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Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Robin Garr » Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:43 am

This is the one we wait for! Every few years it has to come around again, as we sample the great wines of Germany. Feel free to look into the oddities, the Pinot Noirs and Müller-Thurgau's and such, but the name of Germany's game has to be Riesling. We'll prowl the valleys of the Rhine and Mosel and look for greatness as well as everyday utility. Is Germany still a destination for fine QPR? Maybe not so much as in decades past, but we'll find it if it's there. Bring your German wines!
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by David M. Bueker » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:49 pm

Forgetful me did not put this back here at first...

2001 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer (10/1/2017)
Continuing to check in on 2001 German Rieslings, and they are doing just fine, with lots of time to spare. This still has plenty of fruit, and the acids remain bright and punchy. It's as if a squirt of lime juice hits the wine in the mid-palate. Then once that passes there is the all-familiar Wurzgarten spice. Classic and delicious.

I decided it was time to explore the 2001 vintage in some depth. Recent bottles of 2001 Donnhoff Brucke Spatlese and Catoir Burgergarten Spatlese told me that good things were happening. Over the weekend I had 4 solid 2001s, including the Christoffel above. If you have a decent stash it is time to tuck into some.
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Rahsaan » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:30 am

David M. Bueker wrote:I decided it was time to explore the 2001 vintage in some depth...


Always jealous of you and all your 2001s. Great wines to have around!
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:57 pm

Well, I am game. Plenty of vintages in the cellar!
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by David M. Bueker » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:24 pm

2002 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer (9/30/2017)
Sugar dusted Asian pear was the first thing that came to mind, and it stuck through the entire bottle. This has always been an interesting, somewhat different Prum wine, as it does not conform to the apple and lemon curd notes typical of Wehlener Sonnenuhr. It remains quite youthful, and also very elegant, showing classical Auslese weight, and minimal botrytis. No rush here, but it's a very fine drink.
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Tim York » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:55 am

This thread will have served me well if it pushes me at last to order a mixed dozen+ from Germany. Looking at web sellers' sites, the main vintages on sale are 2015 and 2016. I know that the former is a rich vintage and if the latter broadly follows the French pattern it will also be excellent but with a touch more tension and focus. As I will be looking mainly for "trocken" the richness of 2015 will be less of a drawback for me than with sweeter styles. Also some 2014s and 2013s still available. Any comments about this from the experts? I am looking at Dönnhoff, Emrich Schönleber, Wittmann, von Winning and Leitz.

I might take one or two Kabinett if I can be confident that it is not downgraded Spätlese or Auslese. Would a 2016 Kabinett from von Schubert be likely to fit that specification?

The German sites also have good lines in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese wines, e.g. Tondonia. Lots of temptation :shock: :D
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Joe Moryl » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:34 am

Since the focus is Germany, has anyone heard about the 2017 harvests in Germany? I just was reading a blog from a couple currently cycling through the Mosel and Rhine. They were clearly not wine nuts, but seemed to know a bit about agriculture. On the Mosel, they commented on how unpleasant it must be to be harvesting in the rain, and commented that a lot of the grapes didn't seem to be very ripe. Photos were posted of bunches with lots of rot - it didn't look good at all.
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Rahsaan » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:56 am

Tim York wrote:I am looking at Dönnhoff, Emrich Schönleber, Wittmann, von Winning and Leitz.

I might take one or two Kabinett if I can be confident that it is not downgraded Spätlese or Auslese. Would a 2016 Kabinett from von Schubert be likely to fit that specification?


It might not be a kabinett in the 1970s or 1980s sense of the word. But it will be lighter than 2015 and von Schubert tends to be on the racy side anyway. So go for it!

For the other names you mention, all very good producers. Depends on preferences. Wittmann's wines are in the Rheinhessen and tend to have bigger bones than the other names you mention, but a very fine producer and far from a gloopy mess. von Winning is 'controversial' for using (large) new oak barrels for the top rieslings. I haven't tasted the wines, but opinions vary.
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Robin Garr » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:52 am

Joe Moryl wrote:Since the focus is Germany, has anyone heard about the 2017 harvests in Germany?

