As the grand finale for Riesling week, we're delighted to share our wine maps of Germany and the Mosel. For more information about German Riesling, please peruse our Riesling Q&A blog. And, if you are interested to explore German Riesling IRL, feel free to check out some of the top German wine producers--all at Rieslingfeier this weekend--here!
Hello again Friends, It’s Riesling Week in NYC. And this week culminates with Rieslingfeier, the celebration of all things Riesling. Thank goodness it is finally here! The Grand Tasting and Gala Dinner are officially sold out, but we hear there's a waiting list and if you'd like to be added you can call the shop at (212) 477-1315. And even if you can't make the festivities, we have a sure-fire way to help you through the weekend: Almost every featured producer's wine, for sale with deep discounts. If you're new to Riesling and don't know what all the fuss is about, look no further: Josh wrote a nifty blog to get you acclimated and answer your questions. And if you're ready to dive into the deep end of the pool with the rest of the Riesling fanatics, I encourage to you choose a couple of the bottles below. Taste for yourself what all the fuss is about. This is also an opportunity to get a sneak peak at some of what will be tasted on Saturday or re-live your tasting experience from the comfort of your own home. If there is a wine you taste this weekend that is not on the list please reach out with your requests. I'll do my best to hunt them down for you. Cheers! Clara Alzinger Alzinger is located in the Wachau region of Austria, and the family owns parcels in the two greatest vineyards of the region (Steinertal and Loibenberg), where they grow mostly Riesling with exemplary skill. Alzinger, Riesling Durnsteiner Federspiel, 2017 Refreshing and brisk, this has plenty of waxy yellow and green apple and stony minerals to create a very balanced and polished wine. (Dry) Alzinger, Riesling Ried Loibenberg Smaragd, 2017 This is concentrated and richly textured, but with fresh acidity and enough fruit to remain very balanced. This is a good candidate for the cellar, but its exotic profile is delicious even when young. (Dry) Breuer Georg was at the forefront to produce a drier style of wine in his hometown of the Rheingau, Germany. Georg Breuer, Rheingau Riesling GB Charm, 2017 This fragrant wine reflects over a century of winemaking tradition. Peach and lemon mingle with stony minerality for a juicy and refreshing quaffer. (Slightly Off-Dry) Dönnhoff Arguably the best winemaker in the Nahe, Germany. Dönnhoff, Riesling Estate, 2017 This entry level Estate Riesling is pure elegance. It is graceful and lithe in texture, with racy acidity and ample stone fruit and citrus. (Slightly Off Dry) Dönnhoff, Riesling Trocken Kreuznacher Kahlenberg, 2017 Full of the smoky, stony quality we love in great German Rieslings. It has great finesse and great fruit — a mélange of ripe apple and tropical guava. (Very Dry) Eva Fricke The darling of the Rheingau in Germany. Eva didn't grow up in a vineyard, but has quickly risen through the ranks of amazing producers. Eva Fricke, Riesling Rheingau, 2017 Her entry level wine lacks for nothing. It is full of verve, with a lithe texture and bursting with yellow apples, nectarines and a dry finish. (Slightly Off-Dry, finishes Dry) Eva Fricke, Riesling Dry Kiedricher 2017 Stony, flinty smoke, kumquats and lemon peel. This wine is so ethereal a sip is like drinking air. (Dry) Eva Fricke, Riesling Off Dry Lorch Wisperwind Aromatic ripe tropical fruit on the nose. Silky texture, broad mid palate filled with pineapples and ripe peaches, the lifts-off with searing acid to produce and incredibly balanced, yet full bodied wine. (Off-Dry) Gunderloch 6 generations of winemaking and 300 years on the land give a leg up to this classic producer from the Rheinhessen, Germany. Gunderloch, Riesling Dry Estate 2015 Classic Riesling tertiary notes of petrol, damp earth and candied lemon peel pop out of the glass. A dense palate with plenty of acid and a smoky finish. (Dry) Gunderloch, Riesling Niersteiner, 2014 From the coolest part of the hillside, allowing delicate notes of unripe peach, orange zest and lemon juice to dance around like a Prima Ballerina. The 2014's have sold out everywhere else, get a bottle while you still can. (Dry) Gunderloch, Riesling Kabinett Jean-Baptiste, 2017 A crazy deal for such an amazingly juicy, vibrant wine. Pickle brine, just picked peaches explode with mouth-filling