Andreas Adam & Barbara Adam, his sister
Pure, cutting, mineral Rieslings from newly-revived Grand Cru sites. The dry wines are a real winner here, but the sweet ones offer so much pleasure.
- Defined as very cold winters, hot, short, fairly rainy summers, with long, cool, dry autumns.
- Autumns in Germany are key and in many ways can make or break a vintage. The warm days and cool nights can extend a growing season up to 8 or even 10 weeks. The hope is precipitation waits until the very end, ensuring healthy, clean fruit.
- Until climate change this was the very northern edge of where grapes could ripen fully, but only about 7 out of 10 years.
- Now: winters are usually not as cold, summers are much hotter, drought is a serious problem 4 or the last 5 years, and autumns start later and are often much wetter than they used to be.
- The unpredictability is what makes Mosel wines especially vintage sensitive and creates havoc (and high costs!) for winemakers.
- Cool climate wines are high in acid, low in alcohol, light in body, and often show a lot of mineral flavors rather than fruit.
- Usually white wines are made, but some light reds, like Pinot Noir can also ripen enough.
- Warmer vintages: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2015 produce wines with lower acidity, higher alcohols, and richer fruit flavors.
- Cooler vintages: 2021, 2013, 2010, 2008 produce what are now considered “classic” cool-climate wines
- 2022 is an enigma. It was hot and very dry for most of the growing season, but rain and long cold fall ended up giving us wines that taste more like “classic” cool-climate wines than rich, ripe wines.
6 hectares total, started with 3 parcels from his grandparents
- Dhroner Hofberg: A Grand Cru, abandoned after the 60’s as too steep and expensive to work. Rocky, gray slate with veins of iron oxide. Dhron is a tributary that empties into the Mosel on its right bank before the curve into Piesport. The vineyards are planted on a southwest facing slope for 5 kilometers upstream into the Hunsrück forest and gets colder on the way in. Wines are picked weeks later than the Mosel sites and have a much lower sugar ripeness. Perfect for the changing climate and those who appreciate thrilling, tense wines.
- Dhroner Häs’chen: First purchase during expansion. A terraced, east facing, 3,000 sq meter monopole with ungrafted vines planted in 1930s. Soils are weathered Devonian slate with quartzite and combined with the cooler site make for super filigreed, aromatic wines.
- Piesporter Goldtröpfchen: One of the most famous sites in the Mosel along with Bernkastler Doktor and Wehlener Sonnenhur. This perfect, mainly southern exposition amphitheater sucks in the day's heat, for intensely concentrated wines. The majority hillside was replanted in the 90’s but a few choice parcels were kept and Adam has a 700 sqm plot, planted in 1908, ungrafted, of course. Weathered Blue slate, clay, sandstone, these are dark fruited wines that still matter to show a regal, liquid gold like of opulence, balanced with a purity hard to achieve anywhere but the very best vineyards. Even in these warmer vintages Goldtröpfchen is proof that terroir trumps all.
- Wintscher Ohligsberg: newly purchased site 8 kilometers from the winery. The first wine released in from the 2023 vintage
- Im Pfarrgarten: a tiny little church garden-vineyard next to the winery. Low lying with a gentle slope for juicy, easy going wines. Perfect for summers at the beach.
Grape Varieties |
- The King of White Grapes.
- High acid, semi aromatic
- A huge variation in style potential from very light and dry, sparkling to the most unctuously sweet wines on the planet.
- Divisive for its high acidity and sugar retaining capabilities
- Perfect in its dynamic nature, ability to transmit the slightest nuance of terroir and being capable of aging for hundreds of years.
- Pinot Noir:
- German Pinot Noir wines are vinified as dry red wines with complex cherry aroma with subtle hints of smoke and almond, slight tannins, and high acidity, with a long finish.
- Had a poor reputation thanks to high yielding, work-horse, clonal material.
- Now Burgundy clones dominate vineyards for the best producers showcasing this incredible variety's true potential.
- Natural compost for fertilizer
- No herbicides
- Fungicides when necessary
- Careful cultivation of the soil
Cellar Work |
- Only ambient yeast
- No enzymes
- No süssreserve
- Fermentation in old Fuder (1,000L) and Halbfuder (500L) barrels or stainless steel
- Extended lees contact after fermentation
About the winery |
The Adam’s, like most families in the Dhron valley, were polycultural farmers for generations. Andrea’s grandparents farmed 1 hectare of vines across three parcels on the Grand Cru of Hofburg. As late as the 60’s, the wines from this special vineyard could be found on the great wine lists of the world. But as fortunes turned and wine prices bottomed out, his father, like many of his generation, was not interested in the back breaking labor and meager returns from farming these ancient, steep sloped sites.
A generation later Andreas' heart pulled him back to the land. He studied at Geisenheim (The UC Davis of Germany) and interned with Heymann-Löwenstein, St. Urbans-Hof, and Van Volxem. In 2000, at the ripe age of 21, he decided it was time to revive the old family business.
