Story and photos by Manos Angelakis
Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler of Bernkastel
The Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler estate is one of the better Riesling producers located in the city of Bernkastel, with hectares of Riesling grapevines clinging precariously to steep hillside vineyards along the Mosel River.
I took advantage of the daylong mooring of our river cruiser Uniworld’s River Queen on Bernkastel’s riverfront to visit the offices, cellar and tasting rooms of Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler. This visit gave me the chance to taste long verticals of the wines that Dr. Pauly creates, especially the Auslese from the Alte Badstube at the Doctorberg, which is a good-sized plot on the side of the Doctor vineyard near Bernkastel. That vertical was of ten vintages from 1990 to 2005. In addition, I tasted Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, and an Eisewein from a number of the other plots Dr. Pauly Bergweiler cultivates in world-famous nearby vineyards such as the Brauneberger Juffer, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Bernkasteler Johannisbrünnchen, Bernkasteler Lay and a few others. The wines are imported in the U.S. by Winesellers Ltd. of Chicago and can be found in many of the best wine stores as well as very good restaurants; and are one of the top award-winning wines served in First Class at All Nipon Airways.
The Dr. Pauly winery is regarded as one of the extraordinary producers in the Mosel, and the wines certainly show an estate producing enviable wines. The samples showed honey, pure fruit and good acidity. The fruit is marked by delightful notes of ripe peaches, apricots and nectarines enhanced by hints of ginger and lychee. Vibrant minerality highlights the stone fruit flavors.
All the wines I tasted were very good, 100% Rieslings. However there were 3 or 4 that made an impression because of the quality and longevity. Top on my list were the 1996 and 1999 Bernkasteler alte Badstube am Doctorberg, both older vintages, golden in color that tasted of ripe fresh peaches and nectarines -- I can still feel the aromas and wonderful taste in my mouth. I doubt if either would be available to anyone but a collector by now but, if you ever have a chance to taste a gulp, do it and enjoy. Another of the winery’s library treasures was the 1983 Wehlener Sonnenuhr, a very interesting vintage that featured mostly tropical flavors of apricot, lychee and banana with a very pronounced coconut aftertaste in the long finish. The current vintage that became available in our Uniworld cruiser dinning room was a classic Riesling Kabinet with good acidity, interesting minerality and a long finish.
Two Trockenbeerenauslese and the Eiswein were also exceptional, sweet but without the cloying sweetness and lack of acidity that some of the less successful Rieslings from lesser producers exhibit.
For those that do not know the exact meaning of the word Prädikate (i.e. special characteristic indicating the ripeness of the grapes at harvest as specified on the label) please see the Dr. H. Thanisch article for an explanation.
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