texture. This is happy wine. (Slightly Sweet) Gunderloch, Riesling GG Nackenheimer Rothenberg, 2016 Vineyards so rocky and steep the land is nearly impossible to work, which hasn't stopped the Gunderloch's from excelling at it for 130 years. Layers upon layers of peachy, chalky, lemony, flinty, waxy wine portray what makes this site and this family the best of the best. Drink now or cellar. (Dry) Jurtschitsch Vanguards of the natural wine scene in the Kamptal, an Austrian region known for elegant and aromatic wines. Jurtschitsch, Riesling Zobinger Heiligenstein Erste Lage, 2016 Showcasing the prettiness of the Kamptal from the get go: Barely ripe nectarines, heady orange blossom and minerality lingers on the finish for as long as you can wait to have the next sip. (Dry) Hirtzberger Franz Hirtzberger hails from the Wachau in Austria and is as meticulous in the vineyards as the cellar. He doesn't control the environment around him as much as coax its potential into being. Weingut Franz Hirtzberger, Riesling Federspiel “Steinerterrassen”, 2016 Floral aromas abound on the nose, a bright lemon zing and a mid palate peachiness with a slightly lighter bodied than the rest of the line up. The best dry riesling I have found for the money. (Dry) Weingut Franz Hirtzberger, Riesling Smaragd “Setzberg”, 2016 The highest altitude vineyard holding giving it the brightest acidity with true potential for very long aging. The nose is floral with hints of lemon and unripe peaches. The minerality and spice abound with slight petrol and the finish is long. This will go great with food now, but really sing with a couple years of bottle age. (Dry) Weingut Franz Hirtzberger, Riesling Smaragd “Hochrain”, 2016 I was lucky enough to drink a 2006 recently. All I can say is BUY THIS BOTTLE and WAIT. The 2006 nose was spicy, earthy, truffle-y, orangey with honey and butter scotch exploding like pop rocks on my tongue. The 2016 is already so delicious and zippy, but poised to show the same evolution as its 2006 counterpart. A dry magical riesling worth waiting for. (Dry) Weingut Franz Hirtzberger, Riesling "Singerriedel" Smaragd, 2016 Singerriedel vineyard, one of the best in the Wachau, rises steeply right behind Weingut Hirtzberger. Very special attention is given to the site, and the family has been rebuilding the stone terraces for 20 years. The reason for their great efforts is the extreme minerality of the soil, comprising gneiss, mica, schist and other primary rocks. This unique terroir provides us with the foundation for our greatest Riesling Smaragd. The Austrian equivalent to Trimbachs's Alsace masterpiece Clos Ste. Hune. (Dry) Egon Müller Considered by many to be the greatest producer of Riesling from anywhere. Although his home base is in the Mosel, Germany, he making wine to express terroir around the world. Chateau Bela (Egon Müller), Riesling, 2016 From Slovakia, this is another one of Müller's farflung Riesling endeavors, and easily his best value wines. It is bone-dry, and has soaring acidity. We love it! (Dry) Kanta (Egon Müller), Riesling Adelaide Hills, 2014 Concentrated and intense in texture, this has a bit of the oiliness commonly found in Australian Rieslings, but well-integrated acidity and bright, tropical fruit to round things out. (Dry) Egon Müller, Riesling Spätlese Scharzhofberger, 2016 (super limited) "Scents of white peach, white currant, lime and grapefruit lead to a lusciously fruited palate strongly citric in its bright juiciness but with less naked sense of electric acidity than his other wines. There is even a hint of creaminess to the texture. A mingling of ripe honeydew melon with alluring, honeysuckle-like inner-mouth perfume further enhances the sense of advanced phenolic evolution.... To cite deftly integrated acids and residual sugar doesnt begin to do justice to what is displayed here. And yet the finish, as long-lasting as it is, comes off as restrained and tucked in at the edges, no doubt pointing to a wine very much in need of bottle age to show its true potential." David Schildknecht, Vinous (Medium Sweet) Nikolaihof Thought to be the oldest winery in Austria, with the first documents of wine production dating back to 470 A.D. This Wachau estate was also one of the first Biodynamic farms in Austria. Nikolaihof, Riesling Vom Stein Federspiel, 2017 “This is just excellent wine, Nikolaihof as we love them to be; lively, sorrel-y, ped-pod and chervil; just on the right side of funky, full of soul and energy. But it’s a reflective sort