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Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by David M. Bueker » Mon May 31, 2021 11:47 am

Riesling - Loved by its fans since 1435, hated by its detractors since 1435

There is a case to be made that Riesling produces the greatest white wine in the world. Yes, it has to fight with Chardonnay for that honor, but Riesling comes in those really cool, tall bottles, and a magnum of Riesling looks like a baseball bat.

Aromatic, light, full of refreshing acidity, Riesling can make outstanding dry wines, and outstanding sweet wines. Oh, wait, we're back here again. No, not all Riesling is sweet. No, there's no foolproof way to know if a given bottle of Riesling will be completely, bone dry, or instead show some level of sweetness. There are hints from terms on labels, but even those are not a guarantee. Wait!! Where are you going??? There's so much more to talk about!!

Sigh...

Yes, Riesling can be frustrating, but for those of us who love it there are a million variations to explore. German Riesling is riding a wave of popularity among its dedicated fans that has echoes of the enthusiasm that followed the great 2001 vintage. American and Canadian producers are making huge strides in the quality of North American Rieslings. Austria offers a slew of top-quality examples that are almost always completely dry (yes, I said it...dry...it's OK, you can come back now...I know it's scary...really, it's safe). Alsace is working through some of the most challenging effects of global climate change, yet still producing outstanding Rieslings, dry and sweet. Did I mention Australia?

So for the month of June, let's celebrate the Summer of Riesling 2021. It's just like Summer of Riesling 2020, except you can share a bottle with a friend and not have to worry about getting the straw around the edge of your mask.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by Richard L » Mon May 31, 2021 6:27 pm

Deleted.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by David M. Bueker » Mon May 31, 2021 6:50 pm

Depends on the wine Richard. That said, Austrian and especially Australian Rieslings tend to be very dry.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by David M. Bueker » Mon May 31, 2021 7:11 pm

2019 Georg Mosbacher Forster Ungeheuer Riesling Großes Gewächs - Germany, Pfalz (5/31/2021)
Full-bodied, almost (not quite) bone dry Riesling that has a top note of fresh fruit and flowers, and also a deep bass note that is a swirling pool of salt water. Be careful, or you will lose your footing and be sucked under. That's when the monster gets you.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by Tim York » Wed Jun 02, 2021 5:28 am

My first post of this thread does not add to the glory of Riesling. Germaine is not drinking wine at present after a big operation and I thought this an opportunity to try at last the first bottle without being assailed with the comment "too sweet". However I did recall a thread a couple of years ago in which David said that Kreydenweiss wines are bad agers. Add to that the low acidity 1997 vintage and I had ready a substitute bottle in a similar style but much younger.

1997 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Riesling Wiebelsberg La Dame - France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru (29/05/2021)
This bottle was spoiled by an aroma and taste of ash and grit which rapidly obscured what remained of a fragrant, round, low acid and slightly sweet Riesling. it's hard to know if this is a flaw in this bottle alone or whether they are all going this way. NR (flawed)
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This is the substitute bottle. The TN comes from nearly two years ago. This time I was ready for the sweetness, had more suitable pairings with creamy sauces (sandre et beurre blanc on the first night and blanquette de poulet on the second) and enjoyed it more. However I did not detect much evolution and let my older TN stand, together with its rant about lack of sweetness indicators.

2015 Dopff & Irion Riesling Schoenenbourg Château de Riquewihr - France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru (20/10/2019)
Once again a rant about absence of sweetness indication is called for. This renders it very difficult to make a good pairing. Medium/full bodied with rich white fruit, a lot of underlying gras, burnished sugar and moderate acidity lead to a subjectively quite sweet impression (Indice 3 on the Z-H scale, I would guess). I doubt if I would identify Riesling, if blind. Quite good if warned about the sweetness.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by David M. Bueker » Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:43 am

That's unfortunate, but sadly predictable with Kreydenweiss.

As for the Dopff & Irion, I do not have any recent experience with that producer, but the burnished sugar note sends my mind towards botrytis influence.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by win_fried » Sat Jun 05, 2021 6:23 am

In 1828 the Forster Kirchenstück was classified as best cru in the Palatinate. The increasing interest in German trocken riesling made the price skyrocket. Bürklin & Wolf charges 200€ per bottle (if you can get it). Von Buhl charges 109€. I subscribed the 2012 for 39€ in 2013. Summer of riesling encouraged me to open a bottle.

