Schloß Proschwitz, Riesling Kabinett trocken, 2009

Schloß Proschwitz, Riesling Kabinett trocken, 2009

In our quest for interesting wine, we have ventured as far east of Germany as to Georgia, but we never have explored what the German East has to offer. Now it is time to make good on one of our new year's resolutions and try a wine from Saxony. North of the 51st parallel, Sachsen is Europe's north-easternmost wine growing region, and with about 500 ha of vines it is one of Germany's smallest. A fifth of the Saxonian vineyard area belongs to the zur Lippes, one of the oldest aristocratic families of Germany.

aristocratic wine bottle cap
aristocratic wine bottle cap

After the wall came down, the current prince zur Lippe, Georg, started buying back his family's property that was lost after the Second World War, and now he runs the largest privately owned winery in the German East. We had tried a few of his wines at tastings in the past, but the dry 2009 Riesling here is the first to undergo the rigorous testing at Wine Rambler HQ.

A little while ago I flew to Berlin to present a conference paper, and thanks to the delayed-as-usual EasyJet I had a quite a bit of time to explore Berlin Schönefeld airport. Sadly, the shopping is dire, but the duty free shop had a few German wines, giving me the chance to make good on our resolution to try Saxonian wine. We might have ventured into Saxonian wine earlier, but it seems to be unheard of in the UK and is also rare in Germany, so I did not hesitate to buy a bottle at the airport.

Growing wine so far north is not easy, but the Proschwitz vineyard has a favourable micro-climate, with its south and south west facing hills adjacent to the river Elbe. On the typical loam soil of the region, Georg zur Lippe grows mostly white wine (Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Elbling, Traminer, Scheurebe and the rare Goldriesling), but also Pinot Noir and Dornfelder.

My duty-free Riesling Kabinett (for €15.90 hardly a bargain price though) has pale straw colour with a touch of green, fairly light around the edges - not exactly a picture of substance. The bouquet is pleasant, fresh and light with charming citrus fruit, a spritz of grapefruit, caramelised peach and some herbs, also a little tobacco perhaps.

On the tongue the grapefruit features again, as does the peach, but there are also green apple and strong lime flavours. This does not only give the Riesling fresh fruit flavours, there is also a lot of freshness from the acidity. Despite a hint of residual sugar, the acidity at moments feels a little too strong, especially when it flashes back after a mineral dry finish. Altogether, the Proschwitz Riesling has something "limoartiges", as the Germans would say - like soda pop or lime lemonade it is easy to drink, but left us a little empty.

Overall not a bad showing from Saxony, but the lemonade style and the acidity for me never came quite together, leaving me somewhat unexcited. For around twelve or thirteen Euro, this is what it sells for in shops in Germany, I would expect more substance, balance and especially excitement.


Submitted by Alex Saturday, 09/07/2011

Thank you for having "taken one for the team" wine ramblers! Ok, this might be an exaggeration. Actually i never really was curious enough to try these Northern wines. But if 2009 already shows a touch acidic, how will 2008 or 2010 show? Still not too tempted. But one day...
Cheers. A.

Submitted by Krista Tuesday, 12/07/2011

yay for trying something new and be bold enough to by wine at the airport. Loved the label and the bottle details, sorry to hear of the lemonade quality. Perhaps we need more data to make a full conclusion...

Submitted by torsten Tuesday, 12/07/2011

Well, Julian and I had actually tried Proschwitz wines before, at a wine tasting in Munich. At the time we liked the wines, but felt that other producers had wines of equal, if not better quality for sometimes considerably less on show. So I was very curious to see if drinking a wine with a little more time at home - I am a slow taster and like time before I come to a verdict - would give a different impression. I would also have bought any other Saxonian wine at the airport shop, because I had been thinking for a while how to make good on our New Year's resolution - none of the merchants I buy from sells Saxonian wine, and ordering a whole case from one producer was not what I was after... So this was rather lucky, despite the inflated price - and you would think booze is cheaper at duty free, but turns out it is more expensive than at a wine merchant.