Sunday, June 24, 2012

German and Austrian Rieslings to Beat the Heat

F.X. Pichler makes incredible rieslings and gruner veltliners from Austira's
Wachau, while Selbach-Oster consistently turns out classic Mosel rieslings.
It's been hot as hell in DC these past few days. So on Friday, I decided to hide from the oppressive heat and humidity, watch some DVR'd shows and drink some great rieslings. I invited a couple of friends over to enjoy the wines with me. The acid, fresh fruit and minerals in riesling can make it one of the most refreshing wines to drink . And the wines are generally far lower in alcohol than a lot of table wines, so you can keep on drinking! I chose three wines from my collection from three different regions and vintages, just to make it interesting . All the wines showed well, demonstrating what these varying regions and vintages have to show.


2001 Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach Steinberger Riesling Kabinett
- Germany, Rheingau
The aromas were a bit hesitant at first, and really started to show fresh flowers after an hour being open. There’s an oiliness to the aromas, like lemon oil, along with orange rind and white peach. The aromas are loaded with complexity. On the palate, the surprise here is the acid… just beautiful, from start to finish, the tanginess never ceases. It’s like biting into a Granny smith apple. This really tastes like blue slate smells, and lots of sea shells. There’s also a nice apricot and dried apple flavor that I find in a lot of rieslings at about this point in their evolution. This riesling is still very young, and nowhere near the end of its life, but it’s doing beautiful things right now. (90 points)

2002 F.X. Pichler Riesling Smaragd Loibner Berg - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
Ah, to bask in F.X. Pichler’s rieslings, it is always a pleasure. This 2002 shows its age with a rich yellow color in the glass. It smells of pineapple and apricot, also showing aromas of oil and salt. This wine is thick on the palate, showing bold and powerful flavors, but the combination of minerals and acid keeps it pulled together quite nicely. The flavors here are darker than the German rieslings in the tasting, and focused more on apricot, peach and mango. There’s also a spiciness to this wine, like a bit of white pepper and herbs. The wine is thicker, but the acid rips, and the combination is delicious. In classic F.X. Pichler style, the minerals have a great kick to them. Very oily on the finish, but that acid still lingers. A hint of quinine on the finish. I’ve got one more bottle of this wine, and I should probably drink it in the next year or so. At the same, time, I’m always curious to age these wines, even though I think I like them earlier on. (92 points)

2009 Selbach-Oster Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
The aromas in this wine are incredibly fresh and vibrant. The youth of this wine explodes from the glass in aromas of lime, white peach, kiwi and ocean breeze. The palate shows great balance of plump, fresh fruit (apple, peach and orange rind) and acid, which keeps the wine focused and precise. It shows that great blend of ripe fruit, mineral and acid I look for in a 2009 Mosel riesling. There are some underlying flavors of apricot and yellow apple that I think will grow with more time. The minerals keep this wine light and tangy. Lovely honey on the finish, but the acid keeps going until the very end. This will improve for at least a decade, although it’s so pure, rich and balanced now, that I’m glad I opened it. This wine has a special place in my heart because it reminds me of the time my girlfriend and I stayed in Bernkastel at the foot of this vineyard, drinking lots of riesling from 2009 and 2010 and enjoying the hell out of ourselves. I can’t really ask for more from a $25 wine! (91 points)

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