For those of you who already know, today we offer a treasure trove of bottles spanning 15 years, each bottle being pulled this week directly from the deep, cold cellars at J.J. Prüm.
For those of you who have overlooked J.J. Prüm, now is the moment to revisit, to reconsider.
This mixed case will be your cellar treasure, or your delicious master-class – or both.
Every buyer who is confirmed on a case will receive, accompanying the case, a signed letter from Katharina Prüm herself, talking about both the vineyard and the vintages. The provenance of these bottles is unquestionable; the pricing is in line with the best pricing available in the U.S
J.J. Prüm "understanding Himmelreich" collectors' case includes:
3 x 2018 Himmelreich Kabinett 3 x 2016 Himmelreich Spätlese 3 x 2012 Himmelreich Auslese 3 x 2003 Himmelreich Auslese Gold Capsule
For nearly half a century the estate of J.J. Prüm has largely defined this category, this region. They have helped shape the narrative and have influenced generations of winemakers. To some extent, the style of Prüm - the minerality, the energy, the expansive and airy lightness coupled with an ultra-fine, razor-sharp acidity - is the style of the Mosel.
Yet, as iconic and well-known as their label is, I would argue that in many ways the estate is actually very misunderstood. Far from being the rather staid, aristocratic estate that the famous looming slate mansion along the Mosel might imply, Prüm has in many ways been ahead of the curve.
Long before everyone spoke of natural fermentation (like several decades before) Manfred Prüm insisted this was the way to achieve more complexity, more inherent balance.
While winemakers everywhere spoke of low yields and looked for “powerful” wines, adapting the worship of ripeness that Robert Parker made a commercial force, Prüm questioned lower yields as inherently a sign of “quality” and insisted on lightness and delicacy above all for Mosel wine.
As they have helped to define Mosel wine, so too have they been largely defined by their most famous vineyard, the Wehlener Sonnenuhr. Yet for many, the Himmelreich is their most delicate gem: its extreme fine-ness has brought me back and back again.
If the Wehlener Sonnenuhr is often the most complete of the J.J. Prüm bottlings, the Himmelreich is the most linear, the most finessed. With its slightly more western exposure, the vineyard is slightly cooler. The Prüms own just over 8 hectares in this vineyard; they have had these holdings since the winery was founded in 1911. Most of the holdings are around or close to the Himmelreich sign; the vines are on average about 50 years old though some vines are 80 years or older.
The collection today has been curated together: we wanted to show contrasts and comparisons. So we have bookended two superb, “classic” vintages (2012 and 2016) with two exceptional, “great” warmer vintages (2018 and 2003).
From 2018, we believe you will be shocked by the lightness and lift of this delicate Kabinett. Even in (especially in?) warmer vintages, Himmelreich shines. 2016 is one of those “very good,” classic vintages that grows in estimation every year. The Himmelreich Spätlese showcases the extreme finesse and cut of this vintage, of this vineyard. The 2012 Himmelreich Auslese is simply an epic wine from an epic vintage: dense, compact, with so much energy and life ahead of it. Finally, from the misunderstood 2003 vintage we offer up the Himmelreich Auslese Gold Capsule – and there is a very specific reason we do this. If 2003 has been written off in some circles as being too low in acidity, one should note that the higher Prädikat wines with botrytis concentrate both the power of the fruit but also concentrate the acidity. This is a shockingly fresh wine, linear yet with profound depth and complexity. This will be regarded, much as the top wines of 1959 are now, as an unquestionably great wine. This is, quite simply, a game-changer of a bottling.