German Riesling Reviews: 2011 Riesling Report, Part Two
by Kerry Winslow
This is the second part of my year in Riesling, the vintage 2011, and highlights the wines that I thought were exceptionally special from the vintage which I think most would agree was a classic year in almost every region of Germany. The one point I should make is while I did taste quite a few sweet wines the majority of these are Trocken to Spatlese, as it is too early to really judge the sweeter wines, though the Auslese look very good as well. Riesling is an amazing grape and it’s wonderful flexibility makes it unique, it can be made dry, demi-sweet and sweet all with rewarding results, and Riesling can and should be considered one of the greatest of all in quality white wine, and while Chardonnay does excellent wines, it is hard to imagine finding an under $50 Chard that compares to a fine $20 Riesling for excitement and or one of cellaring quality, and the newer Grosses Gewachs (Grand Cru Dry style Riesling) wines, while pricy at times certainly prove Riesling is a match for any of the top white wines in the world.
Germany’s turn towards drier wines continues, driven by home market demands and a new generation of wine drinkers around the world is not the end of classic Kabinett, Spatlese and Aulese formula, but it gaining huge momentum and driving over all quality to the highest levels for every category and in every region, and we are seeing many new young winemakers enter the market too. This is an amazing time for German wine, especially Riesling, and I look forward to seeing what will come in the future. In some cases the future is now and the following wines in this review are either recently out and being released in the near future with the first 2012 wines hot on their heels, and from what I’ve hear so far it looks to be an even better vintage, I can’t wait to taste them!
2011 Eva Fricke, Riesling “Lorch” Rheingau, Trocken, Germany.
Fricke’s Lorcher Riesling Trocken is beautiful and puckeringly dry with intensity and vibrant flavors that highlight the terroir and soils as is her way. As the world discovers these dry style Rieslings they may get scarce quick, with the home market in Germany already taking the lions share. Eva’s rise is wine world is from hard work rather than luck, she has worked around the world from Australia’s Hunter’s Valley to the Ribera del Duero region of Spain as well as Italy and Bordeaux, and she has gained lots of respect for her skills and dedication to her craft, she has also been a be player in the renewed success of Leitz as well. Fricke’s focus for her own label continues to be the old vine blocks in Lorch where she has found a perfect mix of vines and soils to suit her needs. These Locher Rieslings come from slate and quartzite mostly and they show intense salty/saline mineral tones and good acidity with yellow peach, golden apples and a hyper citrus core. This 2011 Trocken is bright and brisk with peach, verbena, lime and lemon zest leading the way with touches of chalk, orange rind and tangerine. This is a sizzlingly clear Riesling with utterly refreshing dry finish, making for a great summer sipper, but even better with delicate cuisine.
($24 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive
2011 Eva Fricke, Riesling “Schlossberg” Lorcher, Rheingau Germany.
This young Riesling is begging for a long cellar life and patience will be needed to fully experience and understand this certain to be a classic wine from the talented Eva Fricke. The 2011 Fricke Schlossberg is remarkably subtle and refined, but it’s engery and potential will need about 5 to 10 years to really show, this wine is an investment and a leap of faith for Riesling lovers, I only hope I get a chance to see the results and the rewards on offer in this beautifully crafted wine. The unique soils of Lorch and the gifted touch of Fraulein Fricke are showcased in this terroir driven white that has plenty to offer now, though nothing like the future holds, with yellow peach, pear and apple fruit with a dry lime core and citrus flowers, tangerine and white tea notes. Tangy saline and earthy touches come through on the crisp mineral laced finish and while there is only a slight slate and petrol essence here it seems complex and pure throughout. I can’t stress enough that there is much more to come and while an excellent wine with loads of character, it would be very under appreciated and slightly disappointing to open it near term, I say a good 3 to 5 years are required here. This dry and unique Riesling is one to forget about for now, and one to be treasured when discovered later in your cellar.
($50 Est.) 91-94 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Leitz, Riesling “Rudesheimer Berg Kaisersteinfels” Terrassen, Rheingau, Germany.
