2018 JJ Prüm Pre-Arrival Offer

2018 JJ Prüm Pre-Arrival Offer

Published by The Wine Emporium on 20th Aug 2020

“No matter what kind of mood you are in, the world always seems a better place with a glass of Prüm in hand; these are gracious, charming, wines that go straight for the heart leaving you only with the desire to finish the bottle quickly, resolving to finish a second bottle more slowly and reflectively.” - Stephan Reinhardt



2018 J.J. Prüm - A Great Vintage from a Legendary Producer

No sooner had Germany’s outstanding 2017 vintage been released onto the market, the anticipation surrounding 2018 began to swirl. Tasting the wines just recently, it’s clear the hype is well justified. Not only is 2018 a terrific vintage, but there is a uniqueness to the style that is hard to compare with previous great years. Katharina Prüm herself refers to the vintage as “classic” in style; indeed it's classic Prüm, but more intense. While powerful, the wines remain arrestingly perfumed and blessed with mouth-watering mineralité and vibrant acidity. They have plenty of fruit, yet are in no way exotic. The combination of precision harvesting and a high proportion of old vines—their extensive roots tapping subterranean water reserves—has resulted in Rieslings with wonderfully profound and intense personalities which showcase the individual vineyard characteristics perfectly. Due to their wealth of flavours and excellent balance, the 2018’s Prum’s are rewarding to drink now, but will repay decades of cellaring.

The Great Vineyards of JJ Prum

The four vineyards below have 2,000 years of history and are some of the most revered of the middle Mosel (the Graacher Himmelreich and the Wehlener Sonnenuhr in particular, are legendary). 90% of the Estate’s vines are ungrafted with an average age exceeding 60 years, with a number of key parcels aged between 70 and 100 years-plus.

Bernkasteler Badstube

The vineyards of Bernkasteler Badstube sit to the south of Graacher Himmelreich, where the slopes are on a marginally shallower gradient, and the soils are deeper than those of Graacher, Wehlener or Zeltinger. The more westerly orientation allows the vines a longer exposure to the afternoon sun, but less light in the morning. The result is a typically lighter, highly approachable wine with wonderful delicacy and florals, red fruit notes and plenty of vibrant freshness on the finish. Overall, the wines are usually open when young, but just as delicious over time, when they often give the impression of being drier.

Graacher Himmelreich

Sitting between Bernkasteler Badstube and Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Graacher Himmelreich is rightly considered one of the two great vineyards of this historic Estate, alongside Wehlener Sonnenuhr. The hill faces slightly more to the west than Wehlener Sonnenuhr but is still south-west exposed. The gradient varies from 45-65% and the soils (if you can call them soils!) are made up of pure, deep and weathered Devonian slate. The wines from here are typically more floral, racier and more mineral than those of Wehlener Sonnenuhr—at least when young—and often the wines also become accessible slightly earlier, especially in dry years.

Wehlener Sonnenuhr

The Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard has become intrinsically attached to the name of Joh. Jos. Prüm. The Estate owns seven hectares of this majestic site—largely planted to ungrafted wines (in fact 90% of the Estate’s vines are ungrafted). Here the thin, rocky Devonian slate (in some areas of the vineyard the plants grow out of pure rock) fashion some of the Mosel’s greatest wines. Riesling guru Stuart Pigott has written: “Joh Jos Prüm’s Sonnenuhrs are classic examples of the way in which the best Mosel wine’s natural sweetness magnifies, rather than obscures, their character. These are a perfect marriage of Riesling’s peach-like, floral and mineral aspects. White wine cannot be fresher, more vivid and delightful.” Along with the neighbouring Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, this is the steepest of Prüm’s vineyards—a dizzying 65-70% gradient.

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr

The Zeltinger Sonnenuhr vineyard borders the northern boundary of Wehlener Sonnenuhr. It is a warm, dry site and has a large percentage of old, ungrafted vines. Prüm’s parcel comes from a patch of Alte Reben vines (60 to 70 years old) positioned around the famous sundial. The vines here are said to be the hardest working in the Prüm vineyards, due to the fact that there is so little topsoil—the vines’ roots plunge straight into the bedrock. This makes the wines from Zeltinger some of the most dense and structured in the Prüm range.



