Wine Focus for September: Riesling

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Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:22 am

September is the time when summer turns to fall. In many places there is a certain chill to the air, a crispness that signals the change in weather. Yet September is not the time when that change is complete. There is often still a warmth (checked the east coast forecast today?), and outdoor activities continue, even if there is a shift from baseball and golf to soccer and football.

My wine preferences often coincide with the seasons. When the air is crisp I seek out a wine with the same character. September (much like April) sends me to the cellar for Riesling. Perhaps it’s the apple fruit in so many of the wines which matches the apples of the agricultural season. Perhaps it’s the smoky elements in an aged Riesling that match with the scents from grills and fireplaces. It may be the purity and clarity of the wines that echoes the purity of a cool fall evening. Somehow, Riesling captures the essence of September.

So this month as our Wine Focus we’ll be exploring Riesling. The main area that will be featured is German Riesling, but that does not exclude Rieslings from Austria, France, Italy, Australia, USA or anywhere else.

More to come later tonight, when I have a glass of cool, clear, crisp Riesling in my hands… :D
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Salil » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:36 am

Unfortunately there has been nothing cool or crisp or refreshing about the last few days, other than the bottles I've opened to combat the weather.

2008 Van Volxem Saar Riesling Alte Reben (Saar)
The last of my bottles, and really the ideal drink on a day hitting 90 F. Excellent again. Fresh herb-tinged fruit around a core of steel and rock. Hits the tongue like a razor, with fantastic precision, refreshment value and and enough residual sugar and richness to keep it from austerity.

2008 Stein St. Aldegunder Palmberg-Terrasen Riesling Spätlese trocken (Lower Mosel)
Made of the same stuff as the Van Volxem; bright, pure and really fresh fruit with a spine of serious acidity beneath. There's a high toned herbal character here and a sense of incredible detail and precision in the mouth. Very streamlined, polished and manages to taste completely dry without even a hint of austerity. Thanks to Stephen from Crush for introducing me to this; I will be looking for more in '09.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:48 am

I'm defintely looking forward to the forecasted weather change this weekend.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:36 am

I had planned to open a Riesling the past weekend whilst in the mountains but snowy weather put paid to that idea!
Looking forward to posting some notes this month but naturally keen to hear from all the experts, and non, here on their choices. I will try to feature some whites from BC or Ontario but do have a few German Mosels tucked away. St Urband-Hof is coming up!
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:31 pm

And Bob - got your note. We'll discuss food pairings with Riesling all through the month.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:33 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:... Riesling captures the essence of September.

Loverly wine writing, David. You've captured the essence of Riesling in an exceptional way. Outstanding work. :)
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Tim York » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:24 pm

I'll be opening some Germans when we have suitable pairings for the RS but meanwhile here is an entry level Alsatian from a famous producer.

Alsace Riesling Cuvée Théo 2006 – Domaine Weinbach – Alc 13.5%.

In November 2008, I wrote -
C: Light yellow.
N: White fruit and spices with a dark tinge.
P: Dry with only moderate aromatic intensity and acidity and quite dark fruit for Riesling combined with noticeable structure and marked but unaggressive bitter, almost liquorice, notes towards the finish. I guess that the wine is somewhat closed aromatically at present as I recall more exuberance when I tasted before buying; barely 15/20 now.


This bottle was much better. The aromas were now expressive with notes of white flowers and spice and the palate was much brighter with more lively acidity and less bitterness on the finish than the 2008 note indicates; not as refined as Weinbach’s more up-market cuvées but very enjoyable; 15.5/20++.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Bill Hooper » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:55 pm

Meßmer (Burrweiler) Schäwer Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2008 -Pfalz, Germany 13%

Pineapple, papaya, apricot and beautifully aromatic, exotic and dramatic, but not without class. The raciness, steely mineral, and precision here is rare for Südliche Weinstraße Riesling, but it is also beguilingly powerful just as one might expect. Excellent.

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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Bill Hooper » Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:00 pm

Tim York wrote:Alsace Riesling Cuvée Théo 2006 – Domaine Weinbach – Alc 13.5%.


Interesting note, Tim. 2006 was a notoriously botrytis-plagued vintage in Alsace. Nice to see a comeback of sorts on the Weinbach. I wonder if the riper Schlossberg Rieslings are showing more rot.

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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby David Lole » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:31 pm

Riesling represents something very special to this typer and, over the years, I have amassed a rather large stash. Australia, Germany and Alsace feature on my inventory with a few examples dating back to 1983 still lingering in the cellar.

