Question For Riesling Geeks

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Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby Dan Smothergill » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:54 am

I recently had a 2010 Hexamer “Quarzit” Riesling from Nahe. It had a strong, delicious taste of fresh apricots and peaches with no obvious sweetness against a background of subdued minerality. I then compared it to a favorite Finger Lakes Riesling, Weimer’s Semi-Dry. The experience was the exact opposite. Here the fruit was much more subdued compared to the Hexamer and the minerality stood out more. This made me realize that I’ve never had a Finger Lakes Riesling quite like the Hexamer. Perhaps it’s because I don’t buy the more expensive Rieslings. Yet the Hexamer itself was under $20. So please help ye Riesling geeks. Are there American Rieslings like the Hexamer? Or is there something about German Rieslings of this type that isn’t duplicated elsewhere?
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:42 am

I have never had an American Riesling that expressed itself in the way the off-dry (and Qurtzit is off-dry, though 2010s acidity may have masked that a bit)German Rieslings do. I have been tricked by Weimer Dry Riesling into thinking I was drinking a German trocken. I find the Weimer wines to be excellent, I just look to them for something different from their German counterparts.

Now the one thing I have not done is drink FL Riesling with a lot of age. Not sure what might happen once a wine gets down to its essential structure.

But to summarize - I've never seen that German Riesling expression anywhere else. That's one of the things that is so great about the wines.
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby Rahsaan » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:18 pm

Agree with David. That delicate sweet tangy fruit in off-dry German riesling is unique in my experience. Other places can give the fruit succulence or the crisp structure, but combining them in one wine is pretty rare. Unless you're in the Mosel!
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:25 pm

You know, for a minute I was going to differ with you on the "unless you're in the Mosel" comment, but in the other regions (e.g. Nahe, Rheingau, etc) it's more about succulent fruit rather than crisp fruit.
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby Thomas » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:45 pm

Dan Smothergill wrote:I recently had a 2010 Hexamer “Quarzit” Riesling from Nahe. It had a strong, delicious taste of fresh apricots and peaches with no obvious sweetness against a background of subdued minerality. I then compared it to a favorite Finger Lakes Riesling, Weimer’s Semi-Dry. The experience was the exact opposite. Here the fruit was much more subdued compared to the Hexamer and the minerality stood out more. This made me realize that I’ve never had a Finger Lakes Riesling quite like the Hexamer. Perhaps it’s because I don’t buy the more expensive Rieslings. Yet the Hexamer itself was under $20. So please help ye Riesling geeks. Are there American Rieslings like the Hexamer? Or is there something about German Rieslings of this type that isn’t duplicated elsewhere?


Dan:

I've never understood the reason behind comparing one region's attributes to another. I like the idea that every place is unique, or should be. So what's your reason for seeking a FLakes Riesling that would taste like Nahe Riesling?
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby Dan Smothergill » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:19 pm

Well, you wonder whether its terroir, winemaking techniques or gremlins. You just wonder.
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:03 pm

Dan Smothergill wrote:Well, you wonder whether its terroir, winemaking techniques or gremlins. You just wonder.


Try feeding the Quartzit after midnight. But whatever you do, don't get it wet.
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby Rahsaan » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:57 pm

Thomas wrote:I've never understood the reason behind comparing one region's attributes to another. I like the idea that every place is unique, or should be.


Curiosity. Just because a place is unique doesn't mean you can't compare and contrast its attributes with something from other places. If anything, that process helps you dig deeper into what makes each place unique.
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby Thomas » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:23 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
Thomas wrote:I've never understood the reason behind comparing one region's attributes to another. I like the idea that every place is unique, or should be.


Curiosity. Just because a place is unique doesn't mean you can't compare and contrast its attributes with something from other places. If anything, that process helps you dig deeper into what makes each place unique.


I agree with you Rahsaan, as a means to compare differences, but Dan asked if there was an American Riesling with the attributes of the Nahe. I was trying to determine why he would seek sameness. Now that he has refined his question, what he seems to seek is the reason behind the differences.

To answer that, Dan, I'd say that generally, location provides the nuances like so-called minerality, acidity, et al. Winemaking philosophy gets you closer to how or whether the fruit is expressed, the wine is dry or not, etc.
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby win_fried » Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:55 am

Hi,

recently there was a TV-Show in Germany about the German Riesling miracle. Stuart Pigott repeatedly said:
The terroir is the composition, the grape is the instrument and the winemaker is the interpreter. I, somehow, like this picture.

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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby David M. Bueker » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:18 am

By the way - I bet there are sites in the USA that would give a Nahe-like or Mosel-like expression of Riesling. They just are not being farmed for wine grapes. They likely never will be.
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby Thomas » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:57 am

Some Keuka Lake sites offer Mosel-like products. Heron Hill Vineyards is a prime example. The wines also age gracefully.

