Joh Jos Prum 2016 Riesling New Arrivals

Katharina Prüm had just given birth when I visited her family’s estate in late July 2017, and for the first time in a number of years, only a single Prüm was on hand to present the wines – namely, Katharina’s mother, Amei, who is uncannily able to identify the estate’s wines blind, and is reminded by 2016 of 1998. The Prüm’s Wehlen and Graach vineyards were touched by May 2016 hail, and like so many growers, they lost some of their crop. Overall, yields were down by 25-30% against midterm averages. Picking began in the second week of October and, in estate-typical fashion, lasted past the point where most growers had finished – in this case, mid-November. The 2016 range culminated, Prädikat-wise, in Goldkapsel and Lange Goldkapsel Auslesen. The wines I tasted in late July 2017 had all been very recently bottled but were showing no ill effects. I did not have an opportunity to taste four slightly later-bottled auctioned wines. This vintage strikes me as an ideal one for showcasing the virtues of Prüm Kabinett – not that wines of higher Prädikat are unimpressive.

Two thousand sixteen not only perpetuates the streak of vintages that rewarded growers with ripe fruit, it also delivered weather conditions that were extreme by absolutely any standard. And yet, the resulting Rieslings are anything but extreme, either statistically or organoleptically. In fact, if one were seeking a Latin motto for the 2016 vintage in Riesling Germany, it might be “ex extremis aequilibrium.”...

In sum, 2016 is a vintage whose wines are quite remarkably restrained and consistently fine considering the overall extremeness and local heterogeneity that characterized the growing season. I have seldom enjoyed Rieslings that were so effusively floral, a characteristic that conspicuously charmed tasters during the Mosel’s first, late 19th-century triumph on an international stage. And if how often you find yourself resorting to mineral descriptors is one measure for you (as it certainly is for me) of a Riesling’s appeal as well as its profundity, then 2016 won’t disappoint. Texturally too, the 2016s often flatteringly caress without sacrificing animation or forgetting their duty to refresh. DAVID SCHILDKNECHT, JANUARY 2018