It would be good to get testimony from the experts, but this recent Bloomberg report on harvests around the world - clearly not just a feel-good "it's all great" report - makes Germany sound pretty good.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... y-quantity
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by David M. Bueker » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:52 pm

Tim-2016 is a good vintage for the dry/dry-ish wines in my opinion. 2015 is more a pradikat vintage, as the slightly higher acids need some buffering.

2017 harvests are going on now. Numerous vintners (Selbach, Leitz, Steinmetz, Gunderloch, etc.) have posted positive comments and photos. Leitz and Selbach posted BA/TBA grapes culled prior to the main harvests.
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Tim York » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:35 am

Rahsaan wrote:
Tim York wrote:I am looking at Dönnhoff, Emrich Schönleber, Wittmann, von Winning and Leitz.

I might take one or two Kabinett if I can be confident that it is not downgraded Spätlese or Auslese. Would a 2016 Kabinett from von Schubert be likely to fit that specification?


It might not be a kabinett in the 1970s or 1980s sense of the word. But it will be lighter than 2015 and von Schubert tends to be on the racy side anyway. So go for it!

For the other names you mention, all very good producers. Depends on preferences. Wittmann's wines are in the Rheinhessen and tend to have bigger bones than the other names you mention, but a very fine producer and far from a gloopy mess. von Winning is 'controversial' for using (large) new oak barrels for the top rieslings. I haven't tasted the wines, but opinions vary.


Thanks for that, Rahsaan. Riesling and new oak don't seem a marriage made in my idea of heaven so I think I'll give von Winning a miss. Any views on Christmann?

Thanks all, also, for the useful comments on Dönnhoff's latest dry offerings in Jenise's thread.

Does anyone have a view on 'Palais Rautenstrauch' Riesling Spätlese trocken 2012 from Karthäuserhof? I think that both the estate and the vintage are highly regarded but "trocken" in the MSR has rarely fully convinced me.
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Rahsaan » Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:18 pm

Tim York wrote:Any views on Christmann?


Certainly a top producer, but I haven't drunk enough to have solid views. (There are too many top producers of riesling in Germany, and not enough time/liver to follow them all!)
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:56 pm

2010 August Eser Oestricher Lenchen Riesling Spatlese Trocken, Rheingau.

My 2nd bottle, drunk over 3 days, good cork, 12.5% alc, $33 Cdn.

I have posted before on Eser so was keen to try this one again. Nice pale yellow color, not a lot of change from a previous note. Peach, mineral, hint of honey, melon and some apricot,
Initial entry thought..softened acidity, citrus, pineapple, some rs..more than the last tasting. Medium bodied, honeysuckle on day 2 with some peach and a hint of grapefruit. Very enjoyable, David B likes Spreitzer it seems but not much luck finding up here.
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by David M. Bueker » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:19 pm

Tim,

The von Winning wines are not at all marked by their elevate, except according to Lyle Fass.
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Fredrik L » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:02 am

The only Christmann I buy is the Idig Spätburgunder. I do not mind drinking their Rieslings - they have decent acidity for Pfalz wines - but the QPR is not good enough to buy. I do not think I have scored any better than 91, which for me is not enough for 40 euro plus wine.

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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Fredrik L » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:21 am

Joe Moryl wrote:Since the focus is Germany, has anyone heard about the 2017 harvests in Germany? I just was reading a blog from a couple currently cycling through the Mosel and Rhine. They were clearly not wine nuts, but seemed to know a bit about agriculture. On the Mosel, they commented on how unpleasant it must be to be harvesting in the rain, and commented that a lot of the grapes didn't seem to be very ripe. Photos were posted of bunches with lots of rot - it didn't look good at all.


From what I have read and heard yield is down but quality okay. Frost in April was the main reason, rain during harvest meant having to speed up the picking. It is also worth remembering that many non wine nuts do not really know what wine grapes - as opposed to table ones - should look like.

