Wine Focus for September: Riesling

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WTN: 2008 Josef Leitz Rudesheimer Magdelenenkreuz Spatlese

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:24 pm

Or as Johannes Leitz calls it...Maggie.

Fresh, bracing and very drinkable - this is exactly what it should be, a textbook example of Rheingau Riesling without a ton of complexity owing to its less than truly noble site. On a cool fall day with a pork loin on the grill (food pairing note!!) it is a great match.
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Superiors

Postby Rahsaan » Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:30 am

Glad you folks liked these Superiors. I haven't been too happy with 06, 07, or 08 and am not optimistic about where they are going. I've even been debating whether it's worth waiting to see because I have such limited space in my wine refrigerator. They just seem so loose and unfocused. Hardly a charge you expect for Grunhaus.
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Re: Superiors

Postby Tim York » Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:30 am

Rahsaan wrote:Glad you folks liked these Superiors. I haven't been too happy with 06, 07, or 08 and am not optimistic about where they are going. I've even been debating whether it's worth waiting to see because I have such limited space in my wine refrigerator. They just seem so loose and unfocused. Hardly a charge you expect for Grunhaus.


As I said, I am not fully convinced at present but I will give my remaining bottles several years more time. Grünhaus is in general a great ager.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby David Lole » Mon Sep 06, 2010 8:41 am

Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile Alsace Riesling 1989

Undoubtably one of the great Riesling's of the world and from vintages as good as 1989 amd 1990, one of the great wine's of the world.

12.5% A/V and sealed with a long, very good quality cork.

CFE rates alongside the far more expensive and small volume cult wine Clos St. Hune as Trimbach's top Riesling labels. The bulk of material that goes to make CFE comes from old vines off two grand cru vineyards, Osterberg and Geisberg. The wine is made in three formats - the regular (dry), VT (vendange tardive = late harvest) and SDGN (selection des grains nobles = selection of noble berries = suggesting botrytis affected or very late picked grapes). I've tried all three from vintages as far back as 1983 all the way through to 2001. Only very occasionally have I seen anything not up to scratch. The most significant and mind-blowing aspect of these fantastic wines are their almost brazen but haunting/alluring minerality, particularly in the bouquet but also found on the palate. The wine's are made in a rather austere style (for Alsace), remarkably with oodles of mainly citrus and stonefruit with incredible counterbalancing mineral-tinged acidity and not a skerrick of residual sugar to be found in the standard label. The later-picked wines often also reveal copious quantities of apricot, marmalade, spice and honeyed character but nearly always offer judiciously ripe minerally acids to counter this marvellously complex ripe fruit. And, as tested tonight, they last and last! With time they develop just a tad of the classic bottle-aged petroleum/toast and honeyed characters of great Riesling but, seemingly, always reveal a dominance of pure and ridiculously classy terroir-derived fruit and minerality that delivers amazing freshness, balance and finesse.

Tasting Note: A slightly burnished bright yellow gold. Magical bouquet of fresh waxy apples, kaffir leaf, lanolin, honesuckle, lime juice surrounded by haunting mineral scents. Paradoxically, the palate is a classic mix of the new and the old. In one sense, still remarkably fresh but with a vein of honeyed cream intertwined with a citrussy core of lime and honeysuckle. The acidity's mineral-rich and cuts through the richness like a hot knife through softened butter. Structually, the wine is tightly coiled with sensational focus. The finish awesomely long with a tweek of apricot (suggesting botrytis) and reminiscent of a fine G&T. Lovely stuff. Should last for another decade if well cared for. 94 points.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:29 am

Thanks for the note David. CFE is so reliably great. Salil and I had the opportunity to drink the '89 CFE VT a few weeks ago, and it was nothing short of magic.

I've been very impressed with the 2000 and 2001 vintages (CFE and CFE VT), and have high hope for the future, especially for the 2001 (not to mention the 2001 375th anniversary cuvee).
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WTN: 1976 Gessinger Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese

Postby Sam Platt » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:52 am

1976 Gessinger Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese

Took a chance on this one from a cut-out bin at a wine store in Cincinnati. The lable was damaged and the cork had significant seepage, but at $10 it was hard to pass up.