of energy, suggestive of reverie even as it chugs and puffs.” Terry Theise, Importer & Author (Dry) Selbach-Oster Possibly my favorite Mosel estate. Johannes Selbach is renowned for his ability to take a snap shot of a vineyard at one place in time with every bottling he makes. Selbach-Oster, Riesling Kabinett Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, 2017 “More middle, more umami, the same sense of deep-shade, a weird cool heat. Sure that’s crazy but this wine is massive yet inferential, not so much deep as subterranean.” Terry Theise (Off-Dry) Selbach-Oster, Riesling Spätlese Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, 2017 Slate, lime, apple, butter-vanilla, rich, almost chewy earthiness, great depth and very full-bodied. (Off-Dry to Medium Sweet) Selbach-Oster, Riesling Auslese Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, 2017 Auslese or "Special Harvest", are grapes from even riper, select bunches of berries, sometimes infected with Botrytis (Noble Rot). Tropical notes of pineapple and mango with hints of marmalade are layered in with the rest of the slate, cream and earth, very full-bodied. (Sweet) Selbach-Oster, Riesling Beerenauslese Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, 2017 (375ml) Beerenauslese or "special harvested berries", individual berries picked at optimum ripeness, usually infected by Botrytis. Rich full-bodied, all of the tasting notes above with a magnifying glass on each aspect. This is a flavor generator and can age forever. (Very Sweet) Selbach-Oster, Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, 2017 (375ml) Trockenbeerenauslese or "dried special harvest berries" are only picked when infected with botrytis. This is one of the most decadent, intense, complex, longest lived, wines in the world. A whirlpool of marmalade, saffron, lemon, honey, butterscotch, cream, slate, salt, earth, mushroom, and a never ending finish. (Lusciously Sweet) Want to understand that idea of "terroir-transparence"? Try your own comparative tasting with friends. Taste through all 5 prädikat levels from a single producer and a single vineyard in a single vintage. Spreitzer A beautiful and ancient, family-run, sustainably-farmed estate in the Rheingau, Germany. Weingut Spreitzer, Rheingau Riesling 101, 2017 Aromatic white flowers with a titillating blend of tropical fruit and citrus. A perfect pairing to spicy asian food. (Medium Sweet) Von Winning This family estate in the Pfalz in Germany produces wines of great clarity and polish. High-density planting and organic and biodynamic farming combine with historical traditions beautifully. Von Winning, Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten Riesling 1er Lage Trocken, 2017 An incredibly chewy Riesling, thanks to extended lees aging. This is a minerality bomb, with just a hint of lime leaf and salt. A long, lingering dry finish. (Dry) Von Winning, Ruppertsberger Reiterpfad Riesling 1er Lage Trocken, 2017 More silky in texture than the Paradiesgarten, this has ample and limpid clarity, with a bright acidity and more of that incredible minerality. (Dry) Von Winning, Kalkofen, GG, 2016 Grown on chalky soils, there is a sensation on the palate almost like a still Champagne. Pure mineral elegance with just a slight nuance of citrus and green apple skin. (Dry)
This week Riesling is the talk of the town. In conjunction with Rieslingfeier this weekend, we at Flatiron are embracing the opportunity to talk about one of the world's favorite wines: German Riesling. Not everyone has been able to take a deep dive on Riesling, so our first post will give you the basics. Keep watching our site this week for a few more posts about Riesling. And, if you aren't already, sign up for our newsletter so as not to miss out on the Rieslings we're featuring at a deep discount. Welcome to Riesling 101! What is Riesling? Riesling is a noble white grape that makes aromatic white wines. Riesling grapes make a huge range of still, white wines ranging from bone-dry to unctuously sweet. Riesling is famously good at giving a taste of the terroir in which it is grown. So, for example, Riesling grown in France’s Alsace region will taste very different from Riesling grown in Germany. Where does Riesling grow? Riesling probably originated in Germany many centuries ago, but is grown today in much of the wine producing world, including: Germany, Austria, France, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada. What’s special about German Riesling? No country