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Jay Labrador

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WTN: Riesling Terroir and Pinot Surprises tasting from Vinexpo

by Jay Labrador » Sun May 28, 2006 1:09 pm

This seminar was sponsored by the VDP and conducted by Joel Payne - author of the Gault Millau German Wine Guide. The purpose of this seminar was to showcase the cutting edge of German Riesling and the potential of Pinot Noir. Only the top estates as determined by Mr. Payne were included in the tasting. The wines were generally in a dry style and most did not include the usual QmP designations. As explained to us, there is apparently a move away from that paradigm and towards one of vineyard classification like Erstes or Grosses Gewachs which seems quite Burgundian.

Weingut Josef Leitz Berg Rotland Riesling Alte Reben Rheingau 2005 - A cask sample. Strong mango nose. Some obvious sweetness although it was spoken of as a dry wine. Mango flavors also in the mouth. Quite full bodied. Reasonably long finish. Should be good with food.

Burgerspital zum Heiligen Geist Stein Hageman Riesling Grosses Gewachs Franken 2004 - Lychee nose, some roses as well. Approaching Gewurztraminer in the aromas. Lots of acidity with slight heat in the finish. Some wood notes as well. Very long finish.

Bassermann-Jordan Hohenmorgen Riesling Grosses Gewachs Pfalz 2004 - Spicy, apples, mouth watering acidity. That's all I wrote. I guess it didn't make much of an impression on me.

Okonomierat Rebholz Kastanienbusch Riesling Grosses Gewachs Pfalz 2004 - Lots of acid. Green apples. Some spritz. Again a short note so not too interesting for me.

Keller Hubacker Riesling Grosses Gewachs Rheinhessen 2004 - Quite full bodied with a smoky character. Very good sweet fruit but finishes dry. Good stuff.

Hans Lang Wisselbrunnen Riesling Erstes Gewachs Rheingau 2003 - Full bodied and rather sweet. Not showing its full potential. Needs time to open up.

Reinhold Haart Ohligsberg Riesling Spatlese Erste Lage MSR 2004 - Smoke on the nose. Good, ripe fruit. Light. Very elegant.

Josef Spreitzer Lenchen Riesling Spatlese "303" Rheingau 2004 - Not much on the nose. Some caramel in the finish although it is a bit watery. Didn't really like this. If I remember correctly the 303 refers to a wine which they made containing this many grams of sugar per liter.

St. Urbans-Hof Goldtropfchen Riesling Auslese MSR 2004 - A bit of sulfur on the nose. Intensely appley.

Robert Weil Grafenberg Riesling Auslese Rheingau 2004 - Full, beautifully sweet. Actually the grapes were harvested with beerenauslese levels of sugar. Excellent stuff now that can only get better.

Next up were 3 Pinot Noirs although the tasting by now was being done at a hurried space since we had to vacate the room for the the next seminar.

Meyer-Nakel Sonnenberg Spatburgunder Grosses Gewachs Ahr 2003 - Spicy and woody. Quite bitter. Not a good wine.

August Kesseler Hollenberg Spatburgunder Rheingau 2003 - Strawberryish. Good nose but again a bitter finish. I would pass on this.

Dr. Heger Schlossberg Spatburgunder Grosses Gewachs Baden 2003 - Coffee nose. Rather more full than the other Pinots. Very dry. Best Pinot of the lot but still a pass for me.

The only surprise of the Pinots was that they were included in the tasting. It shows that reds are definitely not Germany's strength. It will take a lot more global warming for Germany's Pinots to compete on the world stage.

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