Hofburg (and all the non-famous Grand Crus at the time) was in such disrepair, lacking a champion, that vineyards were practically being given away. Farmers would sell the vertiginous parcels for 5€ a square meter. He started purchasing choice sites, forming a signature style, perfecting his craft, and garnering some attention for his efforts.
In 2013, after his sister Barbara graduated from Geisenheim and a stint at Keller, he asked her to join him. Together they work the vineyards, now with 43 parcels across 4 incredible, mostly old vine sites, and share all of the cellar work.
Their hard work has paid off, Hofburg is now a name being uttered by Riesling geeks around the world, a feat which they have almost single handedly been responsible for. These are some of the best, lighter bodied, brighter wines in the Mosel, and they get better every year.
What do the wines taste like?
Clean, clear, crisp, balanced, sharp, cutting acidity, with just ripe fruit. Warmer sites will give slightly more opulent character and richer fruit character, but their steely texture is a theme that carries through.
One of the best things about these wines is that each has a slightly different purpose: Juicy, summer-centric Im Pfarrgarten, to the insanely mineral Has’Chen, Kabinett for pure pleasure, GG’s for long term aging, Goldtropfchen for luxury and Hofburg for contemplation. Don’t forget the Pinot Noir, both the rosé, always a favorite for barely there berries and stoney texture and the Pinot Noir (cuttings from a certain Burgundian whose name might start with Rou and end with ier) is one of the BEST in Germany. I would pay anything for it. The point is, there is something for everyone in the AJ Adam line up.
Wines on Offer |
AJ Adam, Riesling Dhron Has'chen Kabinett, 2022 $41.99 $36.95
I didn't get to taste this, but it comes from the top few rows of the a tiny, 2,700 sq meter vineyard above the river from vines planted in the 30's. I can only imagine its a deeper, slightly riper version of the Hofberg as the site is warmer. But acidity and that old vine concentration should really turn it up a notch.
AJ Adam, Riesling Dhron Hofberg Eiswein, 2021 (375ml) $160.00 $140.80
Who knows when we will see another one of these!
AJ Adam, Riesling Dhron Hofberg Kabinett, 2022 $30.99 $27.27
AJ Adam, Riesling Dhron Hofberg Kabinett, 2022 (1.5L) $77.99 $68.63
★ 8% abv. Deal of the Day! Harvested from deep in the valley, surrounded by the woods, 40 to 50 year old vines, fermented in stainless steel. Another nice Kabinett vintage, which is important for the intended style of the winery. It allows for their ideal of delicate, elegant wines with pretty fruity, and white peaches. A touch sponti at the moment but really delicious. THIS is why people drink Riesling. Do not hesitate.
AJ Adam, Riesling Dhron Hofberg Spätlese, 2022 $49.99 $43.99
AJ Adam, Riesling Dhron Hofberg Spätlese, 2022 (1.5L) $113.99 $100.31
7% abv and 70 g residual sugar. Harvested from a mid hill parcel of 50+ year old vines with very low yields. Juicy fruit, my childhood at the beach, slurping up POG (passion, orange and guava juice) and shaved ice and eating cotton candy, but covered in salt. A sweetness balanced by levity, ultra ripe perfect-peaches sitting in the sun. Orange, almost tropical flavors, pineapple, mango with tart lemon pith. The structure is so much lighter and brighter than the fruit flavors imply.
AJ Adam, Riesling Dhron Im Pfarrgarten Feinherb, 2021 $23.99 $21.11
AJ Adam, Riesling Dhron Im Pfarrgarten Feinherb, 2022 $23.99 $21.11
10.5%abv. From the flatter area a few hundred yards from the winery, next to the church. A low lying vineyard with 60 year old vines and heavy soils with less slate, one of the first sites harvested. Full fruit, crispy, off-dry, a “chill out” and just drink me wine. Touch spicy but mostly a fruit bomb.
AJ Adam, Riesling Dhroner Trocken, 2022 $39.99 $35.19
11% abv from Hofberg up to 40 year old vines, fermentation in 60 year old Mosel Fuder (1000 L). On fine lees 4 to 5 months with 5 to 6 g RS. A great texture like steel scrubbing my tongue. More breath, depth, integration of structure, and lemon to orange skin and minerality sticks around for a pleasant medium plus finish picked 10 days later than the basic wine, with almost no extra accumulation of sugar.
AJ Adam, Riesling Goldtröpfchen Grosses Gewächs, 2022 $84.99 $74.79
AJ Adam, Riesling Goldtröpfchen Grosses Gewächs, 2022 (1.5L) $169.99 $149.59
★★★ 12.5% abv. Smells like the Mosel, sweaty sex in the vines, covered in ripe Riesling grapes. Un-grafted vines planted in the 40s, dying from old age and water stress on five terraces. One of the last to be harvested sites in the middle of October. Still a touch sponti and reduced but it was just bottled. Regal and trashy, almost gaudy, its so ostentatious, but so perfect as well. This is an example off site trumping all else. Perfection.