focuses on Riesling like Germany. Top producers, top regions and top vineyards are all devoted to the grape. There are German Rieslings for everyone from the first-time wine drinker to the geekiest wine geek. Is German Riesling Sweet? Some German Rieslings are sweet, some are bone dry, and most fall somewhere in between. How can I tell if a German Riesling is sweet or dry? German labels can be a little confusing, but for a quick way to get a sense of whether a German Riesling is dry or sweet, just check out the alcohol level: the higher the alcohol, the drier the wines; the lower the alcohol, the sweeter. So, if a wine’s alcohol is above, say, 12.5% or 13%, it’s dry. If it’s under about 11%, it will have at least a touch of sweetness. Now, if it’s in the middle, it can be tough to tell just how sweet a wine is. It will really help to know just a few German words to look out for, starting with Trocken, which is German for dry. Obviously, if you see Trocken on a Riesling label, the wine is dry. Likewise, any wine that says Grosses Gewachs is dry. There are also words that mean a wine is at least a tiny bit sweet, like Feinherb. Other words, like Spatlese and Auslese, usually mean that a wine is sweet--unless the label also says Trocken or Grosses Gewachs -- in which case it’s dry. Why are alcohol and sugar levels inversely related? Because you make alcohol in wine by letting yeasts convert sugar into alcohol and CO2. The more sugar the yeasts eat, the more alcohol they produce and the less sugar is left for the drinker. What does German Riesling smell and taste like? Many different things! Depending on where the German Riesling comes from and how ripe the grapes got, Riesling wines can have aromas and flavors ranging from (on the less ripe end) lime and other citrus, through apple-y flavors, all the way to stone fruit and even tropical aromas (at the riper end). Germany’s best rieslings grow on very stony sites and are famous for also having intense mineral notes. As Riesling ages, it develops complex flavors including a signature “petrol” note. Why are German Rieslings so diverse? The world’s greatest grapes taste different depending on where they’re grown. Factors like the kind of soils the vines grow in, the altitude, climate and exposition all make the final product taste a little different. That’s why Pinot Noir tastes very different when it’s grown in California than in Burgundy’s Vosne Romanee. The name for the factors that contribute to these unique tastes is “terroir.” No grape does a better job than Riesling of tasting like the particular terroir in which it was grown. Wine geeks call grapes that do this “terroir-transparent.” Riesling is very terroir-transparent. German Riesling is very diverse for two reasons. First, because German Riesling grows in some very diverse terroirs, and because Riesling is so terroir-transparent, wines from different regions will taste distinct. Second, because German Riesling is made in many different styles and ripeness levels, you can find German Rieslings of many different sweetness levels. Is German Riesling expensive? Not for what you get! In fact, German Rieslings offer some of the best values in the world of wine. It’s true some German Rieslings are super expensive. But they’re rare, even though back in the day, German Rieslings were as expensive and sought-after as the very best Burgundies. That’s just not the case anymore. The wines are out of fashion, which means they offer great values. You can find bottles under $40 dollars that offer the kind of complexity, intellectual excitement and straight-up deliciousness that would cost way more than three times that if you were buying Burgundy. But look out: fashions change... and this one is changing fast! German wines are more and more talked about among wine geeks and tastemakers in the restaurant and culinary worlds. Already, top producers that we used to be able to stock year-round are now entirely pre-sold. Prices are creeping up. It’s a great time to buy German Riesling, but the value window may close soon. Can I drink German Riesling with Food? Absolutely! It’s one of the best wines for food. No wine is better suited to a wide variety of hard-to-pair foods, from traditional German pork products, to complex Asian dishes and the modern haut cuisines blending of the two with novel techniques. German wines elevate the dinner as they enrapture the diner. Dry examples are great substitutes for Sancerre or other crisp, dry whites. A fine glass of Trocken