Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 1988
This week a look back to twenty years ago, to the 1988 vintage. For me this was a very significant year, a watershed moment when I left behind the easy life of a sixth form student to read medicine at Liverpool University. Little did I realise that as I adjusted to my new existence, which as a pre-med undergraduate included long days of lectures, physiology practicals and at least six hours per week of anatomy, which was then principally learnt through human dissection (there was obviously absolutely no time for drinking or socialising, honest), far far away there were men and women harvesting fruit which would one day be very important to me. The grapes in question would be fermented and bottled and one day, perhaps years later, a handful of these bottles would come into my possession.
This was the case with these bottles, which I acquired from the Wine Society sometime during the past couple of years. At the time I had a few of Prüm’s wines in the cellar, but principally wines from the 2001 vintage, although also a few older examples, including one or two bottles of the reputedly fabulous Goldkapsel Auslese. But I had certainly not tried anything with this degree of bottle age, and I snapped them up. The wines of the Prüm estate have an excellent reputation for ageing well, and so I had no qualms about adding them to the cellar untasted. Before long I realised I had a very small collection of bottles from the 1988 vintage, and so recently I opened one of each to see how they were doing. It was a small tasting – just five wines in fact – but happily each was showing superbly, especially this fantastic bottle.
I will publish my opinions on the other four wines tomorrow, but first to the one that I have chosen as my Weekend Wine; this 1988 Riesling Auslese from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard, vinified and bottled by Manfred Prüm of the Joh. Jos. Prüm estate, has quite a rich and yellow-gold hue in the glass, although it still has a very bright character. The nose is wonderfully pure, very dense and full of limes and minerals, especially the latter which have a fine, chalky, flinty, dusty character. The palate has a lovely flesh which coats the mouth, before yielding flavours of lime, honey, crushed rocks and more. It is remarkable to reflect on the age of this wine; it has such overt freshness and vivacity, I suspect someone tasting this blind would guess its age to be considerably less than two decades. On the finish it shows a delightfully complete composition, with fine acidity carrying along the substance of the wine. There is lots of character here, plenty of depth and through to the finish a real character. I find this wine to be very fine indeed, put still with great potential for the cellar; I have one more bottle which will remain there for a while yet. 18.5/20 AP number: 2 576 511 15 89 (15/9/08)