Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby David Lole » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:05 pm

Salil wrote:
David Lole wrote:My first try of a W. Schaefer wine and what a revelation it was. If all of his portfolio was as good as this, I would buy on a regular basis.

I'd say his portfolio's usually better. I was not thrilled by his 2007s, and found them a little on the soft side and lacking the cut and raciness his wines normally show. They're very good wines, but my usual expectation for Schaefer is nothing short of jawdropping. More often than not, the wines reach those expectations at EVERY pradikat level.


I promise you, Salil, this was a most gorgeous example with excellent cut and raciness and no shortage of thirst quenching acidity - and no discernible softness I detected.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:22 pm

David - it's not unlikely that some of the youthful baby fat has melted away, exposing more cut than was previously apparent.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:25 pm

2001 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile
I opened this to check on the condition of a bottle, after reading of less that positive experiences. Well this is indeed a positive experience! Loads of lemons and crushed stones dominate the wine, and the backbone is virtually unyielding. It's delicious in a masochistic way - expressing the innermost depths of riesling's cutting nature. Drink now if you enjoy having cold cutlery run across your chest, or hold if you prefer something a little less adventurous from your wine.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby Tim York » Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:09 am

This one is in stark contrast to the supposedly dry Z-H Gueberschwihr 04 referred to in my post above and is much more to my taste. And the fact that this Dönnhoff comes from torrid 2003 compared the Z-H from cool 2004 makes it even more remarkable. If the vintages had been concealed, I would guessed them the other way round, the fact that Norheim is some 270km further north than Gueberswihr by no means compensation for the climatic differences. Dellchen is, of course, an élite terroir which should give it an advantage.

Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Spätlese trocken 2003 – Hermann Dönnhoff – Alc. 12.5% - was quite pale yellow in colour, genuinely dry, if not bone dry, and delightful with lovely aromatics of white fruit and flowers and a touch of petrol, medium body with a certain creamy roundness, minerals and mouth-wateringly lively acidity.

How did Dönhoff achieve such a lively result in 2003? Is he a magician or does the Dellchen terroir make a special contribution? Or a bit of both? I guess that this is a similar cuvée from the same plot which, from the mid-00s, has become a Grosses Gewächs labelled simply Dellchen, the 2006 version of which I found absolutely brilliant. This 03 was lovely, if not quite so brilliant and long as my memories of that Dellchen GG. Very good 16.5/20.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:04 am

Tim York wrote:How did Dönhoff achieve such a lively result in 2003? Is he a magician...


Yes, he is.

Dellchen does make some amazing dry wines (sweet ones as well). I've been through several bottles of the dry 2003 Hermannshohle Riesling (as with the Dellchen, now sold as a GG), and it's not up to more recent vintages, but it is a lovely, dry Riesling with lots of minerals and complexity.

I tend to find the lower acid vintages to be better to my taste for the GGs.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:42 am

2011 Selbach Saar Riesling Spatlese
For the last few vintages, Johannes Selbach has been bottling a Saar Spatlese from purchased wine of "unknown" origin. It has at least been good and sometimes great. It is always a bargain. The 2011 hits the "very good" level, with plenty of baby fat to burn. The armas and flavors are Saar typical (limes, cassis leaf), not unlike the '08 von Hovel I reported on the other day. This wine is much richer, and as the vintage dictated, lower in acidity. Time will be needed to slim it out a bit, but for now it's very quaffable and as stated before - a bargain.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby Bill Hooper » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:53 pm

I went to the Wachenheimer 'young-wine' tasting last night, where every producer in Wachenheim (which pretty much amounts to Bürklin-Wolf, J.L. Wolf and us at Odinstal) gets together and tastes cask samples from the previous year (2012) from all of the producers. We brought a Gewürztraminer (our only wine that is finished fermenting -I SO2'd it on friday) and a still-completely cloudy orange wine (Silvaner fermented on the skins), which freaked out the Co-op guys for certain! Bürklin had some nice wines there (Rechbächel, Goldbächel, and Böhlig), and I was impressed too by the Villa Wolf Pinot Gris. The hallmarks for the vintage remain clear -very aromatic fruit, middle-weight Oechsle, pronounced minerality and lenghty acidity. I'm really excited!

