Dr. Beckermann Piesporter Michelsberg Spätlese, 1999

Nov 6, 2001

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The Bottom Line Very tasty, well-balanced, very light in alcohol. Not expensive at all. Beautifully structured. Will make you want to sing.

Earlier this year, I purchased an 1999 Dr. Beckermann Piesporter Michelsberg that I did not much care for. It was a 9% alcohol by volume Qualitätswein (QbA) made from a blend of Riesling and Müller-Thurgau grapes.

This past weekend, I purchased another Dr. Beckermann product. This time, the 1999 Piesporter Michelsberg Spätlese. This wine is a higher quality QmP product. This wine is a product of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer growing region.

Piesport is a small wine growing village in Germany's Mosel region, a town steeped in ancient history. The ancient Romans are credited for developing viticulture in this area. Grapes grown in this area are predominately Riesling but the Müller-Thurgau variety is also grown here. Michelsberg is the area's Grosslage - that is to say, the largest vineyard in the area, and the Müller-Thurgau grape is heavily planted here.

Some Basic German Wine Terms:

Spätlese -- A wine made from fully-ripened grapes (that are "late gathered"). Wines of this type are generally sweet and contain more fruit flavor.

Qualitätswein mit Pradikät (or QmP) -- Wines that are the product of exceptional wine growing years and are produced using no added sugars. Wines with this designation and quality grade are usually priced higher than other German wines.

1999 Piesporter Michelsberg Spätlese
This is a very light wine -- only 8% alcohol by volume -- that pours with a clean, platinum-yellow color. (The Spätlese is a full percentage point lower in alcohol content than the QbA Kabinett  bottling.)

Nose -- Light, fruity, delicate. Some sweet apple and "noble rot" aromas.

Flavor -- A concentrated presence of ripe fruit, but nothing overly sweet. Dominated by Ginger Gold and Honeygold apple flavors -- very smooth flavor and a very gentle, balanced amount of fruit acidity -- but not tart. A hint of apricot and ripe gooseberry. Long, honeyed finish.

Residual Sugar -- This is a a sweet wine, probably containing between 4-5% residual sugar.

Price and Availability
I purchased a 750ml of this wine at Trader Joe's Market for $4.99 (a full dollar more than the QbA bottling.) This wine is imported into the U.S.A. by International Import-Export of Los Angeles, California.

I am not sure about availability of this wine elsewhere in the U.S. Try Trader Joe's Market, that may be your best bet. (Trader Joe's is located in about 14 U.S. states from coast-to-coast. See  http://www.traderjoes.com  for locations.)

I enjoyed this Spätlese. It compares very favorably to a wine that I tried earlier this summer that costs twice as much, the 1998 Schmitt Söhne Piesporter Michelsberg Spätlese.

It also performs well when judged against the 1999 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese, and the 1999 Studert-Prüm Wehlener Sonnenurh Riesling Spätlese (which I also tried this summer).

I like Dr. Beckermann wines: very good quality at very affordable prices. Look also for the 1999 Dr. Beckermann Zeller Schwarze Katz. This is a Qualitätswein that is priced at under $5 per bottle. You may also want to try the 1999 Dr. Beckermann Liebfraumilch (Nahe River region), which I also liked (under $5 per bottle).

Verdict: 4-stars. A bargain. Will make you want to sing.


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