Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Best of 2007 - German Riesling edition
Greetings from Tacoma, Washington! On the list below, you may notice a dominance of Kabinetts, and lots of 10 or so year old wines. These are generally my preference. Also am noticing a predominance of Mosel wines on this list - no surprises there as these are the most commonly available Rieslings. Next year I hope to taste a lot more German Riesling and thereby diversify the list a bit more! So, without further adieu...Here are my Top 10 German Rieslings of the year:
10. Verinigte Hospitien Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett 2004 - Delicious Kabinett that I bought at a ridiculously low price, this beauty had a satin like mouthfeel, with gentle white nectarine fruit and more than a hint of red currants. Hospitien may not be the fanciest or most acclaimed of Saar producers, but they are reliable rieslings for the money. I'm trying to lay off my 6 remaining bottles for another few years.
9. Jakoby Mathy Kinheimer Rosenberg Riesling Kabinett 2006 - Beautiful, juicy, mouthwatering Mosel Riesling. It has that orchard fresh fruit thing going on. Just tasty, uncomplicated, Mosel Riesling.
8. Schmitt Wagner Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg Riesling Spatlese 2005 - More texture and richness on this guy; the 80+ year old ungrafted vines deliver some real density in texture. Somehow these wines always come across as drier than the norm for the pradikat level and the vintage. Which in addition to the aforementioned texture and creaminess makes them true originals. Tasty fruit as well, but to me this wine is more about texture.
7. Hauth Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 1996 - A stunner! Mature Kabinett with intense lime and slate flavors. With the '96 acidity this might be the driest tasting pradikat wine I have had. Terrific, powerful, gutsy Kabinett.
6. Hauth Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 1994 - Even better than the above. The nose had a bit more sweetness, almost a sweet quinine aspect to it. Very similar to the '96 Kabinett on the palate, with more length and a minerality not as thoroughly integrated as on the Kabinett. Delicious now and probably a lot more so in 5 years
5. Carl Scmitt Wagner Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg Riesling Kabinett 1992 - So young, this wine tastes so young! Even the color, which has deepened to a slightly darker and more intense light yellow, still suggests a younger wine. All the texture and cream of his '05 Spatlese from the same vineyard, with the added dimension of greater fruit intensity and balance from the bottle age. I'd be curious to see this wine in another decade, and would not be surprised if it still tasted young.
4. Diehl Dorsheimer Burgberg Riesling Kabinett 1997 - A textbook lesson in balance between fruit, residual sugar and acidity in mature Kabinett. Lovely Nahe riesling from one of its masters.
3. Max Ferdinand Richter Veldenzer Elisenberg Riesling Kabinettt 1997 - Another impeccably balanced Kabinett. I love this site, which always seems to produce vivid citrus flavors, often times taking on a similarity to perfectliy ripe, juicy, Florida pink grapefruit. As Dirk Richter once told me, "In Germany we have a saying: 'the girl should be young, and the Riesling should be old!' "
2. JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 1996 - Such a firecracker of a Riesling, what with all of that beautifully clean acidity. This wine was my second pick in a Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr auslese vertical in which I participated a few months ago, only because the next wine was so spectacular.
1. JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 1985 - Beautiful, 18K golden color. This mature Auslese showed a strong vanilla extract and cookie dough note. After a bit of time ripe pear and honey showed as well - definitely a botrytis wine. Acidity is present on the palate, but very mellow, and the fruit is similarly subtle and tough to pinpoint - the fruit is there and it is delicious.