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Salil

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WTN: Grüner and Riesling fireworks!

by Salil » Tue May 12, 2009 9:38 pm

A fun casual dinner at Apiary in East Village with the usual crew of Austrian-German geeks themed - unsurprisingly - around German/Austrian Gruners and Rieslings (and a couple of exceptions). Great company once again, very good food even if the wine service at the restaurant was below-par, and a crazy lineup of wines that may have turned me into a Gruner convert!
I'm quickly turning more and more into an Austrian addict after seeing what some of these wines offer... the Hirtzberger Singerriedel was a truly mindblowing wine, and even a day later I'm still grasping for words to describe the Kellerberg Gruner adequately. Just an amazing, amazing fireworks display in a glass.

Wines
  • 1992 Smith Madrone Riesling Estate Bottled - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Served blind; light gold colour with strong honeyed and caramel elements on the nose over petrol, apricot and white fruits. Glossy texture in the mouth with honey, smoke and sweet-sour lemon candy notes on the back end. Lots of acidity here that initially felt a bit disjointed and awkward, but seemed to integrate nicely with time. (89 pts.)
  • 1967 Weingut Gustav Geffert Niersteiner Auflangen Riesling feine Auslese - Germany, Rheinhessen
    Phenomenal once again. Crazy nose that smells as if this came partly from grapes and partly from iron ore with aromas of iron filings, honey, tropical fruits, mandarin orange and some forestal leafy elements. Rich and silky in the mouth with orange, citrus, baked apple and pineapple over smoky and honeyed flavours and bright acidity underneath. Tremendously long finish. Stunning. (97 pts.)
  • 2004 Weingut Keller Dalsheimer Hubacker Riesling Großes Gewächs Trocken - Germany, Rheinhessen
    Incredibly pure and refreshing with a nose of flowers, rock dust and white fruits leading into flavours of grapefruit, minerals, cucumber and faint herbal elements in the mouth. Tremendous precision and clarity here with plenty of acidity and a mouthwatering, almost cooling finish that makes it seem so easy to drink. (94 pts.)
  • 2006 Alzinger Riesling Smaragd Loibner Loibenberg - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
    Phenomenal exotic aromatics with all sorts of spices, flowers and herbs over minerals and white fruits. Tremendous power and richness on the palate with orange, peach and white fruited flavours infused with rocks and herbs and good acidity beneath keeping it in perfect balance. (94 pts.)
  • 2001 Prager Riesling Smaragd Wachstum Bodenstein - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
    Unbelievable wine that tastes and feels as if it was chiselled from rocks. Barely any fruit at first here, just a ton of crushed rocks, cool marble and talc across the nose and palate with plenty of acidity. The fruit's tightly coiled here and doesn't offer right now much even with some extended air, but I can only imagine what a beauty this will be with time. (93 pts.)
  • 2001 Franz Hirtzberger Riesling Smaragd Singerriedel - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
    Insane stuff, absolutely intoxicating to smell with wild musky floral notes, minerals, metal shavings and white peach and melon fruit on the nose. Just as awesome in the mouth with pears, peaches and mandarin orange flavours over a bed of minerals and spices and tremendous acidity giving it a sense of real energy and vibrancy. (96 pts.)
  • 1997 F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Smaragd 'M' - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
    A little muted compared to the Kellerberg (which was just an insane wine and would have overshadowed pretty much anything poured alongside); quiet aromatics with some white pepper, smoke, white fruits and green herbal notes on the nose. Spicy white fruits, beans, herbs and minerals on the palate with good acidity and a medium-long finish. Tasted the leftovers the next day (thanks Stephen!) and it seemed a lot more open and focused - seems to need a bit more time and patience. (93 pts.)
  • 1995 F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Dürnsteiner Kellerberg - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
    Pale golden yellow colour with an incredible explosive nose that soars from the glass with aromas of white fruits, beans, green herbs, smoke, honey and steel, unravelling even more with air to show elements of flowers, rocks and coffee - so much going on here that it's beyond description, and I could have happily kept smelling this through the evening if it didn't taste so great. Just insane on the palate with almost every flavour element you can possibly imagine in a wine; there's fruit, metal, spice, rock, herbal elements and crazy smoky/ashy notes that all combine seamlessly into a silky, glossy mouthfeel that retains laser focus and lift with a ton of acid and a very long finish. What a wine! (98 pts.)
