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C. H. Berres Erdener Treppchen Kabinett 2015 (750ML)

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The Berres family has grown and made great Rieslings in the privileged sites of Ürzig, Erden and Wehlen since 1510. Markus Berres, 21st generation, succeeded his father Alfred in 2004.  From ancient vines on a very steep slope (Treppchen means "staircase"), This wine shows peach and apricot fruit, palate-staining mineral intensity, and a touch of sweetness.

It was about a year and a half ago that, by chance and after a very long time, Stefan Erbes of the Karl Erbes estate in Ürzig in the Moselle met Roman Christoffel on the street, and the two got to talking. They knew each other, because Karl and son Stefan Erbes, in addition to their own vineyards in the 1990s, also managed those of the Christoffel-Berres estate, pressed the grapes and vinified them in a specially rented cellar. The Christoffels only marketed their wine themselves. Apparently, however, they were in no hurry to do so, because the family ran the winegrowing business on the side and also lived and worked in Düsseldorf on the Rhine. Some minutes later, Roman Christoffel pressed a mature bottle of Riesling into Stefan Erbes's hand and asked him to taste it. It was from the 1990s, so it was produced by Erbes himself, and it tasted wonderful. In fact, it was only one of an estimated 8,000 bottles that Christoffel still had in stock.

In 1997, Christoffel had already offered the small but fine family winery, including vineyards and lush wine stocks, for sale. But the acquisition was too much for the Erbes family at that time; after all, they were still sitting on enough unsold wines themselves. (At that time, the world was not yet calling for Riesling as much as it seems to be doing today.) The vineyards, all in the prime sites of Erden and Ürzig, then went to Robert Eymael of Mönchhof in 1998. The name Christoffel-Berres, a founding member of the Verband Deutscher Naturweinversteigerer (the forerunner of the VDP), disappeared.

When Stefan Erbes met Roman Christoffel again unexpectedly after more than 20 years, he had no idea that thousands of Rieslings were still slumbering unsold in the cellar toward an uncertain fate, including the 1993 Auslese *** from the Erdener Prälat, still an outstandingly good wine today. Since then, Erbes has been selling his former colleague’s old stocks in his own winery—at manageable prices of 16 to 38 euros per bottle.

I have only tasted a selection of 18 or 20 Spätlese, Auslesen and a few Beerenauslesen from the collection, all of which are Prädikatsweine from 1989 to 1997. These are top wines from the Erdener Treppchen, the Prälat and the Ürziger Würzgarten. The corks are sometimes a little loose in the neck of the bottle after several high waterings and are not always of the very best quality, but at present, suspicious wines are being recorked by Weingut Karl Erbes, which also sells the wines. 1990, 1993, 1995 and 1996 offer many highlights and show that once-sweet wines no longer taste sweet at all after 25-30 years and instead are exceedingly delicate and spicy; this is also because the Prädikat wines were still conceived as food wines in the 1990s and not as liquid desserts. Now is the time to pull the corks, best with risotto and game dishes. Since the wines are still available, you shouldn't miss the chance to check it out! Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate


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