Well, here goes from the peanut gallery...
First off, thanks so much to David for organizing this and being our guide through these wines. It was both highly educational and lots of fun. Just like David's tasting notes!
And thanks to Charles and Glenna for a wonderful job hosting us all.
I'm not sure my opinions were wholly in line with David's or with Bill's but for the most part, there was a lot of agreement.
2001 Donnhoff Sclossbockelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Spatlese Trocken (Nahe)
2002 Josef Leitz Rudesheimer Berg Rottland Riesling Spatlese Trocken (Rheingau)
I agree with David that the Leitz was not only richer in its bass notes, but seemed to have more drive and more character than the Donnhoff, which also had a bit of an austere finish to it. And I concur with Bill's sentiment that the Donnhoff seemed shy by comparison, with its soft bouquet of lemon curd, chalk and minerals and a soft peach and mineral flavor profile. The bouquet on the Leitz was somewhat unique, like a fresh herb garden and white pepper, but the body and richness of the fruit in the mouth carried the day. Still, neither of these were in my top wines of the night.
2001 Meulenhof Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spatlese (Mosel)
2001 Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese (Mosel)
I was about 15 minutes behind everyone else most of the night (not surprising to those who taste with me!), so when I put the Meulenhof to my nose, it was already much more open than I had heard others talking about. For me, it was a top 3 wine of the night, with a classic nose of petrol, lemon peel, pear and minerality. I thought it showed great presence on the entry and good solid body through the middle before dropping off to a clipped finish. I have high hopes that within a few short years, it will gain in length and show more completely. The Loosen was pleasant and creamy, with spun sugar, slate and soft red fruits in the mouth and a very clean finish. Very good potential, but I preferred the Meulenhof both now and for the future.
1997 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese (Mosel)
1997 J. J. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese (Mosel)
The Schaefer was another top 3 wine of the night for me. David nailed it with the stone monument comment. It sounds crazy, but my notes at various points mention pebbles, minerals, powdery minerals, quartz...you get the picture. Sometimes a wine shows generic minerality and sometimes it shows several facets of minerality. Such is this wine. It also has nice delineation in the mouth with apple and pear flavors, good richness, but a nice crispy finish. The Prum had a full nose of petrol, fennel, slate and sulfur and a palate of sulfur, minerals and pink fruit. I found only moderate acidity, but agree on the rich fruit and obvious upside.
2004 Gunderloch Nackenheimer Rothenberg Riesling Spatlese (Rheinhessen)
2004 Schloss Lieser Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese (Mosel)
Ok, so setting aside the reductive issues, I felt the Gunderloch showed solid density and intensity in the mouth. The finish was a bit too sweet at this point, but I say give this wine a chance. The Lieser was very clear-colored and I can see Bill's view on asparagus and tin, but for me it was more like a zingy skunky leafy and mineral character. Once you get past that, it has a nice mouthfeel and that clean zippy refreshing finish character David alluded to.
2005 von Hovel Oberemmeler Hutte Riesling Spatlese (Saar)
2005 Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese* (Mosel)
I liked the von Hovel's fresh vibrant nose of apple skin, chalk and stones, as well as its solid structure and density in the mouth. It managed to have a certain airiness and balance to it, as well. I found the finish long but not as fully focused as the rest of the wine. This latter characteristic was something it shared in common with the Kerpen. Otherwise, I felt the Kerpen showed "flavorful but soft" as Bill put it. David is right about the tropical fruit character of this wine, with pineapple and citrus, hay and white flowers on the nose. It is a bit chunky in the mouth right now, with a somewhat oily texture, but it has nice density and flavor in the midpalate before losing some focus on the finish. Both wines, with time, ought to be really nice.
The bottle left on the doorstep...
1997 Schloss Schonborn Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg Riesling Spatlese (Rheingau)
Thanks to Ken for making a gift of this. It was in my top 3 wines of the night. It really stood out with its nose of wax, botrytis and honey, its full-ish body and its lovely flavors. It left a bit of a sugary impression on the finish, but its mature profile (compared to the other '97's, especially) was very nice.
2000 Muller-Catoir Mussbacher Eselhaut Rieslaner Spatlese (Pfalz)
2000 Muller-Catoir Haardter Mandelring Scheurebe Spatlese (Pfalz)
I'll admit openly to liking the Rieslaner more than other folks. It had a nose of peaches and figs, with a very fleshy mouthfeel, good drive and a spicy fleshy finish. I didn't find the "dirty" profile or the dime bag aromas(unfortunately) that others did. David may be right that it was an "off" bottle that showed differently than his past experience, but I would not have concluded this just trying this for the first time. In comparison, I found the nose on the Scheurebe rather reserved, but there was good density and mango fruit there and better overall balance than in the Rieslaner. Interesting and a fitting finale.
Again, thanks to David and everyone else for a lovely evening!