I will visit the Rheingau this weekend, I will get back with a few words.

Greetings from Sweden / Fredrik L
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Joe Moryl » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:06 am

I'm hoping things work out OK for the German growers this year - thanks for the reports. The photos posted by the bike travelers - harvesting in heavy rain gear and baskets of grapes with lots of rot - had me worried. It will be interesting to hear what Fredrik finds on his visit to the Rheingau.
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by David M. Bueker » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:28 am

Most of the biking routes are not going through the top vineyard sites.
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Joe Moryl » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:30 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Most of the biking routes are not going through the top vineyard sites.


Where do you get that impression? Last year I rode from Mainz up to Lorch, Uerzig to Trier and Trier to Saarburg, with great vineyards and producers all around. There are dedicated bike paths along the Rhine and Mosel through most of the wine towns, and if you really want more of a workout, go up the slopes and ride along some of the vineyard access roads higher up.

FWIW, the blog I'm referring to had photos from places like Enkirch, Cochem, Rudesheim, Boppard, etc., with the riders marveling at how steep some of the vineyards are.
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Jenise » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:30 pm

I don't have a very strong relationship with Germany wines. I own a number of Spatleses that I reach for when serving Thai food but otherwise reisling--from anywhere--isn't much a part of my life. Recent tastes of some dry WA versions have encouraged me to be more open-minded, though, and recently Australia's Pewsey Vale dry reisling finally did the job--gave me a reisling I could honestly say I loved the way I love Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gruner and a few others.

So I've bought a few GG's which I haven't opened yet, and yesterday while in Seattle to pick up wine at Full Pull I saw a pair of Donnhoff entry-level trockens and couldn't resist.

2016 Donnhoff Trocken Reisling
Lemon-lime followed by coconut and yellow plum. Good body with a mild spritz, terrific acidity and minerality.

A question: with time, will dry reislings develop the diesel component I love so much?
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Rahsaan » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:43 am

Jenise wrote:

A question: with time, will dry reislings develop the diesel component I love so much?


I've never noticed any tendency for diesel to be more present in off-dry as opposed to dry wines. My unscientific working knowledge was the diesel aromas were more common in wines that were less ripe and thinner in body: the kabinetts and the lower-end dry wines. But I haven't done a comprehensive study and actually haven't had very many wines with the diesel aroma.
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Robin Garr » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:13 am

Rahsaan wrote:
Jenise wrote:

A question: with time, will dry reislings develop the diesel component I love so much?


I've never noticed any tendency for diesel to be more present in off-dry as opposed to dry wines. My unscientific working knowledge was the diesel aromas were more common in wines that were less ripe and thinner in body: the kabinetts and the lower-end dry wines. But I haven't done a comprehensive study and actually haven't had very many wines with the diesel aroma.

I ran into an interesting short, technical article on that the other day. What do you think of it, Rahsaan? It looks solid, but it appears to be from a trade organization, so I'd be interested in an outside view.

http://drinkriesling.com/riesling-rules ... d-riesling
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by David M. Bueker » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:51 pm

There have been several analyses that link TDN (the petrol chemical compound in Riesling) that have pointed to excessive sun exposure. I would buy that more than "ripe grapes" mentioned in your link, since I find no increase in petrol in Auslese versus Kabinett.

I generally do not get diesel/petrol in Donnhoff wines.
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Re: Wine Focus for October 2017: Germany!

by Fredrik L » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:17 am

Back from Kiedrich. Many nice wines in the cellars, most harvested before the rains started. (It has been raining for quite some time, and it is still raining almost every day.) There will be wines of different Oechsles to buy, although I personally would not hope too much for an array of Eisweins. Fruit still on the vines does not look nice, obviously, and most will be discarded in due time. Did have some Federweisser and they tasted just as good as they normally do. (Or bad if you prefer real wine.)

Greetings from Sweden / Fredrik L
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