To kick things off, just a few days ago I opened a Pike's 2009 Clare Valley Riesling from the 2009 vintage. Selaed with a screwcap, this wine came in at a modest 12% A/V, displayed a bright light straw colour and delivered very attractive floral, citrus, lanolin and honeysuckle aromas with a minerally egde providing counterbalance. The palate shows bucketloads of citrus, waxy apple, honeysuckle and herb-tinged fruit, although I thought it quite forward with a fleshy, mouthfilling texture with the acidity somewhat sedate just at the moment behind all this ripe fruit. The finish is quite long with a nice twist of acid cut. Certainly very good but the longer this sat in the glass, somehow I just couldn't get that excited. 88 points and not a long term proposition, methinks.

I'm raiding the cellar tonight to pick out some aged examples to open for this month's terrific topic.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Sam Platt » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:20 pm

2004 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese

Light yellow. Just a hint of sulphur which blew off after 15 minutes in the decanter. Floral nose (honeysuckle) with a bit of spice (cayenne?) in the background. Super sweet with lots of honey, melon and vanilla. Extended minerally finish. Luscious as has been nearly every Prum wine I have ever tasted. This one may need a few years yet as it was pretty acidic even after time in the decanter. I've got one more bottle that I will stick away until about 2014.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Chris Newport » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:55 pm

Between red burgundy and German riesling I don't know what more a wine lover could want (besides the Loire and Bandol and Beaujolais and Champagne and the Northern Rhone and a certain Northern California pinot producer whose name rhymes with anthill and.....)

1997 Carl Schmitt-Wagner Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg Riesling Spätlese
I think I liked this better than the last bottle, consumed about a year ago. The usual aged riesling notes on the nose. Nice and long on the palate with a caressing streak of acidity waiting to carry the fruit through to the finish. The acidity balances really nicely with the fruit which seems to be dominated by green melon of all things... I don't have enough experience with this vineyard to make any sort of terrior proclamation... so I'll just leave it at that. Nothing earth shattering here, just a really elegant, well integrated bottle of riesling that has reached it's middle years in good form. Worth the wait.
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WTN: 2002 Minges Gleisweiler Holle Riesling Kabinett

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:12 pm

Opening a month of Riesling for me (ok, a month of mostly Riesling), is this little gem from the Pfalz. 2002 has lived in the shadow of the "great 2001" all its life, even though 2002 is actually a very strong vintage and more consistent outside of the Middle Mosel than its vaunted neighbor.

This particular bottle has a history for me, as it was one of the wines used by David Schildknecht for a brunch seminar on the future of kabinett during the 2005 German Wine Society national conference in Springfield, MA (organized by yours truly). The idea was that despite the effects of global warming, wines that embody the stylistic vitues of kabinett still exist.

Fast-forward to today, and this wine continues to show the brightness, refreshment value (blissfully on this ultra-hot day) and fine balance. The aromas are slowly developing, with a hint of that Riesling petrol, and a smokiness is joining the razor like minerals that dominate the wine's finish. This has tons of life left, and will amply defent the notion of kabinett for the remainder of its life.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:35 pm

David kicks off with the Pike's Clare Valley Riesling from the 2009 vintage. I am usually able to find Pikes around here but might be a previous vintage.
David make my day and announce you have some Petaluma and Bests Great Western!
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Salil » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:40 pm

Bob... if you like Clare/Victorian Riesling, look west at Frankland Estate. Some stunning dry wines being produced there- the single vineyard rieslings are really impressive (up there with the best of Grosset IMO), and very reasonably priced - around $18-25 USD.

Meanwhile, 2004 Leitz Rudesheimer Berg Schlossberg Riesling Spatlese is so, so good right now. But there are others as well. More later. ;)
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby JeremyClimer » Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:17 pm

While I am not quite ready to think of fall while the temperatures remain high, I admit two things (1) I LOVE fall. Football, hunting, the amazing blessing that is the harvest, etc. (2) Being married to a Pole, she does her finest cooking when the weather turns (as I handle a lot of the warm weather foods). Polish food is not too different than German foods and fall is the time when I am conflicted between wanting to drink reds after a season of roses, sauv blancs, chards, etc and the fact that good continental white wines such as rieslings go so well with dishes like kielbasa, sauerkraut and potatoes.

Just the other night we had an affordable Escher from Pfalz ($8.99) that went really well with the dish mentioned above.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:33 am

Welcome to the forum! Is there anyone in Louisville who is not a participant here!

WTN: `07 Riesling Weingut St. Urbans-Hof, Mosel.

$20 Cdn, purchased close to two yrs ago, 10% alc, good cork. A.P. Nr 3-529-290-041-07. Have to wonder if I should have left this for a couple of years?

