Prüm's uncommon achievement can be attributed to more than 80 years of dedication by two men. Founded in 1911 by Johann Josef Prüm, the estate's reputation was built up by his son, Sebastian Prüm, who started working there in 1920 when he was 18. He developed the estate's distinctive wine style during the '30s and '40s. Sebastian died in 1969. Son Manfred then became the estate's director and continues to run the winery to this day. He is assisted by his shy younger brother, Wolfgang, 51, who is co-owner. Manfred says he has tinkered little with his father's formula for success. "While I have modernized some things during the time I have run the estate, I haven't made any fundamental changes," says Manfred Prüm. "Instead, I have simply tried to refine the wine style which my father developed."

Mosel Rieslings are defined by their low natural alcoholic content, refreshing acidity and delicate fruit flavors and aromas; Prüm's wines are supercharged Mosels. Their fuel is tremendously intense: concentrated fruit, floral and mineral aromas and flavors. On the palate, the interplay of fruit and racy acidity is electric, yet they retain a distinctive Mosel elegance.

Like some other great wines, Prüm Rieslings can be easily misunderstood if they are drunk too young. Tasted from the cask, or shortly after bottling, they often have a yeasty bouquet. "This is normal for our wines," says Manfred Prüm, "it is comparable with the tar and leather bouquet some very young red Bordeaux wines have. I am very cautious in the cellar, filtering and pumping the wines as little as possible. This means they often retain the yeasty fermentation aroma for some time, even after bottling." This deliberately slows the development of the wines and gives Prüm wines excellent structure and their remarkable aging potential. Once they have lost the yeastiness of raw youth, they exude the scents of summer flowers and the ripe fruits of fall, and retain these aromas for longer than most any other wines.

Although the Prüm estate makes the full range of Mosel Rieslings, from extremely light, filigree kabinett wines right up to super concentrated, lusciously sweet TBAs, it is most famous for its late-harvested spätlese and auslese wines. In particular, superior quality auslese, which the estate designates "Gold Cap" (easily recognized by the gold foil capsule), and exceptionally rich auslese wines, designated "Long Gold Cap" (which have a longer gold capsule), are highly sought collector's items.

Excerpted from "Patience and Perfection: Germany's Prüm family makes Rieslings that stand the test of time "
By Stuart Pigott

Dr. M. Prum / Germany

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