Help with German wines

I am a big red guy, but have always liked white wines on a summer day or with a well paired disk. I have decided its time to experiment with some German whites. Can anyone give me some advice on what the hell all of these strange names are, and some good producers/wines to try that are not too difficult to find. I figure since the WA hasn't rated 2002 yet, it might be a good year to snatch up some relative bargains.
Thanks.

-Brettay
Original Post
Hi Brettay & Happy New Year!

Yes, I agree with you. The German names are difficult to understand. I once asked a colleague, who is German, but was raised on the East Coast, to explain a sentence to me that was written in German and his response was that he would have to go home and look it up in his dictionary! Smile

I can only tell you about the German wines that I have tried and that I like:

1. Rieslings - I drink a Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Riesling that comes in a beautiful midnight blue bottle. It is inexpensive - just under ten dollars. It is a Spatlese. The name of the importer is: Schmitt-Soehne, Inc., and this is located in Atlanta.

2. Several days ago, I had a Kabinett Riesling and I enjoyed it very much.

3. I have also tried a Gewurztraminer from Beringer. It was lovely. Very floral. Smile
Brettay,

Here is a list of the 2002 German wines that I can recommend. I put the list together back in July. Since then I have tried almost half the wines and my notes on many of them can be searched.

For a good primer on German wine labels, read this post at the above link by cbmac.

For a more in depth look at some of the minutia on a German wine label, check out this link. Although you will not need this info until you really get into German wine.

VM
I'd urge you to try some of these as they are an unbelievabe QPR. They are incredible food wines. Which leads to a good question regarding the German wines -- why are they so fairly priced and is this likely to change with the recent 2001 vintage garnering such high marks?
Below is a response I received earlier on the forum. My apologies for the length and for forgetting who supplied the info.


The Selbach-Oster Eisein should be priced at $150. Grab it if you can find it for under $70.

JOH. JOS. PRÜM Riesling Auslese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Graacher Himmelreich 2001
Score: 99 Price: $31
Country: Germany
Stunning and exotic, combining passion fruit, lemon custard and apricot flavors and a featherweight, vibrant structure. Very dense and mouthcoating, it picks up citrus and mineral accents on the finish. Drink now through 2020. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 300 cases made. (BS)


SELBACH-OSTER Riesling Eiswein Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Zeltinger Himmelreich 2001
Score: 98 Price: $68
Country: Germany
Great purity and focus are the hallmarks of this delicate, lively eiswein. It's like a pumped-up spätlese, with its peach, lime and slate flavors super intense and sharply etched into the racy structure. Long, mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2017. (BS)


H. DÖNNHOFF Riesling Spätlese Nahe Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle 2001
Score: 97 Highly Recommended
Price: $48
Country: Germany
A beautifully understated spätlese, with subtle power, density and length. The passion fruit, sweet corn, berry, fennel and mineral notes are layered and just keep coming at you. Superbly balanced, it seems effortless and ethereal. The finish just melts away. Best from 2005 through 2020. 250 cases made. (BS)


EMRICH-SCHÖNLEBER Riesling Auslese Nahe Monzinger Halenberg 2001
Score: 97 Highly Recommended
Price: $34
Country: Germany

Totally seductive aromas of passion fruit, while the flavors pick up sweet corn, grapefruit and pineapple and a piquant mineral note. Silky and rich, with a deceptively vibrant structure that's covered by sweetness now. This is young and needs time to harmonize, but already you can experience the complexity and class. Best from 2006 through 2025. 170 cases made. (BS)


MAX FERD. RICHTER Riesling Eiswein** Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Mülheimer Helenenkloster 2001
Score: 97 Price: $85
Country: Germany
A mélange of tropical fruits--passion fruit, tangerine, mango--highlight this delicate, intense Riesling. It has a vibrant structure and fine concentration, all wonderfully balanced and expressive. Terrific finish too. Drink now through 2015. 25 cases made. (BS)