The lightest, most crisp, and least sweet Riesling’s of the range are those labelled Kabinett, and they’re awesome this year! “Classic Kabinett, with slightly more intensity,” is how Katharina Prüm rates her 2018 Kabinetts. All the wines are delicious, and while it’s true that Graacher and Badstube have benefited from the warmer season (as they always do) there is no loss of vineyard imprint, with each vineyard clearly expressing their own distinct personality. Overall, the wines taste and finish remarkably dry. The 2018 wines can effortlessly stand up to a broader range of dishes; sashimi, lighter Asian dishes and even steak or tuna tartare for example.

2018 Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett - $62 per bottle ; Normally $72

"To the extent that a Badstube has been bottled at any given Prädikat level, it is invariably the first wine shown in any Prüm tasting lineup, thereby reinforcing an impression of these vineyards as bottom of the Prüm pecking order. But just try telling that to this wine (or to me)! An intensely flowery nose suggestive of honeysuckle and decadent lily also exhibits exotic ripeness of banana. Site-typical apple, Bing cherry and cassis join in on the palate for a succulent riot of fruit to accompany still-profuse inner-mouth perfume, while bittersweet, faintly smoky nut oils serve for complex counterpoint. The feel is remarkably creamy and the overall midpalate impression rich, yet the buoyantly sustained finish delivers cut, clarity and refreshment, all in spades, thanks to a generous infusion of fresh apple and lime reinforced by impeccably integrated sweetness." - 93 Points, David Schildknecht,

2018 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett - $65 per bottle ; Normally $75

"In a striking and delightful contrast to its superb Badstube counterpart, this Himmelreich Kabinett offers a cooling and overtly citric personality. Lemon and grapefruit are suffused with green herbal essences, accompanied by yeast and wet stone on the nose and an adjunct of juicy ripe honeydew on the polished, delicate, sorbet-like palate. Piquancy of citrus zest and seeds is restrained but invigoratingly efficacious, and the generously juicy finish is admirably transparent to underlying wet stone.” - 92 Points, David Schildknecht,

2018 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett - $79 per bottle ; Normally $92 - $178 per MAGNUM ; Normally $210

"Heady scents of honeysuckle and heliotrope mingle with apple, quince and Persian melon. Succulent fruitiness and wafting perfume are complemented by a creamy feel on the delicate palate. Subtle nuttiness and discreet fruit seed piquancy serve for stimulating counterpoint, leading into a lusciously lingering, slate-lined finish. The exuberantly juicy, vibrant, bell-clear finish offers a lightly shimmering suggestion of fruit/stone interplay. At any given Prädikat level, the Prüms’ offering from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr – while in the long run often “best of show” – can frequently prove less expressive in its first year, but such is definitely not the case here!” - 93 Points, David Schildknecht,

“Light-footed and lean, this zesty off-dry Riesling is enticingly smoky and earthen on the nose, but the palate reverberates with juicy pineapple, mango and lemon flavors. It's a juicy, intensely fruity sip but still tightly wound in its youth. While hard to resist already, it's a bottle that will gain depth well through 2030.” 93 points, Wine Enthusiast


As always there is considerably more weight and intensity here than in the Kabinett level wines. While certainly they are sweeter than the Kabinett’s there’s also more power, fruit, and complexity, and therefore wines that can stand up to richer food. Here again, we have excellent transparency and expression of place, alongside more savoury depth. 2018 is a superb Spätlese vintage. The wines have the same residual as a classic vintage, so what really stands out here is depth and complexity rather than obvious ripeness. The Bernkasteler is bright and juicy; the Graacher is already a blinder—floral, citrussy and mineral; while the Wehlener and the Zeltinger offer more deep and dense personalities—still filigree across the palate yet much more complexity and demanding more time to unwind.

2018 Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spatlese - $75 per bottle ; Normally $86

"Intense aromas and luscious succulence of ripe pear and white peach are wreathed in lily-of-the-valley and tinged with pit and seed piquancy as well as with marzipan and anise. Polish and subtle creaminess add to the midpalate allure of pure-fruited concentration and inner-mouth perfume. The generous finish is soothing and subtly honeyed. Compared with the corresponding Kabinett, the fruit personality here strikes me as less typical of Bernkastel, but the wine’s textural allure and overall richness are reminiscent of many top Rieslings from that village."- 92 Points, David Schildknecht,

2018 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese - $82 per bottle ; Normally $94

