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)
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)