Text Size:-+
09.27.2009

2007 S.A. Prüm "Wehlener Sonnenuhr" Riesling Kabinett , Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany

sa_prum_sonnehur_07.jpgAs you know, I think wine reviews should be more than just tasting notes and scores. They should be the stories of the people and the places behind the wines. While the people quite often bring the most life to the story of a wine, sometimes the place, even the vineyard itself, can be the most prominent character in the drama.

In the case of this wine, the story consists of the inextricable link between a family and a vineyard. By most accounts, the Prüm family has owned vineyards in and around the town of Wehlen in Germany's Mosel river valley since the early 12th century, and they have lived in the area even longer. I'm not entirely sure when the Prüm name first appeared on a wine bottle, but the name became famous in conjunction with wine when in 1846 Jodocus Prüm painted a sundial on the face of a rocky outcrop in the center of a steeply sloping vineyard that would henceforth be known as the Wehlen Sundial vineyard, or Wehlener Sonnenuhr.

Today such an act might be seen as anything from artistic to prankish, but in those days it was merely pragmatic - the equivalent of erecting a clock in the town square. The winegrowers of the region needed a way to keep track of time, and the steep face of the vineyard seemed as good a place as any.

Jodocus Prüm's health began to fail in the late 1800's and so he began to split up his lands among his seven children, several of which started their own wineries. The Prüm family is to German wine what the Hearst family is to publishing in the United States. Today there are at least seven wineries that bear the Prüm name several generations later: including J.J. Prüm, Alfred Prüm, Dr. F. Weins-Prüm, Jos. Christoffel Jr. (formerly Christoffel-Prüm), Studert-Prüm, Weingut Steffen Prüm, and S.A. Prüm. Several more Prüm intermarriages and mergers are also responsible for several more prominent names in German wine, including Dr. Loosen.

Many of these scions of Jodocus Prüm still make wine in and around Wehlen, and several continue to own portions of the famous Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard (which at last count was parceled out into 200 different separately owned holdings).

One of the largest parcels in Wehlener Sonnenuhr is owned by the S.A Prüm estate, which has been continuously operated by descendants of Jodocus Prüm, since his eldest son Sebastian Alois Prüm began his own winery with his portion of the vineyards bequeathed by his father.

S.A. Prüm has been run for the last 33 years by Raimund Prüm, Sebastian's grandson, and more recently Raimund's daughter Saskia Andrea. The winery continues to produce Rieslings from their portion of the Sonnenuhr vineyard, as well as other nearby vineyards totaling about 40 acres.

Grown on the region's decomposed blue slate soils, at incredibly steep inclines, the own-rooted (non-grafted) Riesling vines in the Wehlener Sonnenuhr average 80 years of age. The non-irrigated vines are, for all intents and purposes, grown organically, though the estate is not certified.

Grapes are meticulously hand harvested and destemmed before being gently crushed into steel tanks where they fully ferment at their own pace before being moved into 50-year-old, 1000-liter oak casks where they age until bottling.

Full disclosure: I received this wine as a press sample.

Tasting Notes:
Palest gold in the glass, this wine has a heady nose of candle wax, candied tangerine zest, and honeysuckle aromas. In the mouth it is soft and lovely, with less acidity than I would expect (or desire), but nice flavors of beeswax, honeysuckle, ripe pears, and hints of lychee on the finish. Almost completely dry, with a touch of sugar, it is delicate and delicious.

Food Pairing:
Chilled down, this would be a lovely wine to drink with some homemade macaroni and cheese (which I happen to be craving at the moment -- go figure).

Overall Score: around 9

How Much?: $23

This wine is available for purchase on the Internet.

Comments (4)

Sean Gillies wrote:
09.27.09 at 11:05 PM

The Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyards are clearly visible in Google Earth's imagery: http://sgillies.net/files/wehlener-sonnenuhr.kmz

Joe wrote:
09.28.09 at 5:51 AM

I had the pleasure of hanging out with Raimond earlier this year at the S.A. Prum estate, where he (in typical Raimond style) had created a fire in the 'backyard' and grilled various foods while generously pouring his wines.

The guy is a real original, and has Gary V.-style hustle when it comes to promoting the SA Prum wines - which are quite good. TasteLive.com is going to feature S.A. Prum (this week I think) in a fcoused-blogger twitter tasting - should be interesting to see what other wine bloggers think of the wines.

Cheers!

Mark wrote:
09.28.09 at 7:19 AM

Alder,
Don't forget the grilled brats to go with your homemade mac & cheese...

Here's a link to a tasty German dish that I thought you might enjoy - http://www.recipezaar.com/German-Zwiebelkuchen-Onion-Pie-305407

It's definitely different, but very good.

Cheers!
Mark

Dylan wrote:
09.28.09 at 7:30 AM

Amazing how the legacy was divided among the originating family and each continued in their own way to this date. If you're a young Prum at this point in the story, it must be hard to deny getting involved in the family business.

Comment on this entry

(will not be published)
(optional -- Google will not follow)
Yes
 

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Pre-Order My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

Most Recent Entries

Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 20th, 2014 An American Perspective on (the Wine Scene in) Japan Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe, Chateauneuf-du-Pape: Current Releases Vinography Images: Rising Light Book Review: The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert The Beauty of 2011 Burgundy: Highlights from La Paulee de San Francisco Seven Percent Solution Tasting: May 8, San Francisco Vinography Images: Autumn Cellar Vinography Images: Vines and Sky Are You a Red, Pink or a Purple Wine Stater?

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

Archives by Month

 

Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.