There are no German wines more elegant than those of Weingut Fritz Haag. They do not shout, and are often overlooked in favour of more showy bottles, but for balance, finesse and subtlety they are hard to beat. With a pedigree like this, it’s no surprise that the wines have a fantastic ability to age.
The great Juffer vineyard in Brauneberg, one of the few designated as ‘grand cru’ by edict of Napoleon in 1804 has everything to do with it, of course. Its characteristic subtle floral notes and tensile mineral strength are an excellent foil for the estate’s style, but none of the several owners can quite match what Fritz Haag does there*.
The estate owes its greatness to Wilhelm Haag, who started in the late 1950s, crafting beautiful wines from the Juffer, and its heart, the Juffer-Sonnenuhr, where vines are clustered on a dauntingly steep and rocky slope around the sundial. While his older son Thomas bought the defunct Schloss Lieser, turning it into the Mosel’s great success story, his younger son Oliver took over the family estate in 2005. We can speculate that competition between the two has driven them both into the ranks of very best winemakers in Germany. Whilst Thomas’ wines are about energy, precision and character, Oliver’s wines have an understated subtlety that becomes increasingly apparent as the wines age. In recent years there has been more focus on dry wines. An afterthought in the past, they now command the best grapes from the best sites, and can take their place amongst the finest trockens in Germany.
*with the honourable exception of Schloss Lieser, a chip off the old block