"Jellied quince and apple are laced with zesty lemon and grapefruit as well as garlanded in honeysuckle for an aromatically alluring and luscious performance. The polished, pure, buoyant midpalate impression is complemented by a vibrant finish that delivers refreshing citric juiciness of grapefruit and Meyer lemon as well as wafting florality and a kiss of wet stone. This is likely to make superbly elegant mature wine.” - 94 Points, David Schildknecht,

“This has all of the elements of a great spätlese, with pronounced acidity supporting the ripe peach, yellow apple, mango and spruce flavors, while hints of vanilla and piecrust add to the complexity. Still a bit intense, but this should develop beautifully with age, allowing the minerality to become more prominent. Best from 2022 through 2038.” 93 points, Wine Spectator

“Subtle notes of yellow peach and pollen introduce this gorgeously sunny yet complex Spätlese. Flavors of tangerine and preserved quince drench the palate in waves of zesty sweet-tart fruit, but there's also a depth of smoke, slate and struck flint in the backdrop. Delightful already, this will continue to open and meld through 2035.” 94 points, Wine Enthusiast

2018 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese - $94 per bottle ; Normally $110

“Well-structured and harmonious, with a silky mouthfeel, this is very charming, yet powerful and expressive, revealing saffron and jasmine aromas. The palate features tropical fruit flavors of guava and passion fruit, followed by sweet Asian spice notes. Star anise and apricot marmalade hints extend on the finish. Best from 2022 through 2036.” 93 points, Wine Spectator

“For a bottling that usually requires years to show its colors, this surprisingly open, lavishly perfumed Spätlese wafts of pristine white peach and blossom. It's delightfully honeyed yet invigorating, balancing layers of apricot and yellow cherry flavors against crushed slate and dazzling acidity. While tempting in youth, it should improve through 2035.” 94 points, Wine Enthusiast

2018 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese - $79 per bottle ; Normally $92

"Honeysuckle and heliotrope garland lightly poached pear and quince on a seductively scented nose and a creamy, slightly syrupy but delicate palate. Marzipan and hazelnut cream lend a confectionary cast. Into the finish, though, rushes sufficient fresh pear and apple juiciness to refresh, while subtle piquancy of their seeds and a hint of black tea smokiness serve for welcome counterpoint and pushback to the sweetness. While it’s not as effusively ripe as its Wehlener counterpart nor as brightly engaging as this collection’s Graacher Himmelreich Spätlese, this lusciously lingering beauty has a long life ahead of it, even by estate standards.” - 92 Points, David Schildknecht,


Again, the step up from Spatlese to Auslese is one of ripeness, complexity and more intensity, rather than simply a dial-up on sweetness. Famous for their finesse, delicacy and digestibility, J.J. Prüm Auslesen are really too fine for sweet desserts (although they can work with very delicate, fruit-based dishes that are not overly sweet). They really do belong with savoury food. They are far better matched with a wide range of dishes such as pork, game birds, savoury tarts, roast chicken, ceviche, all kinds of sausage and venison. They are brilliant with almost all Japanese and Chinese dishes, and they are terrific with a wide range of cheeses too. The style remains ultra-pure and ultra-fine and, while the Spätlese wines revel in juicy intensity, this bracket offers more flesh and pulpy depth as well as heightened mineral length. The key to understanding the quality of Prüm’s 2018 Auslesen is the balance. These wines can sometimes be tricky to understand fully when young—not so for the 2018s. They are already showing beautifully, akin to the young 2007s (one of our favourite Prüm vintages). Again there is a gentle step up in intensity—as you move from Bernkasteler (bright and juicy and racy); to the Graacher (crushed yellow citrus and white flowers with a powdery mineral close); and the Wehlener (so fine, yet more in the peach/nectarine fruit spectrum, again with a punchy, salivating close and superb length)—but it is subtle. As Katharina states, the difference is more about the fruit flavours than power this year.

2018 Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Auslese - $94 per bottle ; Normally $110

No Review Available

2018 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese - $99 per bottle ; Normally $115 - $62 per HALF bottle ; Normally $72

“This is full of gunsmoke slate, white pear and gentle pepper, with the sweet hit of late harvest but floating above the palate, saline fresh and surprisingly open at this stage for a wine that you know will age effortlessly for a good few decades or more (we had a 1998 Spätlese that was barely stirring). Salivating and just utterly drinkable. 100% Riesling from steep slopes across five vineyard sites, 90% ungrafted with 10% grafted.” 95 points, Jane Anson, Decanter

2018 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese - $115 per bottle ; Normally $135

No Review Available


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