Archive for August, 2009

August 2009: German & Austrian Riesling

TC_Aug 09_German Riesling_50%
I don’t know why this comes as a surprise, but what is clear from this tasting is that the professional tasters represent a similar spectrum of responses to this very special grape as does the American wine drinking public … and that is:  you love it or you don’t care for it at all. Most of the wines ended up in the 89/90 points range, but that doesn’t represent how the tasters felt about them.

We had some pretty amazing Riesling in this blind line-up, and the tasters who dig Riesling dug it … ranking them 96, 97 even 98 points. The flip side, though, is that these same wines had knowledgeable, experienced tasters who thought they were cloying, sweet, lacking acidity, one noting “Is this a morning drink?” To some degree, the bar for professional tasters is to evaluate any given wine based on its merits as a varietal, region, style etc. Clearly, though, human nature and personal preference come into play (and shouldn’t it??) and if you don’t personally find the wine pleasant, interesting and recommendable, then you aren’t going to give it 97 points. It’s also worth noting that half of the tasters had strong reactions within the lineup, giving scores ranging from 75 to 97 & another from 71 to 95. Again, reflecting that Riesling walks a fine line between being delicious and undesirable.

That said, we are going to try to give our readers some idea of the tasters’ various reactions to these wines. When you see notes close to the average, it means there wasn’t great variation on that particular wine. Enjoy the read, as this month it’s pretty entertaining:

EXCELLENT (90-94 points)
Leth 2006 Riesling Felser Weinberge (90 points)
Region: Wagram, Austria; Varietals: Riesling; Retail: $23
Notes: Nose: caramelized apricot nose, slight botrytis, apple pie, limestone minerality, toast. Palate: roasted chestnut, peach pie (Ken, 95 points)
Notes: Color: straw. Aroma with notes of diesel fuel and some other untoward quality not readily drinkable. Acid low, alcohol high, generic in flavor (Matt, 80 points)

S.A. Prüm 2007 Essence (90 points)
Region: Mosel, Germany; Varietals: Riesling; Retail: $14
Notes: Ahh …! Great balance, classic reflection of Old World charm, elegant and playful nose. Hints of tropical fruit, green apple and petrol, slight sparkle, long finish (Jerred, 98 points)
Notes: Very pale straw but brilliant color. Completely clean aroma of fresh melons and slight hints of brown spice, perhaps nutmeg. Tangy and balanced. Elegant (Matt, 97 points)
Notes: A reserved nose with a shy mouthfeel … this wine needs to grow something. (How do you say balls in German??) (Arnaud, 83 points)

VERY GOOD (85-89 points)
Carl Graff 2008 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese
(89 points)
Region: Mosel-Saar-Ruver, Germany; Varietals: Riesling; Retail: $18.50
Notes: A little shy in the nose, but what an explosion in the mouth. A bit like a mini fireworks. Great flavors, plenty of acid. Note – a heavy hitter, but very pleasant (Arnaud, 91 points)
Notes: Pale yellow color. Subdued aromas of ripe apricots and peaches. Flavors are more dominant. Citrus fruit with peaches and apricots. Pretty sweet on the mid palate. Still good acidity on the finish. (Jens, 87 points)

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler 2007 Bernkasteler Alte Badstube Riesling Kabinett (89 points)
Region: Mosel, Germany; Varietals: Riesling; Retail: $31
Notes: Pale yellow color. Aromas of wet stone mixed with peaches and apricot. Very good complexity and concentration. Beautiful acidity integrated in the fruit. Main flavors are peach pie, apricots, pink grapefruit with some honey notes. Excellent, long finish. (Jens, 93 points)
Notes: Petroleum nose, another easy drinker. Plenty of fruits with good acid. Good aftertaste with apricot in the background. (Arnaud, 91 points)
Notes: Pale yellow, very intense petroleum and wild flowers. Rich and intense on the palate. Good finish though very sweet. (Giuseppe, 80 points)

Louis Guntrum 2006 Niersteiner Bergkirche Riesling Kabinett (89 points)
Region: Rheinhessen, Germany; Varietals: Riesling; Retail: $25
Notes: Great balance between petrol and fruit. Guessing this producer is putting a foot in new world. Warm vintage as the honey is showing with dried apricot. Soft mineral notes. Lingering finish. (Jerred, 95 points)
Notes: A nice combination of petrol, caramel honey and grapefruit – the palate is lushly textured with the citrus fruit coming in on the finish with great acidity. (Theresa, 88 points)
Notes: Color: straw. Aroma: Diesel again! But also fruity hints. Acid low, finish bitter. (Matt, 80 points)

Schloss Reinhartshausen 2005 Erbach Schlossberg Riesling (89 points)
Region: Rheingau, Germany; Varietals: Riesling; Retail: $45
Notes: Pale yellow color. Intense yet pleasant aromas of quince, pears and flint. Wonderful mouthfeel. Delicious and elegant. Superb acidity and fruit. Subdued citrus and lime flavors upfront followed by ripe peaches, apricots and pink grapefruit. Beautiful, long finish. (Jens, 94 points)
Notes: Notes of flowers, honey, ever so slight petrol. From the nose you would expect a rich and dense mouthfeel … just the opposite, quite lean with citrus, lime zest & zingy acidity. (Theresa, 86 points)