I waiting almost 6 months to post this review, but finally I’m ready to complete my thoughts on this amazing Riesling, which has to rank in my top 5 wines of the year period, and it looks like Riesling from this vintage in Germany may fill 4 of my top 10 wines! The Leitz Kaisersteinfels is a pure terroir wine, coming from unique slate soils and exposure it is strikingly different from the rest of the Rudesheimer Berg wines, like Roseneck, and this weighty mostly dry white has impressive clarity and depth already, but should age effortlessly for two or more decades only getting more interesting as it does so. Johannes Leitz is a well known name to Riesling fans and is one of the most personable of people, making some of the greatest Rhein Rieslings of his generation and offering a great range of value priced wines as well. The 2011 Leitz Rudesheimer Berg Kaisersteinfels Terrassen opens with lime blossom, sliced peaches, pineapple and mango with loads of chalky mineral notes, flinty rocks and mouthwatering saline savory elements with bright acidity and a hint of brine. The weight gives an impression of sweetness, but this wine never feels cloying on heavy and there is so much going on you almost instantly want to refill your glass and guard it with your life. There are more layers coming at you with apricot, apple and white peach and lemon/lime notes as the wine opens and the tension is full of Riesling energy and vigor. This wine has it all, power, refinement and length making it a classic, and a true Rheingau treasure, luck those that put a case away of this, as the rewards will be grand indeed.
($55 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Leitz “Leitz Out” Riesling QbA, Rheingau Germany.
Playing off the fact that English speakers most often mispronounce Leitz (Leetz instead of Lights) Josi (Johannes) Leitz uses “Leitz Out” to help, as well as learning German there is a nice educational Riesling in the bottle as well, in this fun and tasty wine from Germany’s famed Rheingau region. From vines not too far away from Rudesheim and the Rhein River comes this little tangy, dryish Riesling from Leitz, one of my favorite everyday wines and one I am happy to find in some progressive Asian fusion restaurants that I go to, including SF’s Burma Superstar that has this Leitz Out by the glass and carafe! The 2011 is a touch zestier and drier that the last few vintages, which is fine by me as it goes with more things and is zippier, but still with some character and extract. The nose hints at the classic slate and flinty mineral as well as lime flower along with pear, leading to the palate that has persimmon, lemon/lime, mango and peach pit and light apricot fruits with white tea, sea salt, steely mineral rockiness and a whiff of petrol. Mostly brisk and crisp now this lighter Riesling impresses great;y for the price and should drink nicely for another 5 years easy.
($15 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Leitz, Riesling “Rudesheimer Magdalenenkreuz” Spatlese, Rheingau.
One of the best deals in Riesling, the Leitz Rudesheimer Magdalenenkreuz Spatlese is a lovely wine that shows purity of fruit, lushness and balanced acidity and mouth watering charms. The nose is fruity and has mineral and floral essences that leads to a refreshing palate of candied lemon, yellow peach, apricot and sweet lime that turns tangy as the wine gathers itself and shows the flinty spices to count weight the sweetness making for a nicely balanced Riesling that gives lots of pleasure and keeps you coming back for more. Hints of wet stone and saline go well with the dried pineapple and honeyed citrus notes that highlight this well crafted wines focus and drive. This is classic Rheingau in the bottle and will gain with a few years in the cellar, but certainly there is no reason to hold back drinking this beauty and it goes great with a wide range of foods from smoked meats to exotic Asian dishes that play well with the slightly sweet character and where the Riesling comes handy. This is great stuff that is a steal at the price and while it may prove hard to find, it is a wine that offers a pleasant reward for those that happen across it.
($24 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Leitz, Riesling “Rudesheimer” Trocken, Rheingau, Germany.