DR. F. WEINS-PRÜM Riesling Auslese Gold Cap Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2001
Score: 97 Price: $93
Country: Germany
A super '01 auslese. Dense and mouthcoating, exuding spice, baked apple and mineral aromas and flavors woven into a succulent texture and fine structure. Very well-balanced and graceful, with just a hint of residual sweetness showing on the finish. Time will take care of that. Best from 2006 through 2020. 50 cases made. (BS)


H. DÖNNHOFF Riesling Auslese Nahe Oberhäuser Brücke 2001
Score: 96 Price: $48
Country: Germany
A laser beam of fruit and mineral. Vivid aromas and flavors of apricot, mandarin orange, vanilla and mineral are etched into an incisive structure. The texture is creamy, yet the overall impression is very intense and focused. Drink now through 2020. (BS)


GUNDERLOCH Riesling Auslese Gold Cap Rheinhessen Nackenheim Rothenberg 2001
Score: 96 Price: $52
Country: Germany
Intense and high-toned, with pineapple, honey, spice and earth highlighting the flavor spectrum. A little out of sorts today. Its lovely texture and finesse revealed itself with air, but this needs time. Great finish. Drink now through 2010. 150 cases made. (BS)


DR. LOOSEN Riesling Auslese Gold Cap Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Ürziger Würzgarten 2001
Score: 96 Price: $35
Country: Germany
This is lovely. Seamless and elegant, offering apricot, spice and mineral aromas and flavors on a lightweight, firm frame. Very expressive of the site. Drink now through 2015. (BS)


JOH. JOS. PRÜM Riesling Auslese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2001
Score: 96 Price: $36
Country: Germany
Piercing scent of slate, then the palate is awash in peach, pear and lime notes, intricately layered in the dense, yet clear texture. Beautifully defined by a firm, well-integrated structure, with an endless finish. Drink now through 2020. 1,500 cases made. (BS)


JOH. JOS. PRÜM Riesling Spätlese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2001
Score: 96 Highly Recommended
Price: $30
Country: Germany
A completely seductive and appealing '01 spätlese. Seamless and airy in texture, yet layered with peach, citrus and mineral aromas and flavors enmeshed in the delicate frame. Lovely finish. Drink now through 2015. 1,500 cases made. (BS)


SELBACH-OSTER Riesling Eiswein Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Bernkasteler Badstube 2001
Score: 96 Price: $88
Country: Germany
An ethereal eiswein. Very light on the palate, yet packed with creamy vanilla, pastry, and citrus notes, all supported by lively acidity. It picks up a smoky mineral note on the finish. Delicious. Drink now through 2015. (BS)


SELBACH-OSTER Riesling Auslese* Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Zeltinger Himmelreich 2001
Score: 96 Price: $25
Country: Germany

Elusive flavors of passion fruit, orange and mineral grace this rich, yet bracingly taut auslese. The acidity sweeps in on the finish, leaving a lengthy, haunting impression of fruit and stone. Drink now through 2020. (BS)


DR. H. THANISCH(MÜLLER-BURGGRAEF) Riesling Eiswein Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Berncasteler Doctor 2001
Score: 96 Price: $75
Country: Germany

This is vivid, with intensity and concentration, yet remains elegant and holds your interest with banana, apricot, peach and vanilla notes. It needs some time to integrate all the elements. Drink now through 2015. 20 cases made. (BS)


J. WEGELER ERBEN Riesling Eiswein Rheingau Geisenheimer Rothenberg 2001
Score: 96 Price: $69
Country: Germany
Harmonious, creamy and elegant, offering peach, apple and pear notes backed by tangy acidity and dense texture. It stays persistent through the long, smoky finish. Drink now through 2017. 25 cases imported. (BS)
Posts: 42 | Registered: Nov 01, 2003



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quote:
Here are my rules-of-thumb, with all the usual provisos It presumes on good Riesling from a good grower and a good site in a good vintage.

KABINETT: peaks from 4-6 years (if it’s true Kabinett and not declassified Auslese) and shouldn’t fade till about age 15. Again, it’s not an abrupt demise, but rather a deliberate twilight slide. That said, I have in mind that 1961 Kabinett I drank at Schmitt-Wagner a couple weeks ago – 42 years old and going strong.

