EGON MULLER - Scharzhofberger Kabinett 2003Fine German White Wine
Only the 'Prodikat'-wines from the Scharzhofberg and from Wiltinger braune Kupp carry vineyard designations.
In almost every year it is possible to produce Kabinett wines. Muller has never followed the official classification according to Oechsle-levels or sugar content at harvest but for them, Kabinett is made from grapes ripe enough not to need Chaptalisation (the addition of sugar to the grape juice before the fermentation (before it is wine), in order to increase the alcohol of the wine by fermenting the amount of sugar added), and yet not overripe.
These wines are unique because in the Saar's cool climate the grapes can be fully ripe and still have very low sugar content. They can achieve physiological ripeness around 70 degrees Oechsle in a lesser, late ripening vintage like 1987 but may need as much as 95 degrees Oechsle in years with hot summers like 2003.
For the consumer it is important to know that they use the term 'Kabinett' merely as a guarantee that the wine is not chaptalised or 'naturrein' as such wines were called by their ancestors. (Theoretically, it is possible to label these wines simply as 'Scharzhofberger' Q. b. A. but by convention it is expected that Q. b. A. will be chaptalised.)
Their Kabinett has only 7 to 9% alcohol and often the slatey minerality and the Saar's acidity dominate the fruit flavours.
They are off dry but can taste quite dry because of the low alcoholic strength. Kabinett wines are very refreshing when young but can age gracefully for 10 or more years. Especially Kabinett wines from the Scharzhofberg develop tremendous complexity with bottle age.