Riesling can enliven any simple fish dish. But Riesling’s real magical culinary powers come out when you look at hard-to-pair foods, especially spicy ones like Thai or Chinese. The spice and sugar in those foods can make red wines taste austere or metallic, and dry white wines sour or just washed out. Rieslings with a bit of sugar will stand up to the sweetness and even temper the heat. The mineral cut and bracing acidity are like a squeeze of lime on southeast asian food, bringing out details and making you want more all the time. You need to try it to believe it! Do vintages in Germany matter? Yes, but with a run of great vintages from 2015-2018, there’s all kinds of great stuff to chose from. Give it to me straight: Why should I care about German Riesling? Incredible values. Delicious wines with a unique and ancient history. Terroir-transparent wines expressing varied and unique sites An incredible string of vintages from 2015, 2016, 2017 and, now, 2018 One of the most perfect food wines imaginable; wines that pair with everything from classic French food to spicy Asian cuisines. Is German Riesling complicated to understand? We’re going to make it simple for you! A deep dive into the intricacies of German wine can be complicated, but the basics aren’t that hard to wrap your head around. Over the next few blog posts we’ll show you how. Keys to understanding German Riesling: Regions. Germany is a country of wine regions. France has Bordeaux, Burgundy etc., and Germany has: The Mosel, Nahe, Pfalz and Rhenheissen (and many more!) Sweetness/Ripeness. Unlike France or Italy (or most wine countries) German wines from a single vineyard can run the gamut from bone-dry to unctuously sweet. German wine laws have categories (e.g. Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese) to help you understand what’s in a bottle. Producers. Germany has generations-old wineries (and winemakers) preserving ancient traditions. But it has also enjoyed an explosion of interest among super-talented young winemakers who are rediscovering old traditions and terroirs, as well as breaking new ground in response to changing circumstances (including global warming).
In his January 7, 2019 blog post, Jeff reviewed the concept of the Reasonable Cellar and his approach to buying and cellaring wine. Today he offers some more specific suggestions as to how to apply this strategy. While shopping for your Reasonable Cellar does not involve the painful process of chasing scarce allocations, it does allow for the fun of figuring out what exactly makes good, cellar-worthy values. It’s something that changes all the time, as vintages come and go, new producers emerge on the scene, and old producers retire, lose their holdings, change their style, or whatever. Here are a few ideas for 2019. Loire If I had to pick one single place on Earth to source wines for the Reasonable Cellar in 2019, it would be the Loire. This, of course, has not been a secret for long, as for many years people have been touting the exceptional values — both red and white — offered here from Muscadet all the way to Sancerre. But two things are a little different in 2019. Just a few years ago, the wines in the marketplace came from 2011, 2012 and 2013, all weak vintages. Now, virtually everything available comes from 2014, 2015, 2016 or 2017 — a string of four very strong vintages! You almost can’t go wrong, as long as you stick to artisanal producers and stay away from the industrial brands. The other important thing to realize in 2019 is that the secret is finally starting to get out. We have now seen two Loire producers reach off-the-charts cult-popularity: Clos Rougeard and Vatan. Additionally, we have seen a small handful of Chenin Blanc producers earning unicorn-like reverence. It is inevitable that other producers will soon follow. It’s impossible to predict which — we recommend just buying wines and producers you like for as long as you can afford them. And watch this space for a thorough guide to Loire Valley wines later this year. Beaujolais Beaujolais is another region that seems to perennially provide value. Yes, the region now has superstars, and wines that are allocated far too strictly — Metras and Foillard, for example — but even those wines are rarely above $50 and we were able to offer both wines in our newsletter in 2018 (we’ll see how much we can land in 2019!). Definitely keep buying your favorites, as the prices have barely budged over the years — producers like Clos de