2012 Reichsrat von Buhl Forster Kirchestück Riesling Großes Gewächs

Crumbled cork, slightly hazy light golden color (the cork?).
Complex nose of lime, herbs and wet stones.
Creamy mouthfeel, mineral palate with citrus, white currant, herbs, a slight bitterness, very complex and elegant.
Very long finish.

Perfect with a buttery spring plaice with boiled potatoes and salad.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by Tim York » Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:16 am

Mouthwatering TN, Win_fried. Those GG prices from the Pfalz are getting quite scary. I rushed to the Lohenberg Gute Weine website and am pleased to see that a couple of Dönnhoff's GGs are ONLY about 50€ for the 2020 vintage.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by David M. Bueker » Sat Jun 05, 2021 9:52 am

Speaking of Dönnhoff

2014 Dönnhoff Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Nahe (6/3/2021)
Surprised and pleased at how open and giving this was. Finely tuned balance of sweetness and acidity, where neither stuck out at any point. Crisp peach and cherry fruit, excellent palate presence, and good sustain on the finish, made this a very complete Riesling. Delicious with charcuterie, and more than a little addictive just on its own. Drink now and for a long time from now.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by Robin Garr » Sat Jun 05, 2021 2:04 pm

This is a very basic Mosel Riesling, and it's on the lower end of the price range for acceptable Riesling, but I do think it punches well above its weight. Plus, I got to meet Ernie Loosen at the winery with a bunch of German forumites way back in 1998, this wine has kind of a special place in my heart.

Loosen Bros. 2019 "Dr. L" Mosel Riesling Qualitätswein ($13.99)

A bowl of delicious white fruit offers itself in the appealing scent of this excellent pale-straw "Dr. L" Mosel Riesling. Peach, apple, and honeydew melon scents invite a taste, which presents similar ripe and juicy fruit shaped by crisp acidity that holds its perceptible fresh-fruit sweetness in balance. The stony minerality that's typical of the Mosel becomes more perceptible and tart acidity takes over with lemon, lime, and tangerine zest in a very long finish. Light 8.5% alcohol, typical of the Mosel, makes it good with food and an appealing sipping wine. U.S. importer: Loosen Bros. USA Ltd., Salem, Oregon. (May 29, 2021)

FOOD MATCH: The back label proposes it as an ideal companion to mildly spicy stir-fry dishes and Indian curries, or as an aperitif. It went very well for us with a Northern Italian dish of spaghetti with butter and fresh sage, a hint of garlic and a touch of Parmigiano.

WHEN TO DRINK: It's a light and fresh wine designed for immediate enjoyment, but its balance, the character of the Riesling grape, and the sturdy metal screwcap hold possibility for some evolution in the cellar if you'd like to risk it with this relatively affordable wine.

VALUE:
It's a good value at my price and Wine-Searcher.com's $13 average U.S. retail. Look for bargains, as Wine-Searcher lists many vendors offering it under $10.

WEB LINK:
Here's a detailed fact sheet from the U.S. importer.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and find vendors for Loosen Bros. 2019 "Dr. L" Mosel Riesling on Wine-Searcher.com.

Follow this Wine-Searcher link to read about Germany's Mosel valley and find vendors and prices for dozens of other wines from the region.

For more about Dr. Loosen and other wines from this property, click this Wine-Searcher link.

Finally, click here for Wine-Searcher's broad overview of Riesling with links to many Riesling wines from around the world; and head over to this YouTube link for an interview (in English) with Dr. Loosen's Ernie Loosen.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by David M. Bueker » Sat Jun 05, 2021 2:26 pm

Dr. L has always been a well made wine. There’s something about the Loosen style that clashes with my palate.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by Robin Garr » Sat Jun 05, 2021 2:34 pm

Well, it was definitely sweet on the first taste. But it finishes just right, with acidity more than balancing the sugar, a really nice mix of fruit aromas/flavors finishing as citrus, a whiff of that Mosel stone, and a very long finish. That's an awful lot to like in a cheapish Riesling.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by David M. Bueker » Sat Jun 05, 2021 2:42 pm