SPATLESE: peaks from 7-10 years and shouldn’t fade till about age 25.

AUSLESE: peaks from 12-15 years and shouldn’t fade till about age 35.

BEERENAUSLESE: peaks from 25 years or so, and shouldn’t fade till about age 50.

TBA: I know you’ll hate to hear this, but these wines aren’t designed to fit into a human lifetime. Unless you started buying TBA when you were, like, seventeen, every bottle you have will outlive you. I drank a bunch of 1953 TBA this year (in honor of my ghastly birthday) and several of them had more improvement ahead of them. So, peaks anywhere between 35 and 55 years, and shouldn’t fade till the Red Sox play the Cubs in the series – and the Cubbies win.
I welcome lovers of German riesling with mixed feelings. Happy that other people finally realize what amazing wines come out of this overlooked region Smile, and sad that, as more people discover German wines, the price will keep going up Frown.

But seriously, welcome all. I guess we can't keep a secret forever.

On the dry versus semi-sweet versus sweet issue, here is my take (copied from an earlier post). Basically, what I am trying to say is that dry Rieslings are usually simpler and objectively not as impressive as the sweet late harvest Rieslings (Auslese, Spätlese), but they have an important place as everyday drinking wines. An Auslese is like a symphony, a Kabinett is like a string concerto.

quote:
The main thing I have discovered about the different types of German Riesling (from QbA to Kabinett Trocken to Kabinett to Spätlese to Auslese to the botrytis-laced dessert wines) is that, along this spectrum, they exhibit differences of degree but not of kind. All are about balancing acid and sweetness and wrapping it in an increasingly complex context of mineral and fruit flavors.

Basically (and people will laugh at me when I say this), I always think of Mozart when I drink any kind of Riesling: a dry Riesling is like something played by a string quartet, a non-dry late harvest is like a piece played by a chamber orchestra and the Auslesen or Edelsüss, like something played by a full blown orchestra.

The thing to keep in mind is that all Rieslings along this spectrum have their context. I love going to the symphony and fully concentrating on some majestic symphony as it soars and crashes, but almost never play symphonies at home - they are too overwhelming because they demand so much concentration. The same with German Auslese (or the true Edelsüsse when it’s not simplistic and sweet) --- there are so many fruit and mineral flavors wrapped around the basic format of acid-sweetness that concentration is essential.

And as the loudness of an orchestra can mute out any talking, I find that the intense acidity-sweetness of many of these wines mutes food flavors (or at least doesn't go with them). On the other hand a nice dry QbA (my number one favorite is the 2001 Dr. Loosen Graacher Himmelreich at EUR 7.50 a bottle) is like an easy piece for four or five instruments- put it on in the background and it can accompany almost any activity (analogy = accompanying many foods; I used to even drink this with mushroom ravioli in a garlic sauce, YUM).



The full thread is here.
BER,

That's an impressive list of '01's that you made. The only problem might be finding them at this point. I know you'll have difficulty finding the '01 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Auslese* as I believe this was a very small production wine and I've got a good percentage of what they made Wink Big Grin

Nonetheless, any of the wines on the list are definetely worth buying! Either that or take any of Vino Me, cbmac, or Marc's suggestions and you won't go wrong!
Emilio, as I stated in my post, I can't take credit for the list of wines -- the list was provided by Terry Thiele in response to a question I posed on an earlier thread. My initial question had to do with wanting to find German wines that displayed that mineral character I prize in white bordeaux. That said, Terry's choices (and I didn't find evven half of them) were great and his and other's posts on this thread have helped me get a handle on German wines.
TJ, you forgot the most helpful German wine threads of all, the reviews!

2002 Mosel Rieslings

2002 Nahe Rieslings

2002 Rheinhessen and Rheingau Rieslings

All three of these are amazing resources for checking up on a particular wine or deciding what to buy.

PS: Link 1 in your post is definitely "advanced" - only look at it if you are buying a First Growth (Erstes Gewächs) or Great Growth (Grosses Gewächs) wines. There is also a discussion about this technical and confusing topic here on WS forums.

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