Roilette, Dutraive and Bouland. But, be careful not to miss out on new producers, as this is neighborhood where vineyard land remains affordable enough that talented and ambitious young folk can actually get their hands on excellent terroirs. Sunier and Mee Godard both come to mind. Beaujolais is great in the Reasonable Cellar not just because it is inexpensive but also because it ages quickly — most hit their peak at age five or so — and offers a really interesting range of terroirs, all with their own nuances, and all very visible because the wines are all produced with the same grape. Check out our guide to the Crus of Beaujolais here — hopefully we’ll get to updating that this year. Piedmont This is a tough one, because Piedmont seems to be affected more by global warming than most of our other favorite regions, and yet, well, it really is one of our favorite regions and we can’t leave it off a list like this! 2015, 2017 and 2018 were probably all too warm to produce much in the way of classical Nebbiolo, sadly, although of course there will still be plenty of tasty wine. 2014 was also a poor vintage in Barolo because of rain. So what to do? Two things. One is obvious: focus on the two monumentally great vintages that are on the market, 2013 and 2016. Most 2013s have come and gone, and unfortunately most of what’s left is outside of the Reasonable Cellar budget. But keep your eyes peeled, because we are going to do our best to uncover a few opportunities in the next few months. As for 2016, the trick is to look at non-Barolos. Barbera, Freisa, and Nebbiolo d’Alba from many great producers are all coming online now. We will start to see Barbarescos this year. Do not miss them! The other opportunity is in the “off” vintage of 2014. People don’t realize yet that, despite the problems in Barolo, it is in fact pretty awesome in Barbaresco. We have at least two 2014 Barbaresco opportunities in stock now at Reasonable Cellar pricing and we hope to uncover more this year. Bordeaux In Bordeaux, you finally have two great vintages after years of problems: 2015 and 2016. Find wines from small artisanal producers that don’t really change their prices from vintage to vintage like is true for the big guys that deal with negociants. If you want to stick to Grand Cru Classees, then sorry, those vintages are going to be very expensive. But vintages like 2014 and 2011 offer good value, and we continue to find opportunities in back vintages like 2008, 2006 and 2004. Meanwhile, there is a whole world of value from not-so-famous Right Bank terroirs like Fronsac and the Castillon. Do not make the mistake of lumping all of Bordeaux all in the “lux” category and missing out on the amazing values from those regions! California Despite global warming and terrible forest fires, California has pulled off a series of truly fantastic vintages. At the same time, the wines that are emblematic of “New California” have become so mainstream that I am probably considered silly by many observers just for using the term. Taken together, we are truly in a new Golden Era for California, not seen since the 1970s. The problem is prices, of course, but even here we are seeing break-throughs, as it is increasingly being recognized that artisans need to produce the lighter, drinkable wines that are so easy to find in Europe at the $20 price point. But this is still a challenging area for folks who want to keep a Reasonable Cellar. Look for opportunities in less heralded grapes like Zinfandel or Valdiguié. Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Syrah are sadly really tough, though here and there we’re able to find something. Our big advice for 2019? Go for Chardonnay. Californians are increasingly producing this grape in a more restrained, reductive--even Chabli-like--style that holds well in a cellar, and the pricing is for the most part still reasonable. And I have still never come across a pre-moxed Californian Chardonnay! Tuscany Like Beaujolais, Tuscany — and for now I am focusing mostly on Chianti — is a region that seems to perennially earn a spot on this list. No matter how good the wines they produce,, no matter how great the vintages, the price of Chianti does not seem to increase that much. My absolute favorite purchase in 2018 was the regular Classico from Castell’in Villa. Under $30, and I am very confident that it will give me enormous pleasure over the next 15 years. I cellared a full case; I wish I had cellared two or even three. That’s gone now, but folks are