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Wolfram Stempel
the final vintage
authenticity in the avant garde

{ Within the span of four vintages, farming less than .2 hectares, Wolfram Stempel made a dramatic impact in the Mosel... and then he left. }
sold out

à la carte:
2021 Riesling "MHT21" Dry (Trocken) 

mixed three-pack: 
2 bottles of 2021 Riesling "MHT21" Dry (Trocken)
1 bottle of 2020 Riesling "MHK20_R" Off-Dry (Kabinett)

Here we present what may be the final vintage of Wolfram Stempel.

His wines have been among the most talked about wines we've offered; they have quickly become Source Material classics, favorites with a wide range of buyers.

Those of you who know should order quickly because this is it... and there is not much wine. As but one concrete example, only around 48 bottles of his "MHK20_R" reserve came to the states. Because of the extreme rarity here, this bottle is only available in the three-pack.

We have a bit more of the dry "MHT21" - à la carte buying is available there as you may want to stock up?

Robert and I first tasted Wolfram's wines in early 2021, calling in samples during the pandemic and carefully getting together to taste. I still remember tasting them for the first time at Robert's. I was blown away; the wines simply had no precedent.

Soon thereafter Mosel Fine Wines weighed in, giving Wolfram high praise and high scores. I suppose the rest is history?

Although it was a surprise to us when Wolfram told us he was leaving the Mosel late last year, there is no drama. Wolfram had lived for many years in Japan, had married a Japanese woman and after having a child, they decided to move back to Japan. It was just a personal family decision.

Whether or not Wolfram ever returns to the Mosel, there is no denying the impact he had on this region.

As we've written before, these wines represent a fascinating trend developing in German winemaking right now - a trend we will explore in some detail over the next few emails. Wolfram's wines push boundaries, ignoring many of the "traditions" of Mosel wine (for example, blocking malolactic fermentation) and engage in many of the practices of natural winemaking (for example, no fining or filtering, low sulfur use).

And yet, and this is critical, for us at least: The wines speak of the Mosel, their origin; they are clearly Riesling. They are clean and bright. They are also, well, just different from many Mosel wines.

There are two wines are on offer, the current release 2021 "MHT21" - the simple code Wolfram uses to denote "Maringer Honigberg Trocken," a dry Riesling from the vintage 2021. As this is a "Landwein," it is not allowed to declare either a village of vineyard on the label. Thus the necessity for the code.

The second is the reserve wine, a single cask held back for two years before being released, the "MHK20_R" - in this case the code translates to "Maringer Honigberg Kabinett Reserve" from the 2020 vintage.

The first Riesling is dry, the second is off-dry, a Kabinett-style. Yet both offer an incredibly complex fabric of spice and green herbal detail woven together. The Mosel Fine Wines review, below, is for the 2019 "Reserve" wine, but it gives you some sense of the language that Wolfram speaks through his wines:

"The wine offers an absolutely stunning and deeply complex nose of whipped almond and coconut cream, fine Christmas spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove), gingerbread, yellow flowers, bergamot, tiare flower, and fine vanilla. The wine proves delicately juicy and almost velvety on the initially smooth and almost light-weighted palate. But where it really comes into its own is when the acidity comes through and brings a great lively and playful side to the wine. The finish proves hugely long and energetic with some riper and spicier notes more associated to great natural wines (especially from the Jura). This is a gorgeous expression of bone-dry Riesling."

Wolfram's slow ferments, selective use of carbonic fermentation and extended élevage in smaller barrel (used barriques or 300 liter barrels), results in simply singular wines. They are textural, vibrant and expressive with complex fruit, crystalline yet also laced with layers and layers of spice. The acids, while present the way Mosel acid is, are more shaped and serpentine.

They are, in short, delicious, psychedelic, Riesling-vapor explosions.

After first tasting these wines over two years ago, I felt like I had to get on the phone to talk with Wolfram, to try and understand these most curious wines - his extremely personal journey. We spoke about everything, from his upbringing in Bavaria, his move to Japan and his love affair with the Japanese culture. At some point Herman Hesse's Siddartha came up and I included a quote from the book in our first offer - I've included it again below the picture at the bottom of this email.

Yet if it feels appropriate to end with another quote from Siddartha as well. Wolfram, for now you have left the Mosel, but as the book says: "The river is everywhere."

We miss you friend and wish you all the best where ever your journey takes you. Thank you for your wines and friendship!

Stephen and Robert

“When someone seeks," said Siddhartha, "then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.”
- Herman Hesse, Siddhartha

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