The legendary Schloss Johannisberg is steeped in history. The vineyards were planted on the orders of the Roman Emperor Charlemagne. Planted solely with Riesling grapes in 1720, Schloss Johannisberg was the world's first Riesling Estate and plays a significant part in wine history. It was here in 1775 that the Spätlese quality was discovered using late picked grapes suffering from "noble rot". Following this discovery, in 1787 the estate gave Auslese, Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese to the wine world. Schloss Johannisberg is a single vineyard designation in its own right and one of a handful of German vineyards that does not have to display a village name on the label.
The 2015 to 2016 winter was the second warmest on record for the past 130 years. Spring was comparatively cooler and wetter thank previous vintages; with persistent rain continuing until the end of June, which built up good levels of soil moisture. The summer was warm and sunny, enabling the vines to ripen fully. The outstanding warm weather in September supported the physiological maturity of the healthy grapes. The 2016 wines are smooth and full of vibrant fruit, with animated acidity levels balanced by moderate alcohol content.
The Riesling vines are grown in quartz stone from the Taunus hillsides interspersed with red clay and topped with loam and loss. Producing limited yields, the grapes are carefully harvested by hand. Spätlese is translated as "late harvest": the grapes are harvested at least seven days after the normal harvest, so they are riper and have a higher sugar content and produce wines of a greater intensity.
The grapes were carefully selected and gently pressed in whole clusters. A slow, long and cool fermentation took place in 100% stainless steel tanks, preserving the varietal characteristics of the Riesling vines and the terroir from which it hails. The wine was aged for five months on its fine lees adding texture and complexity.
A rich and fragrant Spätlese, with an exotic bouquet of pineapple, passion fruit and honeydew melon, complemented by ripe peach notes. Initial sweetness is perfectly balanced by a juicy acidity on the fruity palate, a mineral core leads to a long citrus note on the finish. A beautifully styled fragrant German medium wine showing floral and ginger notes combined with tropical fruit and a hint of oranges. Long and elegant.