Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Checking Up on Rieslings from Alsace, Austria & Germany

I'm a huge fan of Riesling. Any season, any time of day, with any kind of meal, it's my go-to. I guess part of my love for Riesling stems from the time I spent exploring Germany and Alsace as a teenager, when I hiked around towns surrounded by vineyards, tasted a local Alsace Riesling and thought, "Holy shit, this stuff is amazing." 

But my love for Riesling has grown exponentially as I taste the new vintages and get more acquainted with specific vineyards. So I was happy to stop by my favorite wine shop, Weygandt Wines, and taste through a solid lineup of Rieslings. Most hailed from the 2013 vintage, and a few from 2012. Riesling guru and importer extraordinaire Terry Theise said this about the 2013 vintage in Austria: "No reason to be coy. For Riesling and Grüner Veltliner this is a classic vintage, a serious candidate for Greatness..." Germany and Alsace is showing similar promise in 2013. From what I've tasted, the 2013s seem to be possess plenty of those beautifully paradoxical qualities. They're zippy but juicy, bright but powerful, long-lasting but immediately pleasurable.

Across the board, the wines at this tasting were thrilling and delicious, many of them deserving of much time in the cellar to blossom and develop their inner complexity.

My notes from a lovely tasting...

2013 Schoffit Riesling Harth Cuvée Tradition - France, Alsace
Rich nose of peaches, apricots, lychee, honey and oil. Creamy body, tingly acid, clean but lush texture. Apricots, green apple, minerals. Tart, fresh, plenty of body, quite long. (89 

2013 Albert Mann Riesling Cuvée Albert - France, Alsace
Nose shows a nice mix of clean slate and floral elements, with some racy lime and green apples. Sea salty and chalky palate with lime, orange peel, lively acidity keeps this bright and incisive. (88 

2013 Birgit Eichinger Riesling Vom Berg - Austria, Niederösterreich, Kamptal
So peachy on the nose, with lychee and dried white flowers. Floral, full and creamy yet so tangy and fresh. Lime and apricot mix with smoke, slate and musk for a complex but intense wine. Could definitely use a few years in the cellar. (89 

2013 Birgit Eichinger Riesling Gaisberg - Austria, Niederösterreich, Kamptal
Smells of quince, apricot, peach nectar, a bit of honey. Juicy and plump on the palate but still fresh, peaches, nectarines, orange peel mix with a smoky minerals. I’d love to try this again in three or four years. (89 

2013 Pichler-Krutzler Riesling Trum - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
Nose is bright and full of peels (lime, orange, lemon), flowers too. Racy, juicy, yellow and green apples. The richness is matched with the lean, taut, stony characteristic. Very pretty stuff, beautiful young but will age. (90 

2008 Weingut Rudolf Sinss Windesheimer Sonnenmorgen Riesling S trocken - Germany, Nahe
Nose of apricots, white peaches, honey and chalk. Bright and bright with tangy acid but full of tropical fruits (peach, guava, apricot), notes of slate and chalk add complexity. (88 

2013 Weingut Heymann-Löwenstein Riesling Schieferterrassen - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Great aromatic display of saline, potpourri, white pepper, guava and lime juice. Pristine palate, great balance between acid and richness. I get guava, kiwi and orange marmalade flavors, laced with complex minerals, slate, white pepper and chalk. Long, age-worthy but very pretty and complex. (91 

2012 Franz Hirtzberger Riesling Federspiel Steinterrassen - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
Gorgeous aromatics, complex, elegant yet full, lots of flowers, green apple, lemon/lime peel, minerals, chalk crusty sea salt. Fresh acid, lots of body, quite bold and could use some time to sleep. But the lime, orange, green apple and pineapple fruit is delicious and juicy, backed up by notes of smoky minerals, chalk and sea salt. Beautiful stuff, but I’d like to taste this again in five years. (91 

2012 F.X. Pichler Riesling Smaragd Loibner Steinertal - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
What a beautiful aromatic display: guava, peaches, potpourri, crushed stones and slate. Bright acid, a bold presence on the palate, the wine is both compact and young but also expressive and bold. Dry, chalky, mango, dried pineapple, orange peel, notes of clove, white pepper and quinine. Full, intense, age-worthy, I’d love to revisit this wine in ten years.(92 points)

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