Willi Schaefer

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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. 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 are coveted not just by collectors, but by other growers.  

Located in Graach, with south-to-southwest exposition, the vines have great sun exposure all day as well as natural spring that run 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.

2018 was a bountiful vintage. To start, it was a warm year, and because of the underground springs, the vineyards here can handle the stress that excessive heat brings. Second, the rains came at exactly the right time. In Terry’s vintage report he wrote: “2018’s wines resulted from unprecedented growing conditions, a very long and dry summer veering from warm to hot but without the violent spikes of heat we’ve seen in other hot years. Drought vintages, as you know, favor old vines (and their deeper root systems), water-retaining soils, and local microclimate factors. At times the differences between two neighboring villages depended on who got the thunderstorm and who didn’t.”

Terry named Willi Schaefer as the winery of the vintage, Terry writes “…has to get it, because not since 2011 have I seen a vintage more aligned with Schaefer’s deepest most fundamental strengths than 2018 is here. It’s a serene, fruit-forward vintage with a succession of beauties that finally stills you and leaves you silently grateful.”

Vineyard area: 4.2 hectares
Annual production: 2,900 cases
Vineyard holdings:
Graach – Domprobst and Himmelreich (all Devonian slate)

For more information, please view the Terry Theise catalog here.


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