Karthäuserhof is one of the oldest wineries in the world with wine production dating to the Roman Empire. The vineyards passed into the control of the Carthusian Monks during the Middle Ages before being purchased by the family of the current owners in1811. All wines are produced from their estate Karthäuserhofberg vineyard, a Grosse Lage vineyard (equivalent to Grand Cru) which is a classic, steep, 45-degree riverside vineyard with slate soils. Certified organic and sustainable farming results in grapes of intense flavor at low alcohol levels (12%). Now for the elephant in the room: is this a sweet Riesling? Short answer is no. The long answer is, it’s complicated. Wine in general is fermented until all the sugar has been converted into alcohol, but the fruit flavors in the wine (comparable to the “essences” of fruits put into unsweetened sparkling water) combine with the alcohol in wine, which registers as sweet on the tongue, and gives an impression of a fruit juice, even when the wine is verifiably free from actual sugar. Riesling, even when it is free of sugar, has flavors of exotic fruits like coconut and pineapple that are among the sweetest of fruits, and therefore suggest more sweetness through association with those flavors. On the other hand, the perception of sweetness is highly influenced by the presence of acidity. Riesling naturally has towering acidity, and in cool climates like the Mosel, the wines would be undrinkable without a touch of residual sugar to balance the acid. The German laws for wines labeled “Tröcken” (German for “dry”) take the context of acidity into account and specify that residual sugar must remain 2 grams per liter lower than the acidity. At that ratio, the perception of sweetness is bone dry. So, this is not a sweet Riesling. But also, not that it applies in this case, a touch of sweetness in wine does not mean it is less sophisticated, nor does a preference for “off-dry” wines mean a person is less sophisticated. People have different palates and so-called “super tasters” can’t stand the intensity of acidity and alcohol in normal wines. We all are somewhere on that bell curve, and “sweetness” in wine is merely a personal preference. Lastly, you might also think that the label is missing from the bottle. It’s not. The lore is that one of the winemakers from long ago liked to frequently “sample” his wines while in a meadow by a stream which he used to keep his bottles cold. The problem was that water made the labels slide off and his wife tended to count the number of labels she’d find. As you guessed, she felt the numbers of labels should be at a lower number so the winemaker moved the label up to the neck of the bottle which was above the water line. Problem solved? Depends on your perspective but know that your label won’t fall off in your ice bath.