Thursday, September 19, 2013

Three 2011 Rieslings

I prefer to drink wine with friends and family, but online tastings can be a lot of fun as well. Last night I joined a bunch of Twitter wine nerds and tasted three Rieslings from the 2011 vintage, one from the Mosel Valley, one from Alsace and one from the Kremstal region of Austria. A kind of last hoorah for the Summer of Riesling, the tasting was organized by a @VinoCC, @GermanWinesUSA, @AustrianWineUSA and @drinkAlsace.

All the wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

The first Riesling comes from Johannes Selbach, a very reliable producer from Germany’s Mosel Valley. It’s a $13 entry level wine, but it offers a good introduction to the Mosely style of dry Riesling.

2011 Selbach Riesling Dry Fish Label - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
SRP: $13
Light lemon peel color. A zesty, mineral-driven nose showing grapefruit, nectarine and some limestone. The palate is tangy and full of minerals, just like Mosel Riesling should be. While not as complex as vineyard-designated wines, this shows a lot of character for an entry level Riesling. I like the grapefruit, green apple and mineral notes, and the acid is great, keeping it nervy and refreshing. (86 points)

The Alsace Riesling comes from Domaine Ehrhart, an organic family-run estate that dates back to 1725. Based outside of Colmar, Ehrhart farms some 60 acres of vineyards in ten different communes. This wine comes from 25-year-old vines grown on a hill above the commune of Eguisheim.  

2011 Domaine Ehrhart Riesling Vieilles Vignes - France, Alsace, Alsace AOC
SRP: $16
It’s a light yellow color. Right out of the bottle, this wine boasts aromas of lychee, white and yellow flowers, honey, white peach, and just a hint of ocean spray. Brisk acid leads the way on the palate and puckers the sides of the cheeks all the way through. A mix of nectarine, white peach and Granny Smith apple fruit blends richness with the bite of citrus. A bit of white tea and green herbal spice, with just a bit of saline on the finish. I’m surprised by the liveliness and briskness of this wine. A dry and focused Alsace Riesling that is quite impressive for being a generic cuvee. (87 points)

While the first two Rieslings were tasty, the third stole the show. Salomon Undhof crafted this exquisite Riesling from 50+ year-old vines grown on a terraced hill in Stein, Austria. The mineral and spice components of this wine are really deep and powerful, making it worth every penny of its $30 price point.

2011 Salomon Undhof Riesling Erste Lage ÖTW Steiner Kögl - Austria, Niederösterreich, Kremstal
SRP: $30
A light gold color. Aromatically awesome, showing gobs of white peach, nectarine set against a complex mix of limestone and minerals. The intensity and depth of the nose is really something. Medium-to-full-bodied on the palate, but the acid zips on through, keeping it fresh. A beautiful combination of apricot, mango and white peach fruit, which is rich and juicy, but the fruit is equally matched with mineral, mountain stream water and white pepper. The finish is long and spicy. This is a beautiful Riesling that I’d love to try again in two years. (91 points)

Even though this Summer of Riesling marketing push is fading with the warm weather, Autumn is as good a time as any to drink Riesling. I, for one, plan on drinking Riesling all year long.


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