  • 2001 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Nahe
    Gorgeous wine showing flavours of spices, rocks, honey and a spectrum of fruits ranging from red berries to green apples and pears. Incredibly gentle and elegant on the palate with a silky texture, bright acidity and an incredibly long finish. (94 pts.)
  • 1998 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Nahe
    Lovely flavours of white fruits, apples and lime flecked with minerals and touches of honey, but feels quite awkward and disjointed in the mouth with spiky acids and none of the elegance or balance that I normally find in Dönnhoff. Quite disappointing considering its reputation. (87 pts.)
  • 1998 Dönnhoff Schloßböckelheimer Kupfergrube Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Nahe
    Very disappointing, showing almost no fruit, strong esterous chemical aromas and a very unpleasant bitterness on the palate. A few of us thought this was a very off bottle. NR (flawed)
  • 1992 Zind-Humbrecht Tokay Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl - France, Alsace, Hunawihr, Alsace AOC
    Nowhere near the bottle I opened six months ago which was far more interesting and explosive in flavour. This shows earthy and coffee bean notes over white fruited flavours that pick up with air with a medium bodied, faintly creamy mouthfeel and a medium length finish. (88 pts.)
  • 1997 Franz Hirtzberger Grauburgunder Smaragd Pluris - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
    Very rich and slightly creamy with flavours of white fruits, truffles, toast and hazelnuts, moderate acidity and a round mouthfeel. Really interesting change from the other Austrians at the table. (91 pts.)
  • 2007 A.J. Adam Dhroner Hofberger Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
    I had high expectations on this, particularly as two people had exclaimed "The Adam is freaking insane!" before I had even taken a pour. Leesy, slightly malty nose packed with citrus and white fruited aromas, minerals and flowers. Firm and chewy in the mouth, almost feels solid with rich apple, peach and yellow plum flavours infused with herbs, flowers and smoky elements and veins of slate and rocky minerals that seem to run through every aspect of the wine. More acidity and precision here than I've found in many 07s, balancing the richness very well and finishing without sweetness. Tremendous. If it's any indication of just how good, I bought a bottle from Crush straight after (well, this morning). (95 pts.)
  • 2007 Schäfer-Fröhlich Bockenauer Felseneck Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Nahe
    From a bottle opened a week ago and vacuvined as an experiment - this is drinking really beautifully with gorgeous aromas of flowers, mint, smoke and tropical and white fruits. Quite sweet with bright pineapple, apple, peach and some red fruited flavours on the palate over salt and minerals, and still very precise with plenty of acidity and a sense of real energy and freshness in the mouth. (93 pts.)
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David M. Bueker

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Re: WTN: Grüner and Riesling fireworks!

by David M. Bueker » Tue May 12, 2009 9:58 pm

Umm...wow. I really need to take a couple of vacation days & go to NYC. We can revisit the '98 Kupfergrube some time (say May 22 or is that Gewurztraminer day?), to see if you just had an off bottle (which I think you did).
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Rahsaan

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Re: WTN: Grüner and Riesling fireworks!

by Rahsaan » Tue May 12, 2009 10:06 pm

Nice!

And great that you didn't even need any token red wines to have a complete night of wine enjoyment! Riesling and gruner truly have so much to give..
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Salil

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Re: WTN: Grüner and Riesling fireworks!

by Salil » Tue May 12, 2009 10:09 pm

Yeah, an off-bottle is quite likely. I did buy that bottle in a mixed bunch of 01/98 Rieslings from Flickinger and while some have been phenomenal (01 Leitz Schlossberg Spat and any of the 01 Christoffels in that case), a couple of others have shown some signs of some heat damage (with one 01 Catoir that was very advanced and nothing like the one you'd opened on your birthday).

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