Monday, December 31, 2012

The Unpopularity of German Riesling

I am currently reading a book by Rajat Parr, a sommelier working for Michael Mina, and he loves German Riesling.  Like Terry Thiese, he laments the lack of popularity of German Riesling.  Personally, I’m glad it is not popular and hope it remains that way.

I have put together a mixed case of German Riesling (listed below) in which no bottle is over $30.  These wines are all excellent and I would not hesitate to serve them to anyone.  Now, If I were to try to put together a mixed case of Burgundy or Bordeaux of the same quality, I would have to increase the price per bottle to at least $60.  This is the cost of popularity.  Why would a German Rieslingophile want to see this kind of price inflation with German Rieslings? 

Long live inexpensive, high quality German Riesling!

2010 Spreitzer 101 Riesling, $12.99
2011 Joseph Leitz Rüdesheimer Drachenstein Dragonstone Riesling, $16.99
2011 Gunderloch Jean Baptiste Kabinett, $17.99
2011 Dönnhoff Estate Riesling, $20.99
2011 Keller Estate Riesling, $20.99
2011 Eva Fricke Lorcher Riesling, $21.99
2011 Muller Catoir Gimmeldinger Mandegarten Kabinett Riesling Trocken, 24.99
2010 Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, $24.99
2009 Fred Prinz Hallgartener Jungfer Riesling, Kabinett $19.99
2009 S.A. Prum Graacher Himmelriech Spätlese, $29.99
2009 Selbach Oster Graacher Domprobst Spätlese, $29.99
2009 Basserman Jordan QBA Trocken, $22.00

Friday, December 21, 2012

Eva Fricke Lorcher Riesling

2011 Eva Fricke Lorcher Riesling Trocken

Before opening her winery in 2006, Eva worked at wineries all over the world including Château Cissac in Haut Médoc and Dominio de Pingus in the Ribera del Duero.  She went to work for Josef Leitz in 2004 and left her job as his vineyard manager in 2011 to concentrate on her own wines.  Eva only grows Riesling and currently offers four qba’s and two Spätlesen.  Her qba’s are not garden variety qba’s and can go for as high as fifty dollars. 

The Lorcher is her bottom of the line qba and for around twenty dollars, it is quite a bargain.  This wine boasts a powerful palate with intense flavors of gooseberry and white pepper.  It is citrussy and tart with a medium, steely finish.  It is drinking fine now but could definitely use some bottle age.    

We will be featuring one of Eva’s top of the line Rieslings at our January 19th tasting.  It should prove to be a very interesting wine.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012 Christmas Tasting

Pouring the wines for everyone doesn’t leave me with a lot of free time, but with the help of my wife, I did manage to scribble some notes on many of the wines we tasted.  My three favorites of the evening were the Spreitzer, the Karthäuserhof and the Selbach Oster.

Schloss Schönborn Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg Spätlese

This wine showed a rich palate entry with a creamy middle that tasted like stone fruit.  The finish was short.

Spreitzer Winkeler Jesuitengarten Spätlese

The Spreitzer was a bit spritzy which is unusual for a Rheingau.  The palate was quite concentrated with flavors of peach and orange.  The finish was short which  complemented the richness of the palate quite nicely.

1976 von Beulqitz Kaseler Nieschen, Auslese, Mosel
1983 Monchhof Urziger Wurzgarten, Auslese, Mosel
1985 Dr. Crusius Traiser Bastei, Auslese, Nahe

I try to have a wide variety of styles and vintages at the tastings to please everyone.  Members will always discuss their preferences with me at the tastings, and our members’ preferences cover a wide spectrum:  some prefer dry wines, some prefer sweet wines, some prefer older wines, some prefer younger wines, etc.  My preferences run towards the younger and drier wines.  So, I should probably recuse myself from reviewing these older wines but what fun would that be?  The only flavor I tasted in the’76 and the ’83 was melted butter.  The ’85 simply had no flavor on the palate at all.  I did not like any of these wines.

2010 Karthäuserhof Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg, Auslese

This wine was juicy and rich with flavors of apricot conserve, apple pie spice and cardamom.  The finish was very long.  A magnificent wine although we drank it far too young.  I’d love to revisit this one in ten years.

2010 Selbach Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich, Eiswein

I absolutely love Selbach Oster’s wines and this one did not disappoint.  It was not as sweet as one might expect from an Eiswein and it had a luxurious, silky plate.  The flavors included honeyed apple and floral notes and were backed by a firm acidity. 

2003 Reinhard and Beate Knebel Winninger Röttgen, Trockenbeerenauslese

As one would expect from a TBA, this was incredibly decadent.  The palate was so rich that I almost laughed when I tasted it.  Their was a honeyed overlay on the palate which included flavors of mince pie, orange peel and caramel.  It was a bit rich for my palate but a fantastic example of a TBA.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Unusual German Varietals

At the June tasting, many people were curious about the origins of some of the red varietals that we tasted.  After conducting some research, here is what I discovered.

Bläufrankish is a crossing of the Heunisch variety and an unknown varietal.  Heunisch is the name for a variety family that was possibly brought by the Magyars of Hungary to Central Europe.  Over 75 varietals have Heunisch in their family tree including Chardonnay and Riesling.  Bläufrankish is also known as Lemberger in Germany, Kekfrankos in Hungary and Gamé in Bulgaria but don’t confuse Gamé with Gamay of Beaujolais which is an entirely different varietal.

Dornfelder is a cross of Helfensteiner, which is itself a cross of Frühburgunder and Trollinger, and Heroldrebe, which is itself a cross of Blauer Portugieser and Bläufrankish.

             I was unable to find a source that would go out on a limb and give the parentage of the St. Laurent varietal.  The best answer I found comes from Dr. Ferdinand Regner of the Federal Office and College of Wine and Horticulture Klosterneuburg.  Dr. Regner explains, “An origin stemming from a Pinot crossing appears logical and explains the similarities to Pinot Noir.  Despite that, we find no traces of the other parent.  There are genetic attributes that we have not yet found in another grape variety.  If the second parent still exists, it would be easy to identify because it has left very clear traces in St. Laurent.” (