his extensive restaurant experience, but also from his tenure as Durham Sales Manager for wine distributor Bordeaux, Fine and Rare.
316 West Geer St, Suite A, Durham, NC 27701
Tue. 11am - 8pm
Wed. & Thu. 11am - 9pm
Fri. & Sat. 11am - 10pm
Sun. 11am - 8pm