2015 Schloss Johannisberger Gelblack Riesling Feinherb QbA

Year: 2015
Appellation: Rheingau
Country: Germany
Wine Advocate: 90
Vinous Media: 87
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 12.0%
Price :

"Fermented 20% in 1,200-liter Stück from own oak trees, the 2015 Schloss Johannisberger Gelblack Riesling Trocken has a concentrated, but very clear and slightly smoky bouquet of yellow-skinned fruits. It is a very aromatic, fresh, finesse-full and elegant Riesling with purity, but also enough sensuality to attract the masses. In fact, this is commercially the most important wine of the domaine. The finish reveals a lovely purity, grip and stimulating minerality. Very well structured.

There are some really great wines to buy from Schloss Johannisberg in 2015. Most of all the TBA, which is close to perfection and one of the finest sweet wines I have tasted this year. Also, the Auslese is remarkable in its finesse and delicacy, whereas the Spätlese will shine in ten years or so—as will the 2015 Schloss Johannisberger Grosses Gewächs Silberlack. One of the last dry Kabinett Rieslings from the VDP Rheingau is the 2015 Schloss Johannisberger Rosalack, and honestly, it could hardly be better. Although it is not really a Kabinett in style (light and filigreed like a Mosel cliche), it is an impressively complex and persistent Riesling Trocken from one of the greatest terroirs for Riesling on planet wine. I even prefer it to the GG Silberlack at the moment, but the ageing potential, ripeness and complexity of the latter is clearly superior.

The vines experienced an enormously dry and warm summer with temperatures at Schloss Johannisberg up to 38 degrees Celsius. Only in the last days of August, the long desired rain came and stimulated the faltered ripening process again. September was rather humid, but at the end of the month and also in October, the weather was perfect: sunny and warm during the day (18-20 degrees Celsius), with refreshing east winds and cool night temperatures at 5-8 degrees Celsius.

Christian Witte, director at Schloss Johannisberg since 2004, is going to leave the famous castle in October. He will be responsible for the international marketing of the whole Henkell & Co. group, to which Schloss Johannisberg and Champagne Alfred Gratien both belong. Witte will be followed by Sommelier Stefan Doktor, who has been at Schloss Johannisberg since 2008, as well as Marcel Szopa, who has also been responsible for the Sekt production of the Henkell group since 2012." (WA)

"This so-called Gelblack (yellow capsule) offering, representing a substantial share of Schloss Johannisberg’s 250,000-bottle production, has seldom displayed distinction, and the present example is unfortunately no exception. There’s nothing wrong here – just nothing worthy of special note. Primary apple and lemon juiciness, a faintly sweaty salinity, and underlying hints of stone inform a rather loose palate and a finish of modest length and lightly stimulating tang." (VM)