The 2011 vintage Leitz wines all are wonderful examples of terroir and pure Rieslings, especially Johannes Leitz’s beautiful dry Riesling from vines near the hamlet of Rudesheim overlooking the Rhein River. The 2011 Rudesheimer Riesling Trocken is brisk and electric with tangy flavors and citrus zest acidity sizzles behind fresh fruit and mineral essences with lime and orange flowers, grapefruit and green apples while flinty slate rocky notes coat the palate and saline umami makes your mouth water. This good easily be a Gross Gewachs and shows just how great the Rheingau can be for dry wines as well as all levels of sweet styles. Look for this wine, it will be hard to find, but worth the search and very rewarding now and for the next 3 to 5 years in bottle no question.
($22 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Spreitzer, Riesling “Winkeler Jesuitengarten” Spatlese, Rheingau Germany.
This classic and almost rustic Riesling is open and delightful in it’s youth, and still has the stuff for long term aging with plenty of juicy fruit and sizzling acidity with a sweet edge that adds pure refreshment. The nose id honeyed and floral with hints of petrol, slate flinty spice, steely mineral and grapefruit leading to a balanced palate of green apple, apricot and peach in syrup flavors with touches of candied tropical fruits, dried mango and peppered pineapple. This tangy sweet Riesling is lovely and finishes with a touch of earth that adds complexity and charm, the 2011 vintage shows the talents of this winery and Spreitzer’s full lineup are all glorious.
($35 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Spreitzer, Riesling “Lenchen Rosengarten” Erstes Gewachs, Rheingau, Germany.
Andreas Spritzer’s wines are really beautifully crafted wines and his whole lineup is a wonderful collection of delightful Rieslings, but for something above of normal and exotic you should look for his trocken Erstes Gewachs (Premier Cru Dry) Lenchen Rosengarten Riesling. The 2011 is a stunning example of intense dry style Rheingau with loads of character, terroir and sublime texture and balance showing lime flower and citrus pulp with mango, orange and yellow peach fruits, white tea spices, steely mineral notes, slate influenced smoky flinty rockiness, grapefruit tanginess and mouthwatering saline elements. Look for this wine to really age and develop unique complexities over the next decade, best to put a few bottles away, and still drink a few young as this wine is hard to resist now. I think this might be my favorite Spreitzer to date, but his Spatlese(s) are also super and lovely drinking wines, be sure to check out these wines if you see them, especially the 2009 and 2011 vintages, and if you see 2010, remember to give plenty of cellar time, they need it.
($38 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2011 A.J. Adam, Riesling Kabinett Dhron Hofberg, Mosel, Germany.
The A. J. Adam Kabinett is a lovely and almost creamy with a host of classic Mosel flavors and elegant style. While for a Kabinett the 2011 Adam Hofberg is a bit pricy, but it is a very fine and well crafted Riesling that shows depth and terroir with lemon/lime, rose petals, mango, mineral and saline/savory notes plus juicy stone fruit sweetness. The apricot and peach are slow to emerge, but come on strong with some air and the texture starts zippy, but gains lushness and turns creamy over time in the glass. The acidity is clear and well cut, but this wine is more charming than intense and while it should age well, it should be enjoyed young. I should also mention, this Riesling plays well with all kinds of foods and it showed strongly with varied array of dishes from raw oysters, a crab salad and a spicy cured salmon pastrami on a soft pretzel roll.
($32 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Immich-Batterieberg, C.A.I. Riesling Kabinett Trocken, Mosel, Germany.
This beautiful and starkly dry Riesling comes from the blue slate soils of the lower Mosel and is a modern style with loads of acidity and mineral notes, frankly it is one of the best dry style wines I’ve tried from the Mosel. Mosel wines usually need a bit of sugar/sweetness to balance them out and I like the depth and texture it gives, but this wine doesn’t want for anything and is a real pleasure from start to finish. The chalky stones impression and minty lime essences really come through on the palate along with Asian pear, green apple and peach pit as well as tropical mango, tangerine and apricot fresh and skin. This wine sizzles with bursting electric energy from it’s core of acidity and crisp dryness that never seems out of place and with it’s salty and savory edge it begs to be sipped repeatedly, this is a must have for Riesling Freaks!