N: The cork was fully saturated and severely degraded. It had to be extracted in pieces. The good news was that there wasn't a hint of TCA. In fact, there wasn't really a hint of anything. Nose was pretty much nonexistent.

C: Deep, dark, orange yellow.

T: Pleasant lemon pie filling with burnt caramel notes for about the first 5 minutes. Then it just disintegrated in the glass to an unpleasant burnt rubber taste. Had to be dumped down the drain.

This was by far the oldest Riesling that I have ever tasted. Though I know that it was not representative I was fun to have the opportunity to try it.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:14 am

Sam, we have all had this experience so don`t worry. What do you have lined up next?

I have an eye on a Trimbach for later this week, after all the hoop-la around here!
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Sam Platt » Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:55 pm

My stash of drinkable Riesling is getting low. I have an '05 Dr. Frank that I might open later in the week. This exercise has made me realize that I drink a lot more Riesling than I thought I did.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Salil » Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:22 pm

Some dessert Riesling...

2006 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 'Rotlay'
Given that this is an '06, I was expecting a big dessert wine - but even with those expectations was rather surprised by this. Remarkably Sauternes-like in its flavour profile; full of ripe apricots, pineapples and dried fruits combined with honey and spices rather than anything Mosel-like. It's very balanced with the acidity cutting through the density and sweetness nicely and keeping it from feeling overly heavy or cloying, but as a Mosel Riesling - particularly from a site like Rotlay - it's rather anonymous and not serviceable as anything other than a big dessert wine. No complaints, as most of this was consumed with dessert or as dessert over a few nights (once I realized just how damn sweet this is), but I'll just go and hunt down more of the '08 for drinking pleasure.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:17 am

Hopefully all that 2006 botrytis will settle down into something more recognizable in several years time. I really think the Mosel vintners missed the mark in 2006, as they could have sold tons of BA and TBA, thus making a staggering reputation for the vintage. Instead they declassified into the lower pradikats, and made wines that really do not fit the mold.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Salil » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:34 am

Cross posting notes from my other thread.

Blind tasting at David Bueker's home - David opened a fantastic lineup of middle Mosel Riesling from his cellar that he served blind for everyone else. A very fun and eye-opening evening with good company, some old friends and some nice cheeses and salami on the side. My blind tasting skills were horrible as I kept stabbing around various Mosel producers and vineyards with very little success, but it was a great evening with some lovely wines in good company.

Wines were served in pairs (aside from the warmup and dessert wine), and everything was unveiled at the end of the night.

Warm up wine
Really refreshing and elegant with fresh green apple and pear fruit accented with cooling herbal elements and a developing smokiness. Comes across with a true Kabinett lightness of touch, with lovely acidity keeping it very delicate, precise and refreshing. Revealed as the 1999 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett.

Wine 1
Drinking very nicely right now with some gentle red fruited notes, lemon cream and a moderate, understated sweetness. There's a pleasant creamy aspect on the back end and really nice acidity. Lovely. Revealed as the 1998 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese.

Wine 2
Quite uninteresting with bright lime and grapefruit flavours and a little emerging smokiness but this lacks the depth of the other wines in the flight, not showing the same sense of precision, complexity or elegance. I'm a lot more impressed when this is revealed as the 2000 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese; in the context of the vintage, it's quite impressive.

Wine 3
Aromatically mute at first, showing shy scents of pale Mosel fruit that give no indication to what's ahead in the mouth, where it's full of exuberant rich citrus and red fruited flavours over a base of slate. There's tremendous richness here, but it feels incredibly light on its feet with fantastic acidity and impeccable balance. Delicious! Unveiled as the 2001 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese.

Wine 4
Also quite aromatically mute, but like wine 3 this is much more expressive in the mouth with fresh primary Mosel fruit and slate. The flavours aren't as exuberant and lively as the '01 in the mouth, but the whole package is still quite elegant and very tasty. This is the 2004 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese.