In general, however, each of the Finger Lakes where Riesling grows provide separate focus. In a 9,000 square mile region of rolling drumlins, east-west orientation and multiple soil types, you can't help but find differences for any grape variety.
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby Dan Smothergill » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:28 am

Traveling the FL wine circuit not many years ago it was common to hear visitors exclaim, "My, this is like a German Riesling". The similarities between the regions in climate then would be pointed out by the server along with the parallels between the narrow, steep valleys of the Finger Lakes and the river valleys of Germany. To the wine novice listening in on all this it was clear enough that German Riesling was the gold standard and the FL aspired to it. Now the FL has matured and the song seems to have changed as well. "We make very good Rieslings, but of course you shouldn't expect them to be like German Rieslings". OK I'll buy it, but the old tune keeps running through my head.
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby Thomas » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:52 pm

Dan Smothergill wrote:Traveling the FL wine circuit not many years ago it was common to hear visitors exclaim, "My, this is like a German Riesling". The similarities between the regions in climate then would be pointed out by the server along with the parallels between the narrow, steep valleys of the Finger Lakes and the river valleys of Germany. To the wine novice listening in on all this it was clear enough that German Riesling was the gold standard and the FL aspired to it. Now the FL has matured and the song seems to have changed as well. "We make very good Rieslings, but of course you shouldn't expect them to be like German Rieslings". OK I'll buy it, but the old tune keeps running through my head.


Yeah, when an American wine region is in its early stages of struggle for recognition, there's always a tendency to seek a well-known region to both aspire to and to associate with. When I first came to the Finger Lakes on my search for a place to make wine, I often asked winery owners I met why they referred to their wines as "Germanic or Alsatian-style." I never thought that was a good way to identify your product because it inevitably leads to comparisons that may be favorable but can also be unfavorable. It's even worse if many of the people making the claim of similarity never tasted much of the wines with which they try to compare, and I found that was the case too.

Such things can prolong the development and recognition of local identity.

As we have said in this thread, it's fine to compare as a means to sate curiosity and to dig into the reason for similarities and differences, but to expect any region to produce wines like another region seems rather silly to me. If you want the wines of one region why go somewhere else seeking their doubles?
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby David M. Bueker » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:30 pm

Thomas wrote: If you want the wines of one region why go somewhere else seeking their doubles?


I have one reason I would do this - I prefer to support more local businesses. The FL is the closest fine wine region to where I live. I wish I enjoyed the wines more and had better access.
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby Mark Lipton » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:59 pm

Thomas wrote: If you want the wines of one region why go somewhere else seeking their doubles?


Price? If I could find a wine made in Kyrgyzstan that tasted like DRC Richebourg but sold for $5, I don't think I'd be too bothered about my motivation for buying it. :D

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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby Hoke » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:01 pm

David: Have you tried any Michigan rieslings? (Although I think they do Gewurztraminer better.)

Mark: So, how many of those Kyrgizistani ringers do you have in your cellar now???

Did a spectacular seminar/tasting some years ago for the SWE wherein I sourced rieslings from every region of quality I could find. It was fun, and intriguing, to contrast and compare the attributes of each---Australia (Leeuwin and Clare and Eden), Austria, Alto Adige, Lombardy, Alsace, Mosel, Nahe, Hessen, Rhein, Finger Lakes, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, Anderson Valley, Monterey, Napa, and Chile (yes, and it was good too).)

We stuck with the dry and off-dry styles, putting the stickies in another classification.

Each was distinctive. Some were direct contrasts to others (primarily sugar driven and climate driven). Showed massive diversity riesling is capable of, while maintaining its core identity. Ranged from flat, dull, insipid to steel razors slashing, from fruit to minerality.

As I recall, for those who keep score and go to Fight Club, the Mosel held pride of place, but Australia/Clare, Alsace, Austria blew people away. Michigan was a pleasant surprise,with rieslings capable of style, structure and balance. Chile, while sweeter and more bland, was even more of a pleasant surprise.

Even the riesling freaks were daunted by the sometimes slashing acidity and austerity of the Austrian, and to a certain extent the Clare rieslings hit the palate----they were so austere one could indulge a masochistic sybaritism, enjoying the incisive bite and puckery snap of razor sharp minerals and acids while it almost hurt at the same time. (But as usual, what puts of casual drinkers about riesling is what gives us fanatics our jollies. :twisted: )

And, no, I don't remember all the brands, so I'm not listing any. Go look for yourselves, slackers.
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby Thomas » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:31 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:
Thomas wrote: If you want the wines of one region why go somewhere else seeking their doubles?


Price? If I could find a wine made in Kyrgyzstan that tasted like DRC Richebourg but sold for $5, I don't think I'd be too bothered about my motivation for buying it. :D

Mark Lipton


When you find that DRC Richebourg in Kyrgyzstan, Mark, don't be greedy--share the information, the wine, or both. I'll send you my shipping address.

I'll even give up pre-conditioned notions that may have caused me to suffer from bias at the expense of objectivity. How many wine geeks would do that? :twisted:
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Re: Question For Riesling Geeks

Postby Lou Kessler » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:42 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:
Thomas wrote: If you want the wines of one region why go somewhere else seeking their doubles?


Price? If I could find a wine made in Kyrgyzstan that tasted like DRC Richebourg but sold for $5, I don't think I'd be too bothered about my motivation for buying it. :D

Mark Lipton

It sure as hell would knock the hell out of the value of the 200 cases of DRC in my cellar.
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