Oh I get it. I have nothing bad to say on an objective basis. I just don’t care for the Loosen style. Totally subjective.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by Robin Garr » Sat Jun 05, 2021 3:05 pm

And that, of course, is perfectly fine. :)
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by David M. Bueker » Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:37 pm

  • 2010 Weingut Keller Kirchspiel Riesling Großes Gewächs - Germany, Rheinhessen (6/5/2021)
    This is in a very good place right now. Ripe peach and cherry compote fruit is layered on top of a crystalline mineral base. It’s bright and fresh, eminently enjoyable. All that, and I am thinking “is that all”? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really fine wine. What I don’t see is the qualitative gap between this and GGs from other top flight producers. I certainly see a stylistic difference, as this is one of the most fruit-forward GGs that I have tasted.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jun 07, 2021 12:27 am

Back after birding in N Alberta, should be a great month here.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by David M. Bueker » Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:34 am

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Back after birding in N Alberta, should be a great month here.


See anything interesting? Any life list birds?
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:44 am

Mourning Warbler...Chestnut-sided....Canada.....12 others.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by David M. Bueker » Tue Jun 08, 2021 2:19 pm

Nice!
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by John S » Tue Jun 08, 2021 4:21 pm

I'm always up for a riesling, here's a couple I had recently.


[list][*]2015 Dr. Loosen Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Großes Gewächs Alte Reben - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer (2021-05-30)
Interesting. This seemed a bit disjointed, with the fruit, minerality and acidity appearing a little out of phase, and the wine being a bit blurry, for lack of a better word. That said, there is good material here, and the old vines provide good concentration. It tasted like it had a fair bit of lees contact as well. Fruit was in the citrus and stonefruit range, nicely balanced on the dry - but not too dry - finish. Hopefully this will integrate more with time. (A-)

[*]2012 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Spätlese trocken * - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer (2021-05-23)
A beautiful, elegant wine with class. Mainly stonefruits and apples on show, with a bit of mango and pineapple on the medium bodied, well integrated, slightly creamy yet minerally palate. The balance and precision here are excellent. Loved this. (A-)
"Tastes are perhaps first and foremost distastes, provoked by the disgust and visceral intolerance ... of the taste of others". Pierre Bourdieu (1984, p. 56)
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by David M. Bueker » Tue Jun 08, 2021 5:22 pm

2015 as a vintage seems to be in an angry place right now, while 2012 is just coming into its own.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by Tim York » Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:07 am

There is a saying attributed to Milton, largely fallacious IMO, "every cloud has a silver lining". However it applied yesterday evening. Germaine is off alcohol temporarily after an operation. This gave an opportunity for me to open one of my small handful left of German prädikat Rieslings, otherwise virtually banned by her from the table on account of overt residual sugar. This reminded me how uniquely delicious this style of wine can be if the right acidity is there to balance that sugar.

1996 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer (09/06/2021)
This was a real beauty. Colour was the deepest gold which I can recall from a spätlese but it was brilliantly limpid and there was no trace of oxidation in the aromas. Nose was at first dominated by delicate hydrocarbon notes but later on was balanced by white fruit and spice. The palate was medium bodied at most with more intensity and depth and slightly more balanced towards sweetness than a bottle in 2012, judging by my then TN, but the rest of my description still applies namely "complex but beautifully focussed and integrated so that it was hard to describe individual flavour components; .....bracingly moreish acidity, gentle sweetness, subtle minerals, white fruit and flowers, silky texture and discreet backbone". Probably best on its own without food so that all its subtleties emerge but, nevertheless, a very good pairing for the slightly sweet and creamy shrimp sauce accompanying turbot. Excellent.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by Rahsaan » Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:04 am

Tim York wrote:b]1996 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Spätlese[/b]...This reminded me how uniquely delicious this style of wine can be if the right acidity is there to balance that sugar.


It is always nice to get reacquainted with something and renew your appreciation for a particular style of wine.

That said, Egon Müller Scharzhofberger (with 25 years of age!) should be delicious and is hardly the average off-dry German riesling!
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021

by David M. Bueker » Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:44 pm

It's even less average these days at $150/bottle!
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