Thursday, May 23, 2013


Johannes Selbach will be presiding over our June 22nd tasting.  He will lead us through a guided tasting of his wines.  Mr. Selbach’s wines are some of the finest Rieslings from Germany and some of the finest whites produced anywhere.  This will easily be the event of the year.

His family has been cultivating grapes in Germany since 1600.  In Terry Theise’s 2012 German catalog (Theise is the importer for Mr. Selbach), Mr. Selbach says that he prefers to make moderate wines rather than fruit bombs.  Here is a very brief overview of his portfolio taken from Mr. Theise’s catalog.

Regional Wines:

Most people scoff at regional wines and while I’ve never tasted one of Mr. Selbach’s regional (negociant wines) wines, I’m sure they are up to his high standards.  All of his regionals are 100% Riesling and he purchases them from growers whom he has known for many years.

Mr. Selbach’s Vineyards:

Mr. Selbach’s wines are crafted with grapes from the following vineyards in the Mosel:

Bernkasteler Badstube
Zeltinger Schlossberg
Wehlener Sonnenuhr
Graacher Domprobst
Zeltinger Sonnenuhr    

Mr. Selbach’s portfolio includes a variety of prädikat levels from these vineyards.  His 2011 offerings include a Zeltinger Himmelreich Kabinett Halbtrocken, a Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spätlese and even a Zeltinger Schlossberg Spätlese Trocken.  Mr. Selbach also crafts over a half a dozen wines from micro blocks within each vineyard. 

Last year, I was fortunate enough to find a bottle of his 2007 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Spätlese.  The palate entry and mid palate showed a wonderful, creamy, citrus flavor that was a bit tart but in a good way.  The finish was very minerally and the citrus flavors echoed into a long finish.  It was a wonderful wine and more in the classical, Spätlese style.

I am counting down the minutes until this tasting… 

Marines' Memorial Dinner

Our first dinner of 2013 was a joint event with the Stanford Alumni Association.  The dinner took place at the Marines’ Memorial Club in San Francisco.  Located at Union Square, the building was built in 1946 and was a fantastic venue for our dinner.  We dined in a private room with a fireplace and had a wonderful time.  Once again, thanks to Barry Boothe for donating the Spätlese and the two Auslesen.

Our welcoming wine was the 2010 Gebrüder Simon Sekt Riesling Brut.  This particular Sekt was dosed with a smidgen of Auslesen which gave it quite a rich palate.  It was crisp, minerally and pungent with herbal notes and a granny smith apple flavor.  There were herbal undertones and it was nicely concentrated.

We decided to serve four wines with the meal ranging from bone dry to mildly sweet.  The 2011 Spreitzer Hallgartener Hendelberg Riesling Trocken was one of my favorite wines of the evening.  One sip and flavors of Lemon curd, white pepper and nectarine coated your palate.  It is simply one of the best trockens I’ve tasted in quite awhile.

The 2011 Schloss Lieser Braueneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett showed flavors of pear and nutmeg.  It was very good.

I had high hopes for the 2011 Von Hövel Oberemmeler Hutte Riesling Kabinett and was a bit disappointed.  As with a few of the 2011’s we tasted, I think it needs more age before a fair assessment can be made.  It seemed more floral than fruity although my wife did detect a taste of Rainier cherry underneath.

The 2006 Mönchhof Ürziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spätlese was honeyed, syrupy and a bit monolithic.  There was a nice peach flavor but it was much too sweet to serve with food.  This Spätlese is more of a dessert wine.

The two dessert wines were the 2011 Donnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Auslese and the 2011 J.J. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese.  The Donnhoff was fantastic and one of my favorite wines of the evening.  It was amazingly approachable for such a young Auslesen.  The palate showed flavors of peaches, pears, lemon, and tarragon.  This wine had plenty of acidity and a long finish.  It was ethereal, subtle and complex.  Did I say it was fantastic?  The Prum was nice but seemed closed.  I didn’t detect much on the palate.  This one definitely needs some age.