($24 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Selbach-Oster, Riesling (Feinherb) Mosel, Germany.
Another amazing value from Johannes Selbach and his tream at Selbach-Oster, this 2011 Mosel Feinherb Riesling is full of flavor, class and pleasure. With so many wonderful offerings from which to chose in this vintage this little Riesling might get overlooked, but if you see it, I would highly recommend grabbing a few bottles to enjoy in the near term. This fresh and peachy Mosel has bright citrus, tropical essences and stone fruit layers, hints of sweetness and plenty of juicy acidity and a light saline note. With a bit of a swirl and air there is a nice mineral streak that emerges to keep your interest and the crispy finish begs you to keep sipping away.
($18 Est.) 90-91 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Selbach-Oster, Riesling “Zeltinger Schlossberg” Spatlese Trocken, Mosel, Germany.
This groovy dry Riesling is my Thanksgiving pick, and I certainly endorse it completely for any occasion you might feel the inch for a quality Mosel. This wine from Zeltinger Schlossberg is vibrant and tropical with sizzling intensity and focus which makes for a wine full of racy acidity, mineral spices and bright/tangy fruit. The nose has orange and white flowers with lemon/lime, verbena, passionfruit, white tea, green apple and lime with wet stones, flint and salty chalk notes. The fruit and acidity match up nicely here giving a textural depth that is hard to find in dry Mosels and still bone dry and full of energy, this is a fantastic Riesling that might be hard to do every year, but is the reward of a good vintage. Johannes Selbach is reaching new heights with this currant set of wines and the offerings are more than his usual great selection of fine Rieslings, especially his single block collection wines like Rotlay and Andrecht, it really is silly to not try Selbach-Oster 2011, as these wines are beyond stunning! The big Thanksgiving bonus is that this freaking good wine is under $30, for which I’m truly grateful. Happy Thanksgiving 2012.
($28 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Selbach-Oster, Riesling “Zeltinger Sonnenuhr” Kabinett, Mosel, Germany.
This seriously beautiful Zeltinger that reveals the deft touch of the winemaking and highlights the unique terroir to perfection with a wine that is as pure as it gets. This 2011 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Kabinett is clear and cooly mineral driven with chalk, wet stone and slate spiced while lime, mango and white peach flow across the palate with subtle hints of apricot, tangerine and grapefruit along with touches of brine, salt and apple. This is a wine that can be enjoyed with great pleasure now, but certainly with get even more complex and rewarding over time and should go a decade easy. This is a no brainer for those starting a cellar or beginning their journey into the glories of Riesling.
($24 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Selbach-Oster, Riesling “Graacher Domprobst” Spatlese, Mosel, Germany.
Johannes Selbach’s Graacher Domprobst Spatlese is a profound and stunning wine, and without question one of the great wines of the vintage. The level of extract, acidity and subtle sweetness are sublimely balanced and the mineral tones are as perfect as you could ever imagine in this magical Riesling. The 2011 Selbach-Oster Riesling Graacher Domprobst Spatlese offers up vitality, impressive structure, seamless layers and dramatic length with white roses, lime and orange flowers with crushed slate, trufflely brine and fresh peach leading the way. The palate flows with intensity showing apricot, lime, tropical essences and fruits with hints of apple and nectarine while zesty citrus and honeyed pear add interest in the background. This complex and complete Riesling is youthful and charming now, but it will gain with time in the cellar, but only if you can resist the compelling urges that this brilliant wine will surly give you, utterly fantastic from start to finish.
($32 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Selbach-Oster, Riesling Rotlay “Zeltinger Sonnenuhr” Mosel, Germany.
