1971 Egon Müller Scharzhof Scharzhofberger Riesling Beerenauslese


When Antonio Galloni requested my palate and penmanship, he was blissfully unaware of my cunning plan to festoon Vinous with tasting notes on innumerable bottles born in the same year as myself: part of my crusade to convince the world that 1971 is the greatest global postwar vintage ever. In bygone times, the barometer of a vintage was the performance of the Left Bank, since it dominated trade and narrow conceptions of fine wine. In 1971 the Left Bank was average at best. Meanwhile, nearly every other wine region, including the Right Bank and Sauternes, for that matter, performed exceptionally well, and that includes Germany. I have not drunk many 1971 Rieslings, but whenever the occasion does arise, I tend to be blown away, which is what happened when Egon Müller IV poured a birth-year gem in Beaune last November.

Egon Müller’s father, Egon Müller III, made the 1971. Of course, it is an anomaly insofar as it is referred to by vineyard only, without appendage of village name. The 1971 Scharzhofberger Riesling Beerenauslese is burnished gold in color. The bouquet wafts generously from the glass, carrying intense acacia honey, chamomile, marmalade and Japanese yuzu aromas, all extremely harmonious and never overpowering. It is utterly intoxicating. The palate is unctuous on the entry, as you would expect, although age has mellowed this Beerenauslese so that it comes across as effortless. Crème brûlée, vanilla, quince, chamomile and orange pith seduce the senses, the concentration offset by a killer line of acidity. It gently crescendos, but never demands attention on the finish – it is far too sophisticated to entertain ostentation. And the length is just ridiculous. After 47 years, this is perfect to drink now, although on this showing I can see no reason why it will not give pleasure over the next 47 years or more. 97/Drink: 2019-2070