Markus Molitor 2019 Release
AND IN THE LEFT CORNER IT’S MMMAAAARRRRKKKKKUUUUUSSSSS MMMMOOOLLLLIIITTTOOOOORRRR
(should be read in a fight announcers deep rumbling voice)
Saved the best for last (or close to the last) – Do not miss out!
Markus Molitor’s ambition, indefatigability and standards of vinous excellence are almost frightening. Acting as his own cellarmaster, Molitor directly supervises the farming of some 60 hectares, often resulting in nearly that many individual bottlings from a given vintage. DAVID SCHILDKNECHT, Vinous Media
Molitor not only heads one of the largest Mosel estates, he is also one of the best. Few others work with such focus and dedication – if not to say obsession. But how else could he manage all this – since he is still the winemaker and mastermind, calling every decision in the vineyard and cellar. ANNE KREBIEHL MW, Decanter
In the dry and off-dry categories, few can match his hand. While his Kabinetts are of picture-book quality and his Spätleses and Ausleses are both rich and delicate JOEL B PAYNE. Vinous
After a stunning 2018 vintage, 2019 is another top vintage for Markus Molitor, who holds numerous grand cru sites in the Middle Mosel between Traben-Trarbach and Bernkastel plus, just recently, the Thörnicher Ritsch as well as in the Saar Valley. Molitor’s 2019 Rieslings are bright, precise, laser-sharp and super clear. They exhibit ripe and aromatic fruit and precise terroir flavors that make all the wines incredibly distinctive. You can’t mix up the sites, if you are trained enough, and certainly you also can’t mix up the predicates, which are clearly defined, even though a classic Kabinett in modern times is always a downgraded Spätlese or even Auslese, if the category is related to must weight and not to style alone.
Due to highly selective hand-picking by a huge and experienced vineyard team, all quality levels could be harvested between September 20 and October 28. The gentle processing of the grapes and musts, the slow spontaneous fermentation and long lees aging in large oak foudres until September of the following year resulted in substantial, very concentrated, stimulatingly mineral as well as finessed wines with ripe, yet fine yellow fruit aromas. The aging capacity of the Rieslings as well as the Pinot Blancs and Chardonnay is again tremendous. STEPHAN REINHARDT, Wine Advocate
IS 2019 GERMANY’S 100-POINT VINTAGE? – The 2019 vintage is the best vintage I have ever tasted for German riesling in my four-decade career. Like James, my career as a wine critic began in the early 1980s. The first German vintage I tasted as young wines was 1983 and I can’t remember a vintage like that – until now. The 2019 wines, from dry to classic style with natural grape sweetness are simply astonishing quality, which means 2019 is one of the greatest vintages of modern times and will be remembered for decades, possibility generations. STUART PIGOTT, jamessuckling.com
Ok, maybe that headline is a little over the top… but only a little. Molitor is one of the producers I buy when someone tells me they don’t like Riesling, although I have either converted or removed most of those people from my life now, no one needs that kind of negativity, that is how compelling and thoroughly convincing are the offerings of this estate. I genuinely can’t imagine anyone who enjoys white wine not falling head over heals in love with these things, young or matured.
So, if you aren’t familiar with these wines, Molitor is one of the very small, hyper-elite, group of Mosel producers who are equally deft at both dry and sweet styles of Riesling and in that group I would put a strong case forward to say he is the best (though that may change depending on how I feel on any given day) and definitely top three.
I find it remarkable that an estate of this size, by Mosel standards it’s a beast, that Markus is still intimately involved in every single aspect and oversees each pick, each ferment and each bottling. That level of fanaticism must be exhausting but the reward for that focus and determination is the exemplary quality across the entire range. In that way the estate reminds me a little of Humbrecht.
It is a little hard to pin down a “house style” for Molitor, because of the large range of wines, spanning so many of the region’s top sites. They run the gamut from spine tinglingly dry and nervous, through off dry wines that walk the knife edge of interplay between sweetness and acidity, all the way up to unctuously sweet and lusciously fruited dessert wines. I feel like drawing comparisons with other producers, who also make Riesling from properly dry through to dessert wines in other areas, is not useful here and his colleagues in the Mosel are similarly difficult to summarise.
One remarkable facet of these wines is their unerring ability to present their individual sites and seasons with such clarity. In a good vintage his wines, no matter their pradikat or site, are the essence of purity and youthful vigour.
What perhaps has me that little extra enthused, over and above my usual level of excitement around great German Riesling, is that these are 2019s, a vintage where both sweet and dry styles have excelled in the Mosel. For those producers who do craft both I often feel like one or the other is a more successful result in most vintages. From what I have seen, thus far, 2019 is the exception. A year where the Mosel has produced some of the most serenely poised sweet wines and electrifying, intense, dry examples I can recall tasting.
For anyone out there still not convinced that the Mosel is able to produce dry Riesling that are among the finest examples on the planet then if Molitor can’t convince you otherwise, nothing will. I should be a little cautious here, yes his dry wines are usually remarkable, so are is off dry and sweet wines. They really are the complete package.