This rich and intense Riesling is one of the best of vintage and should age majestically for decades with it’s sublime balance of weight and acidity, bravo to Johannes Selbach on this masterpiece from his select block collection of wines. The 2011 Rotlay has an Auslese like texture and feel in the mouth, but with less sweetness, more Spatlese level if you can relate and the depth and length are already amazing in this very young wine that comes off very carefully chosen vines in the famous Zeltinger Sonnenuhr vineyard that Selbach feels gives the most interesting terroir characteristics and flavors. The nose is decadent with white flowers, citrus and smoky sweet mineral leading to a exotic palate of green apple, lychee, apricot, lime, tropical essences, white currant and salted honey with a touch of flinty brine, while vivid acidity pumps tension and vigor throughout. This Riesling oozes class and refinement making for a glorious wine and a must have for Riesling freaks, of which I am a card carrying member, especially after tasting this magical treasure from the Mosel.
($55 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Selbach-Oster, Riesling “Anrecht” Zeltinger Himmelreich, Mosel, Germany.
One of the great white wines of the world, the Selbach-Oster Anrecht compares with Hermitage & Batard-Montrachet, though it might get overlooked by mainstream consumers it certainly ranks up there with some of the best values in top echelon of wine. The 2011 Anrecht might be the best white wine I’ve tasted this year and looks set to become a legendary Riesling of majestic proportions and offers a dizzying array of layers and amazing balance of extract, acidity and sweetness making for a wine that transcends definitions and expectations. This Riesling is as cerebral as a Red Burgundy and as joyous as the best vintage Champagne with everything a great wine should be and more. The 2011 Anrecht is a masterpiece, and Johannes Selbach’s talents shine through with every sip as does the glory of this block of vines in Zeltinger Himmelreich on the steep slopes above the Mosel, there is pure terroir and elegance in this vintage with stony minerallity, flinty spice, briny saline adding complexity to the vast fruit core. The nose starts with citrus flowers, mint and kiwi leading to slate and smoky notes before diving into the palate of white peach, pineapple, lime and green apple with apricot and honeyed grapefruit as well. The zesty acidity is riveting and the chalky mineral notes stay in the background while tangerine and tropical essences linger on finish that goes on forever. Sadly, it is very hard to put words together to really give the true pleasure delivered by this fantastic wine, I just suggest you get a few bottles and see for yourself, plus I highly recommend that you hold a bottle for a decade, the rewards look very promising.
($40 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive
2011 Dr. Loosen, Riesling Kabinett “Blue Slate” Mosel, Germany.
While commonly found, the Loosen wines are still good go to Rieslings in every price class, and this 2011 Blue Slate Kabinett is especially delicious and vivid with great refreshment qualities and very enjoyable. This Mosel shows hints of tropical fruits, green apple and lemon/lime while savory mineral and saline notes keep your mouthwatering and the touch of sweetness balances the zesty acidity. This is one of the best Dr. Loosen Kabinett level wines I’ve tried in the last few vintages and there should be plenty around still to stock up on. I love Riesling with anything, smoked meats, pate, cheeses, Asian dishes and more, and this style goes well with everything and is perfect refreshment on a warm summer day as well. The 2011 Loosen Blue Slate Kabinett is a big step up from the QbA, and while not as unique or interesting as some of the smaller estates, it is a very pleasing Riesling that can be drunk now or held for a few more years as well.
($17 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Willi Schaefer, Riesling “Graacher Domprobst” Kabinett #16, Mosel Germany.
This rare and beautifully sexy Riesling from Willi Schaefer dazzles the senses and is totally seducing with lush vibrant fruit, mineral charms and zesty acidity throughout with that refreshing candied pineapple sweetness that you find in fine Mosel Kabinetts. Schaefer is one of Germany’s great wineries and are known for classic Riesling in traditional styles with lots of interest paid to their mind-blowing sweet wines, but I love their Kabinett and Spatlese just as well, and you can’t argue about the quality, these are stunning wines from top to bottom, especially this Graacher Domprobst Kabinett from the 2011 vintage, it is truly world class. The nose starts with salted honey, orange blossom and wet stones leading to a mildly sweet fruited palate of green apple, tropical essences, white peach, apricot and nectarine with a touch of honey and sea breeze/brine. This Riesling is all you could ask for and should age well too, drink over the next ten years, again Schaefer goes beyond expectations, bravo.