Nose still shows some greenish tints, medium yellow/lemon. Ripe fruity floral nose with white stonefruit. No gasolein yet!

Initial entry is rather sweet, no spritz, apple, long finish, so-so acidity. Not a "steely" style, "light and elegant" from across the table. More white stonefruit on day 2, hint of honeysuckle too. Peach and pear more prominent, need to find something a tad drier but fair start.

Food was lemon chicken breast and a fines herbes butter sauce.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Tim York » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:24 am

Bill Hooper wrote:
Tim York wrote:Alsace Riesling Cuvée Théo 2006 – Domaine Weinbach – Alc 13.5%.


Interesting note, Tim. 2006 was a notoriously botrytis-plagued vintage in Alsace. Nice to see a comeback of sorts on the Weinbach. I wonder if the riper Schlossberg Rieslings are showing more rot.



Bill, good point. In fact I prefaced my November 2008 note on this wine with the following.

2006 in Alsace has been dubbed “the year of the mushroom” by Tom Stevenson http://www.wine-pages.com/guests/tom/Asace-2009.pdf (scroll down the pages to 2006). That seems a bit sweeping as a judgment for a year where, on the author’s own admission, only 12% of the wines were affected, i.e. 88% were not. I could detect no signs of it here nor on any other Alsatian 2006s which I have tasted.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby David Lole » Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:15 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:David kicks off with the Pike's Clare Valley Riesling from the 2009 vintage. I am usually able to find Pikes around here but might be a previous vintage.
David make my day and announce you have some Petaluma and Bests Great Western!


I'll dig out a 2002 0r 2003 Petaluma if that helps make your day. Bests is something I never try or buy, but I'm sure some of the others I'll get through this month will make up for it! :wink:
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Salil » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:24 am

A couple of Rieslings last night following another '09 Lapierre Morgon...

2004 Weingut Josef Leitz Rüdesheimer Berg Schloßberg Riesling Spätlese (Rheingau)
Still very primary with lots of baby fat; packed with ripe yellow fruits, peaches and apples drizzled with vanilla and floral notes. This is a powerhouse with immense richness, but the acidity here keeps everything in perfect balance, checking the sweetness and giving the fruit a sense of real freshness. Delicious right now, and I imagine this will age very, very well over time.

2002 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese (Nahe)
Monumental Riesling. First impression is mostly about fruit; a blast of fresh pears, apples and berried fruit accented by gentle developing smoky and creamy elements, then on the back end a tremendous minerality emerges and this finishes feeling more like a solid sculpted from rock rather than liquid. Tremendous length, depth and balance, with a finish that just keeps going and going. Flat out wow.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:11 am

I opened a bottle of that 2004 Leitz Schlossberg a few weeks ago - agree it is stunning wine. Quick phoo of the Schlossberg for your enjoyment (taken in fall 2003):
Berg Schlossberg B&W.jpg
Berg Schlossberg B&W.jpg (95.96 KiB) Viewed 6102 times
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Salil » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:19 am

David M. Bueker wrote:I opened a bottle of that 2004 Leitz Schlossberg a few weeks ago - agree it is stunning wine.

I grabbed the last bottle off Table & Vine's closeout rack recently with your note in mind. Great call, and great photo - must be amazing to walk through that site.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:22 pm

So that's where that bottle went (as if I am shocked...).

Somewhere in about 2003 I got turned onto the Roseneck Spatlese & started to focus more of my attentions there. Now I rarely buy the Berg Schlossberg anymore. I'm sure the cellar is poorer for it, but the Roseneck is no slouch either (especially 2006 throgh 2009).

The trio of Berg vineyards (Schlossberg, Roseneck and Rottland) are right up there with my favorites from anywhere in Germany. The Leitz dry wines from Rottland are very special to me.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Salil » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:03 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:So that's where that bottle went (as if I am shocked...).

Somewhere in about 2003 I got turned onto the Roseneck Spatlese & started to focus more of my attentions there. Now I rarely buy the Berg Schlossberg anymore. I'm sure the cellar is poorer for it, but the Roseneck is no slouch either (especially 2006 throgh 2009).

I'm with you on Roseneck: I haven't had older vintages of it, but I thought the 08 was stunning and the 09 quite exceptional. The Schlossberg has also been lovely recently (I liked the 07 a lot when my dad and I had a bottle this summer in Singapore), but I also haven't bought it often. I should, but as we've discussed before we really are spoilt by the number and range of quality choices in Germany right now, with some great proactive importers and retailers.
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