Wine 5
Pretty much in its ideal spot. Gorgeous aromatics that combine a spectrum of ripe fruit and tarter citrus with floral and honeyed aspects, a gentle minerality and developed smoky and creamy elements into one amazing scent. Tastes just as good as it smells with fantastic depth, a sense of restrained power and grace and fantastic length. Wow! Unveiled as the 1995 Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 3-star, my/group's wine of the night by some distance.

Wine 6
Very elegant, classical Auslese (close to a modern Spätlese in style) that perhaps suffered a little bit trying to follow the stunning '95. There's plenty of fresh, pure fruit and minerality here with the start of developing creamy and fusel elements, but this comes across a little quiet and simple poured alongside the '95. This is the 1998 Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese one-star.

Wine 7
Reeks of sulfur to start. David said he had quadruple-decanted this a few hours before serving (!!), and it still smells like Dante's Inferno in a glass. Very tasty though with bright apple, pear and other white fruited flavours over a bed of slate, and nice acidity keeping it fresh and vibrant throughout. Perhaps a touch light on the back end, but still very pretty and elegant. Was thinking this might either be a Schloss Lieser GKA (Thomas Haag doesn't hold back on sulfur) or a Prum, guessed the former but it turned out to be the 2002 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese.

Wine 8
Comes across as a pretty typical modern Auslese; full of ripe melony and white fruited flavours with gentle floral and mineral accents and a sweet honeyed character to the fruit flavours. Quite surprised when this was unveiled as the 2006 Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese one-star, as this feels remarkably light and clear for an '06 with the botrytis and sweetness not as intense as I'd expect and a nice sense of freshness to the flavours.

Dessert
First impression is surprisingly Muskateller-like, with wild floral and mandarin orange aromas accompanied by the standard botrytis honey and spice. With time the flavours get wilder and more exotic as rose petal, lychee and other tropical fruit flavours emerge; this remains incredibly sweet and rich but has just enough acidity to keep the sweetness from being overwhelming. First guessed Muskateller, then Gewurztraminer on this - wrong on both counts, it's the 2007 Kurt Darting Durkheimer Fronhof Scheurebe Beerenauslese. Incredibly fun wine, and absolutely delicious - Darting always seems to deliver with his sweet wines.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby David Lole » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:52 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Thanks for the note David. CFE is so reliably great. Salil and I had the opportunity to drink the '89 CFE VT a few weeks ago, and it was nothing short of magic.

I've been very impressed with the 2000 and 2001 vintages (CFE and CFE VT), and have high hope for the future, especially for the 2001 (not to mention the 2001 375th anniversary cuvee).


I have drunk close on 3 dozen of these over the years and never had a bad one. The last one I rated at 97 points.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Bill Hooper » Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:10 am

Theo Minges 'Buntsandstein' Riesling Spätlese Trocken 2009 13,5% -Pfalz, Germany

It is a credit to the climate of the Pfalz, to Herr Minges, and to the Riesling grape itself that such a modest wine (and a dry one at that) can perfom the amazing aromatic acrobatics that this one does. Papaya, orange marmelade, chamomile, lime, sweet yellow capsicum tear out of the glass like a tornado. There is more orange, apricot and lime in the mouth, but there is also a little pith and aspirin that is amplified by the alcohol and the lack of sweetness. Though, I must say that I was so mesmorized by the aroma that it was easy to overlook that point, and it made little difference to my overall enjoyment of the wine. Others might find the bitterness more obnoxious.

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Re: WTN: 2008 Josef Leitz Rudesheimer Magdelenenkreuz Spatlese

Postby ChaimShraga » Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:45 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Or as Johannes Leitz calls it...Maggie.

Fresh, bracing and very drinkable - this is exactly what it should be, a textbook example of Rheingau Riesling without a ton of complexity owing to its less than truly noble site. On a cool fall day with a pork loin on the grill (food pairing note!!) it is a great match.


Thoughts about cellaring "Maggie"?

I myself have a hard time keeping my hands off it.
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Re: WTN: 2008 Josef Leitz Rudesheimer Magdelenenkreuz Spatlese

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:49 am

ChaimShraga wrote:
Thoughts about cellaring "Maggie"?

I myself have a hard time keeping my hands off it.


The 2001 and 2003 are still going strong.
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Re: WTN: 2008 Josef Leitz Rudesheimer Magdelenenkreuz Spatlese

Postby ChaimShraga » Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:51 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:
ChaimShraga wrote:
Thoughts about cellaring "Maggie"?

I myself have a hard time keeping my hands off it.


The 2001 and 2003 are still going strong.


Do they develop enough to justify the storage space? They're really so charming young, and I adore young Rieslings as well as mature ones, so I'm always on the lookout for good Rieslings that drink better on the young side.
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Re: WTN: 2008 Josef Leitz Rudesheimer Magdelenenkreuz Spatlese

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:58 pm

ChaimShraga wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:
ChaimShraga wrote:
Thoughts about cellaring "Maggie"?

I myself have a hard time keeping my hands off it.


The 2001 and 2003 are still going strong.


Do they develop enough to justify the storage space?


Not really.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:54 pm

Interesting discussion downtown about my palate!! This following wine was sweet to me but two staff thought off-dry! Remember the entry level Urbans-Hof I posted on? That was sweet too.

WTN. `06 August Cellars Riesling Yakima Valley Washington.

12% alc, good cork, small annual production, German immigrant family from Oregon. $20 Cdn, purchased for this months Focus. "You will like this Bob, off-dry!".

Color. Medium to deep lemon, no green.
Nose. Nose did not show much at all. No gasolein, apple peelings, earth mineral touch. "Did not convey German style to me" from across the table.
Palate. Initial entry thought was not off-dry, fruit picked ripe, light to medium bodied. So-so acidity, pear, honeysuckle, lacks character and not what I expected. Over on the BC side, they know their dry style rieslings! Pass forumites.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:01 pm

Classically Yakima valley Riesling Bob. I think it's a terrible place to grow the variety. I visited the Yakima Valley in 1999, deep in the throes of my youthful Riesling geekdom & bought zero bottles in 10 winery visits.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:49 am

Thanks for your kind response David. So am I right in my thought that one persons "off-dry" is another persons "sweet".

What are the definitions here?
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby JC (NC) » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:43 pm

Sorry, Sam, about the quick disintegration of your 1976 German Riesling. That was a marvelous vintage and I was living in Germany from 1976 to 1984 and had a chance to drink many of them but lacked the foresight to age them (I did move around quite a bit while working in Germany so that discouraged collecting wine.)
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby JC (NC) » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:48 pm

2002 Wolfer Goldgrube Riesling Spatlese (Daniel Vollenweider), M-S-R, Germany A.P. 2 576 001 04 03
8% alcohol. Superbly balanced between sweet peachy-flavored juice and tangy acidity. Possible the ochsle of an Auslese wine? Better as a dessert wine than with an entree. I like the way it's drinking now but this was my only bottle of this vintage and I think I have only one Wolfer Goldgrube left. Next up is my first Seebrich (Rheinhessen).
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:48 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Thanks for your kind response David. So am I right in my thought that one persons "off-dry" is another persons "sweet".

What are the definitions here?


There are no formal definitions Bob. There is also the potential issue (perhaps in this case, perhaps not) where many people perceive fruit elements in wine as sweet, even when a wine is dry.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Riesling

Postby Tom N. » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:26 pm

Hi David,

It is cool and crisp in northern Ontario (lovely :D weather) and I pulled a riesling for dinner yesterday night.

Pale straw color. Expressive nose of ripe melon, peaches and a pinch of petrol. Gorgeous midpalate of melons and pineapple with sparkly acidity. Long finish of acidic ripe fruit, especially juicy honeydew.

With food: Great match with pan fried whitefish topped with homemade green tomato relish. The fruity acidic relish enhances the fruit and acidity of the wine for an explosion of flavor.

This is a well-balanced slightly off-dry wine that goes well with food.

St. Urbans-Hof 2008 riesling Mosel 9.5% abv.
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