Schlosskellerei-Gobelsburg 2008 Riesling (89 points)
Region: Kamptal, Germany; Varietals: Riesling; Retail: $18.50
Notes: Pale straw color. Aromas: mineral, floral, vegetal & fruity. Complex & enjoyable. Tangy & tart but balanced. (Matt, points 92)
Notes: Fresh & Clean – bright lemon oil, freshly picked oranges. Racy acidity makes all the citrus pop on the palate, especially the flavor of orange peel. (Theresa, 90 points)
Notes: Pale yellow color. Aromas of tart lime and citrus. Flavors of green apple, grapefruit with hints of bitter almonds. Good acidity, but fruit can’t keep up. (Jens, 86 points)

Weingut P.J.-Valckenberg 2006 Riesling Kabinett (89 points)
Region: Rheinhessen, Germany; Varietals: Riesling; Retail: $23
Notes: What a pretty color, and yes, it tastes as good as it looks (beautiful yellow hue). Things are getting sweeter. Million of peaches, Peaches for me. [Surrounded by musical notes] Nice long finish. (Arnaud, 95 points)
Notes: Lush nose of honeysuckle, orange blossom. Beautiful texture, slight oiliness that holds together flavors of tangerine, honeycomb and an ever so slight bit of butterscotch. Would like a bit more acid. (Theresa, 91 points)
Notes: Bright gold yellow color. Sugar coated stewed fruit. Scent of pineapple juice. Very rich. Sweet, very sweet!!! Not necessarily a bad thing. Might be great paired with fruits and nuts. (Giuseppe, 79 points)

Bart 2006 Charter Riesling (87 points)
Region: Rheingau, Germany; Varietals: Riesling; Retail: $28
Notes: Petrol & acidity, clean fruit and balance, very very young. Teeth gripping acidity, wow! The only hold back is the hing of SO2. Lingering long finish. The SO2 will age out. (Jerred, 97 points)
Notes: Straw color. Diesel aroma, mixed with fruits. Bitter grapefruit flavors. Is this blended with Sauvignon Blanc? (Matt, 73 points)

S.A. Prüm 2003 Bernkasteler Lay Riesling (86 points)
Region: Mosel-Saar-Ruver, Germany; Varietals: Riesling; Retail: $48
Notes: Petrol and a bit of heat, vintage related, hot vintage. Fruit comes through on the palate but this wine should age another 7-8 years. Low tannin on the finish and back is a bit edgy. Could fatten up with age. This wine is harmed a bit by vintage. Tastes like Bernkasteler. (Jerred, 94 points)
Notes: Pale yellow to yellow color. Intense aromas of petrol, green apples and wet stone. Medium-bodied, complex and elegant. Beautiful acidity integrated in the fruits. Flavors of baked apples, wet stone, schist with a touch of sweetness. Racy and refreshing finish. Smoked trout comes to my mind. (Jens, 93 points)
Notes: Nose: aged, skunky, oily, tar, smells like apples cooking on an old Fiat engine. Palate: flat, flabby, aged too long, some old fruit trying to shine through – a pig with no bones in a glass – (Ken, 76 points)

Weingut Blees Ferber 2007 Riesling Spätlese (86 points) R
egion: Mosel, Germany; Varietals: Riesling; Retail: $14
Notes: Delicious as soon as it hits the tongue … again more peaches and nectarines (a bit mangoish!!!) … sweet and easy like a Fraulein … (Arnaud, 93 points)
Notes: Nose: Smells like it’s snowing. Palate: clean, pear sorbet, lingering sweetness, green olives, orange zest, fennel. (Ken, 93 points) Notes: Pale yellow with some funky aromas of hay mixed in with the apples. Flavors are much more pleasant. Peach and apricot pie with some citrus notes. Pleasant finish. (Jens, 86 points)
Notes: A bit of composted trash, ouch. Lacking acidity to carry the residual sugar. Tumbling finish. (Jerred, 75 points)

GOOD (80-84 points)
Weinmann & Würtz 2007 Riesling
(83 points)
Region: Rheinhessen, Germany; Varietals: Riesling; Retail: $18.50
Notes: Wake up, wake up … Did someone say tart? Dry and dry … (Arnaud, 86 points)
Notes: Nose: wet river stones, pine needles, cantaloupe, orange zest, body odor. Palate: tart, piercing acidity, razor sharp, young stone fruit flavors, celery/sour (Ken, 71 points)

August 2009 – Tasting Panel Members Jens Strecker, Theresa Shlechta, Ken O’Hara, Matt Gubitosa, Giuseppe Caraturro, Arnaud Guerin, Jerred Wolff

The following wines are in-stock or can be ordered at the following local wine shops:
Portalis Wine Shop + Wine Bar
phone: 206-783-2007


August 20, 2009 at 11:05 pm Leave a comment