Lots of sunshine and plenty of warmth were the hallmarks of 2020 but, crucially, although both were in plentiful supply, heat spikes were noticeably absent, allowing for a certain classicism that will delight the purists amongst you.
The now almost expected mild winter gave way to an early spring that was blessed with enough rain to help build up much needed reserves for later on. Budbreak and flowering inevitably came and went early, the former causing some nervous nights, but, thankfully, frost stayed away from the Prüm vineyards. Consistently warm days, but not excessively so, ensured a very positive flowering. In fact, the lovely weather generally continued throughout the summer and August enjoyed some very warm days, peppered with very welcome rain.
And so, the extended harvest began earlier than ever before on the 17th September, with good volumes of Kabinett grapes from each of the main vineyards.
The harvest continued for another 5 weeks or so, with a few interruptions from rain, but strong drying winds worked their magic and the quality of fruit that was harvested was fantastic, all the way up to TBA level (these rare wines will be released at some point in the future – hopefully!)
It seems that the curious mix of record sunshine hours, consistently warm but not excessively hot days and a good smattering of rain at just the right times, has created a scenario in which serious wines have been made at each stylistic level. Good volumes of lovely, quite classical Kabinett have been made at the same time as some stunning Gold Kapsule wines have been crafted. It does not often happen that way. This is truly a vintage that should excite anyone who loves the complexities and subtle beauties of Riesling. And when the source is Prüm, then we can be assured of some very special wines indeed.
The History and Future
of Joh. Jos. Prüm
This remarkable estate is more than 100 years old, having been established back in 1911 by Johann Josef Prüm. Over the decades it has created an incredibly strong following for its brilliant, long-lived wines, that always seem to express the dramatic landscape of this part of the Mittel Mosel. The wines are mineral, backward, vibrant and full of complexity and depth. Manfred Prüm oversaw the estate through the 70s, 80 and 90s and into the new millennium before gradually handing over the pipette to his talented daughter, Katharina. Today she manages an estate that now totals around 20 hectares, with some superb holdings such as Sonnenuhr in Wehlen, Himmelreich in Graach and Badstube in Bernkastel. Perhaps the one subtle change is that the wines are arguably a touch more expressive in youth than they once were but not at the expense of longevity, which continues to bring added complexity and personality to the wines. Simply put, the wines from this estate are not just amongst the best wines coming out of Germany, they are amongst the best wines made anywhere in the world.
Last year we bought a few wines at the famous Grosser Ring Auction in Trier; a unique and astonishing event where you taste and bid for special and very rare cuvées that are only sold at the auction. The bidding for each lot runs simultaneously with a generous measure of said wine sitting in the glass in front of you. It’s the purest form of auction possible. The greater the wine tastes, the more bids are registered. The final price is only settled when the number of bids (total bottles requested) matches the number of bottles available. Quality, scarcity, and demand, working in perfect harmony. Some of the lots can be as little as a few magnums. Despite covid we managed to snap up a few lots, but thanks to Covid we are yet to offer them, so what better moment than to do so alongside these magnificent Prüm wines. We must stress quantities are very, very limited indeed!