Like many growers, Schonleber uses stars on certain labels not merely to highlight the difference between wines of the same predicate, but to serve as an indication of how he rates them. Thus, his “two star” 2006 Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Auslese denotes a wine significantly riper – and ostensibly superior – to a “normal” or “one star” Auslese, even though in this vintage none of the latter sorts were bottled. This represents a picking-out of botrytized fruit over a wide range of parcels, in large part so as to eliminate berries inappropriate to the dry wines. Smelling of red berry, quince jelly, peony, and rose petals, it turns rather candied on the palate, with marzipan and red fruit joined by expansive, sweetly-perfumed inner-mouth floral profusion. Creamy in texture and supremely elegant and delicate despite its enormous sweetness, and tinged with caramel and white raisin its wafting finish, this beauty will continue to reward cellaring for at least a quarter century.
“The Nahe had the capability to render really good dry wines this year,” asserts Werner Schonleber. “Elsewhere, the botrytis was problematic, or the ripening took place too quickly. But we caught the whole spectrum here.” He proceeded to prove this memorably in the glass, with the finest collection I have ever tasted at this address (as well as – improbably – one in which Fruhlingsplatzchen outperformed Halenberg).