Region: Mosel, Germany
Color/Style: White Wine
The “Graf” is a beautifully complex Riesling; a wine both of the Mosel and somehow sorta post-Mosel. It has something of the high-toned citrus and riper stone fruit profile common to Mosel Riesling, with an added complexity and a more gauzy, satiny feel. Bone-dry yet not harsh or extreme at all, in fact it is incredibly stylish and well-balanced. You can read the reviews but honestly, you gotta just taste this damn wine.
Sourced from an east-facing, grey-slated vineyard called the Piesporter Grafenberg. This wine likely wouldn’t pass the “Mosel wine authorities;” they want everything filtered and crystal clear! So Philip has to (and, I’d add, is perfectly happy to) sell it as a simple “Landwein.” The problem is that you can’t indicate the vineyard site with such a wine, so Philip has created a persona, “der Graf” or Count. This is, after all, the “Grafenberg,” or, “hill of the Count.” A similar character was created for his other Riesling: “der Hirt” or shepherd. The parcel Philip is using is about 0.2 hectare and the vines are roughly 30 years old. As with the Pinot Gris and the Pinot Noir, the grapes are purchased from an old apprentice of Ulli Stein’s. This gentleman works and owns the parcel but Philip makes important decisions and gets the grapes from the same plot(s) every year. Natural fermentation in used oak barrels from 225 to 500 liters in size, on the full lees without any S02 for one year. Then it was racked into steel for another six months to help with the settling. A very light filtration and 20ppm S02 just before bottling.