Wine Advocate (David Schildknecht): “The Schonlebers’ 2009 Monzinger Halenberg Riesling trocken offers a stimulating, striking dynamic of grapefruit and white peach with nut oils, peat, and deeply savory, saline, extract-sweet shrimp and lobster shell reduction. Uncannily allying palpable extract density with soaring levity, this is an example of discreet yet intriguingly complex aromas followed by a build-up of energy across the palate and an almost explosively intense finish. Look for the better part of a decade’s satisfaction from this wine which once again offers more complexity not to mention greater sensory seduction than all but a handful of Grosse Gewachse. Naturally, it is Werner Schonleber’s intention in part to offer a representative of his great sites that sells for less than a Grosses Gewachs. But more importantly, this represents a vinous showcase for the Halenberg possessed of its own distinct personality, and for a significant portion of dry Emrich-Schonleber Riesling to be deprived of a vineyard attribution solely for the greater marketing glory of the Grosse Gewachse – as the VDP would have it in most other German Riesling regions – strikes Schonleber (the way it does me) as foolishness, no less than it would be to forbid one from labeling a Riesling as “Halenberg Spatlese” for the allegedly greater glory of Halenberg Auslese.
Werner and Frank Schonleber harvested through nearly the entire month of October, and noted that levels of sugar and total acidity remained fairly constant, while flavors kept improving and malic acid diminishing in favor of tartaric. Speaking of improving, it’s hard for these two vintners to much-improve their by now phenomenal batting average, but no Riesling lover is likely to suffer the least disappointment by buying bottles of Emrich-Schonleber 2009s. Especially at its dry end, this is a collection to describe which seems to call for an extended mineral vocabulary that doesn’t even exist in English or German! And in nobly sweet echelons, the small amount of Riesling the Schonlebers rendered is strikingly successful and informed by an ample if mysterious measure of sheer juiciness. About the absence of Eiswein, Frank Schonleber notes: “We had the feeling that ripeness had simply advanced too far in 2009 to justify leaving any grapes hanging in anticipation of frost.” 93/100 pts