($29 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Dr. Hermann, Riesling Urziger Wurtzgarten Kabinett, Mosel Germany.
Dr. Hermann’s old vines, which originated when his plots were part a grand estate that included the ones now under J.J. Christoffel Erben as well, produce some of the Mosel’s most distinct Rieslings, with the Urziger Wurtzgarten being one of the most prized sites in the region. The 2011 Urziger Wurtzgarten Kabinett is a classic Mosel with lovely flavors, vivid clarity and beautifully crafted balance of fruit and acidity making for a wonderfully pleasing wine that is joyous now and should age well for another decade. Nicely judged sweetness and interesting aromatics help lift this fresh Riesling with green apple, apricot, tangerine and smoky mineral notes leading the way plus hints of saline, lime and honeyed pineapple adding complexity. Broadbent Selections imports this gem, and while pretty rare it would be worth a bit of running around to find it and it certainly is a fairly priced wine for the quality found in the bottle and it’s pedigree.
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Riesling “Quarzit” Trocken, Nahe, Germany.
Kruger-Rumpf’s lovely Quarzit Trocken is a vibrant and vivid Riesling with tangy acidity and crisp dryness, but still has lush flavors and bursts from the glass with steely mineral and energy driven force. The nose shows white flowers, crushed stones and tangerine leading to a bracing palate of lime, white peach and appleskin along with grapefruit, mango and briny saline essence. There is a lot to love in this zesty Riesling that has massive charm and flexibility making a great friend to many styles of cuisine and fun almost anytime.
($22 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Riesling “Munsterer Pittersberg” Trocken, Nahe, Germany.
This pure expression of place and grape is strikingly focused and beautifully detailed from start to finish, this is an outstanding effort from Georg Rumpf and his team. The 2011 Munsterer Pittersberg is a Riesling of amazing quality and terroir that is almost as exciting as the Grosses Gewachs making this an incredible value in dry Riesling and one I’d certainly search out for personal use. 2011 made for a great canvas for Rumpf and he delivered sublime wines throughout his lineup from top to bottom, especially this impeccable Munsterer Pittersberg Trocken with it’s dynamic energy and glorious Nahe character. While bracing and crisp, this intense wine shows a creamy roundness on the palate and has a lengthly finish along with interesting savory notes. White flowers, tropical essence and stony mineral notes lead the way while the palate reveals tangy peach, apple and bright lime notes with orange and nectarine adding to the zest layers that show plenty of extract, dusty chalk and a smoky flinty element. Drink now and for the next 5 years or more, this is the real deal in dry Riesling and a fine value.
($26 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Riesling “Pittersberg” Grosses Gewachs, Nahe, Germany.
Georg Rumpf is making some fine wines, and why slightly under the radar, these are wines are hard to find and coveted. The Kruger-Rumpf wines show class and intensity with pure focus and terroir shinning through, especially this remarkable and fascinating 2011 Pittersberg Grosses Gewachs which is truly a Grand Cru dry Riesling. This intriguing wine has depth, character and powerful force with gripping acidity to go with loads of extract making for a long lived wine and it has sublime balance. The nose starts with stoney minerals, salty spices, white flowers and lemony notes which lead to a palate of peach, lime, tropical essences, apple and apricot fruits with a umami edge and sea/brine earthy touch leaving a mouthwatering feel. The mineral and slate notes run from start to finish and the grapefruit citrus lingers on the lip smacking aftertaste. Look for a creamy richness to come over time and lots of rewards for patience with this stunning wine.
($42 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Riesling “Binger Scharlachberg” Spatlese, Nahe, Germany.