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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:08 pm

The 2001 Muller-Catoir Haardter Burgergarten Riesling Spatlese is nothing short of stunning right now.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby Clint Hall » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:21 pm

Johannes Selback was in town this week and I made it to a tasting of a ten or so of his Selbach-Oster Rieslings, Kab through Auslese, with a one Trocken. I was with a group of friends and didn't take notes, but want to say that the QPR ratio for these declicious wines was wonderful, with prices ranging from $16.15 for the 2009 Riesling Kabinett to only $18.69 for the fragrant 2008 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett and a high of $23.80 for what really is an Auslese, the 2007 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese one-star. I bought some of the latter two, and at those prices I felt like a thief, but according to WS Pro those are the going rates.

Here's a factoid you can amuse your friends with. Johannes says his entry level Riesling Kabinett is all from Himmelreich but he stopped putting Himmelreich on the label because it interfered with restaurant sales in America. Customers couldn't pronounce it.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:16 pm

Selbach-Oster remains a QPR gem. Let's hope it stays that way.

I love the S-O Himmelreich wines. Also be on the lookout for his Saar Spatlese. It is jawdropping QPR.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby Bill Hooper » Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:23 pm

I made my once-yealy fried chicken last night (it used to be twice-yearly until I hit 35 last year.) Anyway, what better wine to go with fried chicken than Riesling? We had a nice 2010 Kesselstat Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett Feinherb which was really pretty, perfectly sweet, but could have used a touch more acidity IMO. We also opened a 2010 Bürgerspital Würzburger Stein Riesling Kabinett Trocken which was also very good -the mineral notes were like dripping sweat. It seemed very much like silvaner in that regard. A very taut, dense wine. Nice contrasts, but they both worked marvelously.

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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:59 am

So Bill - do you think the Kesselstat was deacidified?

By the way, the remnants of the 2001 Muller-Catoir were still very impressive last night. Lots of tropical fruit, smoke, minerals and crisp finishing acidity.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby Tim York » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:36 am

I'm cheating a bit with this one because it comes from a Riesling/Silvaner cross. However from its taste I think that Riesling is the dominant influence in the cross and, if I'd had it blind, I would have guessed Riesling.

Monsheimer Silberberg Rieslaner Spätlese 1998 - Weingut Keller, Rheinhessen - Alc.10% was absolutely delicious with burgeoning Riesling type aromatics of white flowers, spice and petrol tinged minerals. The palate was medium/light, brightly focussed, generous and long with gentle sweetness balanced by juicy mouth-watering acidity and an underlying roundness, which I am not used to with 100% Riesling from the Mosel and Nahe. Excellent 17/20.

Its hard to pinpoint non-Riesling elements in this wine. Perhaps that roundness and generosity; but that would be at odds with my recent experience of dry Silvaner from Franconia which tended to be racy and crisp. I seem to recall that Riesling was sold out at the Keller estate when I bought this in about 1999 so I haven't been able to make a direct comparison.


BTW this was my last bottle :( of that small stash from which I have particularly fond memories of the Grauburgunder. The good news is that I have half of this Rieslaner bottle left to finish tonight :D .
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:54 pm

Rieslaner tends to resemble Riesling much mroe than Silvaner. A few Catoir Rieslaners have fooled me in blind tastings. Of course the gothic script on Catoir labels has fooled me into thinking I was drinking Rielsing as well!
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby Bill Hooper » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:49 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:So Bill - do you think the Kesselstat was deacidified?

By the way, the remnants of the 2001 Muller-Catoir were still very impressive last night. Lots of tropical fruit, smoke, minerals and crisp finishing acidity.


David, I don’t know. There was a faint buttery, diacetyl flavor that is associated with wines that undergo malolactic fermentation and had me wondering–so that is a possibility. It wasn’t pronounced though, and wasn’t problematic. If they used Calcium Carbonate, it was done judiciously.
The wine wasn’t lacking in acid, but had me wishing for a tick more.

Tim, Rieslaner can be excellent. It is very prone to botrytis (and very late ripening), so making a dry one is challenging. I've had some Müller-Catoir Rieslaner Trocken that was excellent though -lots of selection in the vineyard is key.

The flavors of the sweet wines tend to get even more tropical than riesling. Sometimes that can be a give-away.

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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:21 pm

Very ripe Rieslaner with botrytis can sometimes show a horseradish and chili pepper element. That's what gives the variety away for me.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby Salil » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:00 pm

Horseradish + chili pepper + (about fifty other flavors I can't catalog) immediately makes me think of that spectacular '96 Catoir Rieslaner Auslese. Damn, what a wine that is...
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby Salil » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:59 pm

2001 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spätlese
Freaking amazing. Youthful fruit, minerality, a faint honeyed touch and developing creamy and smoky flavours all coming together seamlessly, so intense yet remarkably light on the palate with tremendous acidity and absurd length. This wine is in such a great spot now.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby Fredrik L » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:21 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Very ripe Rieslaner with botrytis can sometimes show a horseradish and chili pepper element. That's what gives the variety away for me.


Here is a tip when tasting Keller wines: If it tastes like Rieslaner, it´s a Riesling; if it tastes like Scheurebe, it´s a Rieslaner; if it tastes like the tropical juice you get at breakfast in a cheap hotel, it´s a Scheurebe...

Greetings from Sweden / Fredrik L
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby Kelly Young » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:53 pm

2001 Weingut Wittmann Westhofener Morstein Riesling Auslese

It is almost impossible to tell all of you how much I loved this wine. And I bought it for a complete lark knowing nothing about it, other than I've heard various and sundry mention what a nice vintage 2001 was supposed to be. Ok seeing Thiese's name on the back moved it into the safe to buy category. The laundry list: sweet flowers and fruit in the nose, in that good way that things are flowery and fruity. Botrytis? Check, though he's behaving himself. There's some weight but it is far from ponderous. It sits right on that border of desert wine/regular table wine. Though it is making serious goo goo eyes at the Dulce part of of the meal. I bet this would rule with fried chicken per one of the posts earlier. And there is this taste of tea with lemon that seems to trail off ...and off....and off. Think 70s plate reverb with the decay set to max.

http://www.strymon.net/audio/flint/flint_ethan_12.mp3

What is that flavor? I love it whatever it is and however it is achieved. There was a real wistful sunniness to this wine. I know, I know, wistful sunniness is not really a thing. Well it is now.

It came in a 500ml for added pleasure. This was a Thiese import but from reading here I understand Weist is in charge of the portfolio in the States now. If I could get more of this wine I would but I can't seem to find it anywhere. This was an orphan on the shelf at Schneiders.

The wine tastes not unlike this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YE3v62JjPY
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby Salil » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:28 pm

Wittmann's sweet wines are tremendous. I had a few bottles of the '99 Morstein Auslese that elicited a very similar reaction, and unfortunately all of those are long gone.

Unfortunately I've gotten the impression there's a trend at that estate (as there is with a few other producers in the Rheinhessen) to focus more on dry wines... I've rarely ever seen the Morstein Spatlese or Auslese (found a couple of younger vintages abroad on wine lists), whereas his Morstein GG seems to get much more attention. And much more $, about twice the price of the Spat or more. It's a fine wine, but damn, I wish we could get those Spats/Aus in the US again.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:58 am

Wittmann going for dry wines is not just a trend.

By the way, had the 2006 Schlossgut Diel Goldloch Riesling Grosses Gewachs last night, and that ugly duckling has turned into a...well...somewhat prettier duck. It's no swan, but the odd chemical element that was there back in 2009 is gone, and it does show lemony and unripe peach fruit over a very stern mineral base. It's rather foursquare though, not exciting in any way, which is a shame as it cost nearly $60 on release.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby Salil » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:04 am

Yet to be impressed by a Diel dry wine. Shame, considering how good the sweet wines can be at that address.* Pulling a bottle or two of the 1998 Pittermannchen Spatlese from storage soon - that was awesome a couple of years ago, should be fun to check into another one soon.


*Granted, I'm not buying those either at this stage, given that the pricing's gone from tragic to stupid-comic territory.
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Re: Wine Focus for February: German(ic) Riesling

Postby Kelly Young » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:21 am

Salil wrote:pricing's gone from tragic to stupid-comic territory.


I'm stealing this line.

It figures I would find something that really floats my boat and it would be a no longer gettable thing. Any suggestions along this line of taste?
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