releasing Chiantis from 2015 and 2016 right now, and they are also great vintages. The wines may not quite have the easy drinkability of Beaujolais, but on average they hold better in the cellar. And they are just so…satisfying! Stock up while this opportunity lasts, though honestly the price has stayed so stable for so long that it’s hard to imagine the opportunity expiring any time soon. Campania It’s no fun just having all the usual obvious regions on this list every time I put it out, so every time I make sure to add something new. I can’t believe I haven’t talked more about Campania in the past. I drink it at home all the time. I have cases and cases of Aglianico in my Reasonable Cellar, plus a bit of Fiano. The signature wine of the region — Mastroberardino’s Taurasi — is still only about $50 on release, and there are plenty of equally great wines from lesser DOC’s that cost less. This is an area — like Saumur in the Loire or Sicily’s Mount Etna — where I sense something really special is happening and it frankly reminds me of where the Northern Rhone was five or ten years ago. Pay attention! Northwest Spain Galicia, like a few other regions on this list — the Loire mostly, but also California and Campania — succeeds at providing obvious candidates for the Reasonable Cellar that are both red and white. They are blessed with wonderful grape varieties like Mencia, Albarino, Treixadura and Godello. They have some pretty crazy terroir, with awfully steep vineyards, and a wide variety of minerals in the soils underneath. They have vines going back 60-70 years and even further. They have, like Saumur, a lot of newish producers who understand the specialness of all these assets, and are trying to show them off to the world with traditional, non-manipulative methods. Like Campania, I think this is a region that is sneaking up on us and could really break out in the next year or two. Rieslings The best Rieslings from Germany, Austria and Alsace are already beyond the Reasonable Cellar budget. But it is still shocking how much great Riesling is produced in these regions that costs less than $40, or even less than $25. We sold Kabinetts from J. J. Prum for less than $40 in 2018, and these were so obviously great wines that will improve for five years or more in the cellar. There are so many other producers out there like that. Maybe the GGs from Donnhoff are now a little out of reach, but he has a wide range of incredibly delicious wines that are easily obtainable for under $35. This is very different from the situation in, say, Burgundy, where a Donnhoff analogy — Mugnier? — has become totally impossible for regular wine buyers. Germany, in particular, has had a very good string of vintages. You can’t go wrong with 2015s, 2016s or 2017s. I haven’t tasted yet, but I understand the 2018s are also likely to be very good. Prices are going up, and this does not seem to be a situation like Chianti where you can always count on the prices staying moderate. A lot of good wines have already gone north of $50 and we think this trend will continue, partly because the Germans themselves recognize how special their wines are and they buy most of then locally. Until they do, you should keep stocking up. Edges of Burgundy Burgundy epitomizes all that is good and all that is bad in the wine world. The bad? You can’t find or afford wines from the most famous producers. Sorry, that game ended over ten years ago when the 2005s were released. Top Burgundy officially became unReasonable. So why is Burgundy on this list? Because of the good. Because of the Edges. The Edges of Burgundy are all the villages of Burgundy that produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that would be considered world-class were they in any part of the world other than Burgundy, but that happen to be in Burgundy and therefore are completely over-shadowed by villages like Vosne Romanee and Puligny Montrachet. I’m talking about places like St. Aubin, Fixin and Mercurey. There are plenty more — I wrote a whole series of blog posts about them! But I bring this up now because finally Burgundy has a string of really good vintages including one — 2017 — that actually produced a good quantity of high quality wine in both red and white. Buy plenty of Chablis, Rully, and Auxey Duresses in 2019, and you won’t regret it. We will kick off your Reasonable Cellar buying tomorrow with a special offering of 30+ wines that all make great candidates. Make sure you are signed up to our newsletter.