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Lauer Riesling No.16
I *loved* it - some critics didn't
Lauer "Points Study"

{ This was one of my favorite "simple" Lauer wines of 2021; some critics panned it. What do you think? Welcome to our first ever "Points Study.” }
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2021 Peter Lauer Riesling No.16 Trocken

It's worth beginning with the obvious fact that the No. 16 estate dry Riesling is not Lauer's greatest bottling.

That said, while tasting this Riesling in March of 2022 I was so taken by the clarity and focus of the wine, by its linear, dancing energy and its simple, gushing refreshment that I asked Florian - despite the fact that I need another unique Lauer bottling like I need a hole in my head - if I could have maybe 50 to 100 cases?

What can I say: I just wanted to have the wine.

Florian looked at me apologetically and said he could only do, maximum, ten cases. (Yes, for those of you who want to skip the philosophical discussion about rating wines in the year 2022, you can grab a few bottles of this wine, now.)

Now, while I waited for my Lauer No. 16 wondering what in the hell I would do with only ten cases, a number of reviews came out by critics who I truly respect (reviews below). I don't particularly care about scores, but I do read the reviews and the estate summaries... and of course I take a gander at the scores, just to see what's what.

And I have to admit I was a bit shocked to see my baby, the Lauer Riesling No. 16, get only 87 points! The wine was the second-lowest rated wine in the whole issue (only one wine received 86 points). More confusing, the general tone of the review was really positive, see below.

Now, I hardly consider myself a supertaster; on the other hand, I'm not a total novice either. At the very least I have more experience drinking German Riesling than any dentist or doctor could reasonably recommend.

Still, the radical differences in our reactions to the same wine does seem to beg the question: How can four people, all very knowledgeable and competent, come to such different conclusions about the same wine? And if the answer, sitting in front of us as clearly as can be, is that tasting wine is a subjective experience, nothing more than an opinion - what is the value of ascribing specific and concrete values to these subjective opinions? To say nothing of the fact that wine constantly changes and evolves, so that the wine one is scoring will no longer be the same wine by the time the reviews are read.

I studied art history and there are mountains of books dedicated to articulating why a specific painting or a sculpture may or may not be of value - why one person may think it relevant to a cultural moment while another expert thinks it's total rubbish. Yet I've never once seen a painting or sculpture scored. The idea, I think, would strike most people as absurd - belittling to something so much more complex than any number.

So why do we think it's appropriate for wine? As far as I can tell, wine is just another cultural product, an expression of a place, of a people, of a time. And if we can agree (and I'm not sure that we will agree) that it's time to move beyond points, what does wine journalism look like in a post-points world?

I have some ideas but it's obviously not totally clear. Alas, this is an email of questions, not answers.

We're curious, what do you think? I mean, hell - do you think the 2021 Lauer No. 16 bottling is good or not good? Do you like it or not? Why? Beyond this, what are your thoughts on points? Clearly the popularity of the points system must mean it resonates with us in some very deep ways.

We'd love to hear your thoughts - just email We'll do our best to assemble some sort of coherent summary and we'll publish this later.

And while you're writing us your thesis on the points system, please feel free to order some 87-point Lauer. Both reviews are below for fun.

Finally, please note we will *not* be selling any other Lauer cuvées via SM; please reach out to the importer ( or your friendly local retailer for more information on the 2021 Lauers. This offer is more to foster a discussion...

87 points!!! "The 2021er Riesling Trocken N°16 was made half from own grapes harvested in Ayl and half from purchased grapes from Saarburg, Wawern, and Wiltingen. It offers a backward nose which takes some time (think days) to reveals its underlying core of pear, smoke, apple, and floral elements. The wine proves nicely playful and focused on the palate. A kick of zest brings zing to the linear and very satisfying finish." Mosel Fine Wines, Issue 62, summer 2022

16+ points!!! "Edgy, funky, artisan wine that should start to blossom towards the end of 2022. New wave and well sculpted." Jancis Robinson, Howard Ripley 2021 tasting, summer 2022

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