AJ Adam, Riesling Goldtröpfchen Kabinett, 2022 $41.99 $36.95
AJ Adam, Riesling Goldtröpfchen Kabinett, 2022 (1.5L) $109.99 $96.79
Another one I was really sad to miss out on (but you can only taste ""so many"" wines). This is from 110 year old un-grafted old vine parcel. In stainless steel.
AJ Adam, Riesling Has'chen Grosses Gewächs, 2022 $69.99 $61.59
AJ Adam, Riesling Has'chen Grosses Gewächs, 2022 (1.5L) $139.99 $123.19
Has’Chen means “little hare”. Probably named as such because there are lots of animals which live in this vineyard. Established in 1906 and replanted in 1930 with un-grafted vines, on a tiny 2700 m² site on 5 terraces of an east-facing hillside. The top half is used for GGs and bottom half is for Kabinett. Harvested from the top terraces after rain the first week of October, always fermented and aged in this specific Halbfuder (500L) old barrel. A cool 12% abv, smells like powdered slate rocks, petracor, a touch floral, and a bit reduced at the moment. Wisps of ripe lemon and white peach plus some pith and lime skin, chewy, succulent, juicy, spicy, elegant.
AJ Adam, Riesling Hofberg Auslese, 2021 $69.99 $61.59
7.5% abv, 90 g residual sugar. Harvest in both 2021 and 2022 on the 13th of October. That should give you some insight into how such a warm vintage tastes so cool. Too young to really get a hold on this right now, still sponti, and needs time. “A classic Auslese without noble botrytis” just golden grapes harvested at like 90° oschle. Syrupy in the best way, pure silk, golden hued, lovely, extensive finish that feelsl so light and drinkable, its like perfume on your palate. Drink with food and share with someone you really care about. PURE.
AJ Adam, Riesling Hofberg Grosses Gewächs, 2022 $73.99 $65.11
AJ Adam, Riesling Hofberg Grosses Gewächs, 2022 (1.5L) $147.99 $130.23
12% abv. Soils are blue and gray Devonian slate with some Quartzsite and from the warmer east side of Hofburg. Fermented and aged in 50 to 60 year old Fuder on its fine lees till bottling with 5-6 g RS. Fruit is in the yellow to orange spectrum and very concentrated like orange oil perfume, salty, with a fruit salad vibe, powerful core of juicy fruit gum and liquid Gold.
AJ Adam, Riesling In der Sängerei Feinherb, 2022 $49.99 $43.99
Sängerei is a parcel in the Hofberg vineyard. The wine is fermented spontaneously in a mixture of large Füder and stainless stainless-steel. -- Importer notes
AJ Adam, Riesling Trocken, 2022 $23.99 $21.11
Woot!That is a refreshing wine! Mid September harvest, Hofburg young vines, 20 years old. Lemon lime slate sparkle CO2 left over for more freshness. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. A touch of sponti, reduction, yeasty, bouncy wine, textural, chewy, lengthy finish . This is dry Mosel Riesling.
AJ Adam, Spätburgunder Rosé, 2022 $23.99 $21.11
11.5% abv. Cool intensity, harvested from way up in the valley from old German Spätburgunder clones eight hours of skin contact Yum. Cutting fresh Pinot Noir rosé, it just feels so right, elegant with earthy and fresh flowers, very slatey minerality. Always a winner and 22 doesn’t disappoint.
AJ Adam, Spätburgunder Trocken, 2020 $88.99 $78.31
This is a special one and deserves some explanation. First, vines are selection massale cuttings, suitcases from a very special vineyard in Burgundy, producer might start with “Rou” and end in “ier”. Barrels are also from Burgundy. No one was around on September 1st in 2022 when it was ready to be picked so Andreas and Barbara had to use their children, parents and grandparents to pick grapes; a family wine. It sees three weeks of maceration on destemmed fruit with 20% inclusion of ripe stems. Unfiltered, very low sulfur because of a SUPER low pH of 3.05. Wow that is crazy fucking wine. Penomenal, so earthy, it's just what you want from old world Pinot Noir, floral, just ever so slightly stemmy but with the springy spicy pure cherry fruit and perfect density. Whatever it costs this wine is worth it.
AJ Adam, Zwischen den Reben Trocken, 2022 $23.99 $21.11
The name means “in between the vines”. This is a cuvée of old Müller Thurgau, Bacchus (earlier ripening than Müller Thurgau, mostly planted in Franconia), and Riesling vines. “Each year, we take care of these vines from start to finish but they ripen early and we drop the fruit. Turns out to be quite a lot of wine, 600 liters which is harvested at the beginning of the harvest” says Andreas Adam. 10% alc. and bone dry. It is quite a delicious, lighter, and crisp stylish aperitif wine, Riesling is added for a bit of acidity. -- Importer notes