The 2011 Binger Spatlese is a sexy Riesling with subtle sweetness and classic elegance with exotic touches and exciting layers, showcasing the talents of Georg Rumpf and his team at Kruger-Rumpf and their estate in the Nahe region of Germany. The nose starts with smoky mineral, candied mango and green apple with orange blossom and wet river stones. The palate fills out with lush apricot, white peach and sugar plums while white tea, sea breeze and honey add interest. This pretty Riesling as plenty of riches to seduce and the mild sweetness is refreshing and totally pleasing making for a stylish wine and a remarkably balanced one too. This should be a fun wine to track over the next 5-10 years, if you have the resources and patience the rewards look huge, though I doubt I could wait too long, as it is fantastic now.
($25 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Donnhoff, Riesling “Tonschiefer” Dry Slate (Trocken) Nahe, Germany.
As with every 2011 Donnhoff I’ve tasted, the Tonschiefer is amazing and of the highest quality, again proving the point that Donnhoff is one of the world’s great wineries. The Nahe’s famed Donnhoff has nailed the vintage and have completely blown me away, surpassing my extremely high expectations with each wine and at every level. Donnhoff’s dry wines really shine in 2011 and the beautifully crafted Tonschiefer Dry Slate Trocken is a stunner, and is a sleeper in the latest set of releases with poise, energy and character showing subtle fruity essences, mineral and savory spices. There is a refined acidity that never feels aggressive, but is a driving force no question, highlighting the gifted touch of the winemaking and the quality of the terroir shines through. Steely focus, flinty mineral and chalky saline add to the green apple, white peach and zesty lime fruit along with tangerine, grapefruit and kumquat while a layer of crushed stones, brine and dried tropical fruit linger on the finish.
($28 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Donnhoff, Riesling “Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg” Spatlese “Felsenturmchen” Nahe, Germany.
This is a stunning example of modern Spatlese, a wine that transcends time and place with textural depth and elegance on par with the world’s greatest white wines. Donnhoff continues to craft masterpieces at a pace that would put Leonardo Di Vinci to shame, and this beautifully balanced and remarkable Riesling is one such work of art. The 2011 Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg Felsenturmchen Spatlese starts with a nose of orange blossom, poached peach and tropical fruits with hints of smoky mineral, white tea and spice leading to a medium sweet palate of yellow peach, green apple, lime and a hint of mango with loads of crushed rock, river stones and slate mineral tones while hints of sea salt/brine, earth and tangerine bring a mouthwatering excitement as well. The acidity is always present and vibrant, lifting the fruit and the driving force, but there is a sublime underlying richness and creamy feel. I wish I had a few cases of this rare wine tucked away, and even though it is all ready a brilliant wine, it should prove very rewarding both short and long term and may last 15-20 years. This is truly an almost perfect Spatlese that is seductive, playful and serious that is a gift of nature and terroir.
($48 Est.) 94-96 Points, grapelive
2011 Schlossgut Diel, Riesling Kabinett, Nahe Germany.
The baby Diel Riesling delivers amazing quality and has only got better in the last six months since I last tasted it, I’m thrilled to find much greater depth and vibrancy in this killer little wine. Armin Diel’s estate wines are some of the best in Germany, and with Caroline Diel and Christoph Friedrich at the top of their games these wines seem to get better and better each vintage. While the Diel Dry Gross Gewachs and Sekt Sparkling wines tend to grab the headlines, the regular Kabinett seems to fly under the radar, which is great for wine lovers as it is a superb wine and a great value. This Nahe Kabinett is beautifully crafted with nice acidity and slight sweetness that is lovely and refreshing not in the least bit cloying or overt allowing the mineral and terroir notes to shine through showing the deft touch of the winemaking. The Diel wines have really gained delightful delicacy and grace over the last few vintages and I find myself completely smitten by the 2011 wines from this estate, especially this 2011 Schlossgut Diel Kabinett which has classic Nahe character with nectarine, white peach, pineapple and green apple notes with touches of white pepper, saline, honey and petrol/mineral flinty touches. Tangy citrus, white flowers and light apricot layers also come through on this very fine Riesling that explodes on the palate and lingers on the finish, not a wine to miss if you can help it, drink over the next 10 years.
($26 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive