Friday, December 9, 2016

A Tasting of German Wines - More Than Riesling

I’m a huge fan of German wines, although I too often focus solely on the country’s greatest contribution to the world of wine: Riesling. Of course, Riesling is one of, if not the, greatest grapes in the world, and its ability to translate terroir into the glass is second to none. And while vineyards in the Mosel, Rheingau, Pfalz, Rheinhessen, and other regions, produce some of the world’s best Rieslings, Germany is home to lots of other grapes.

I recently visited with some old friends from the Carroll County (Maryland) chapter of the American Wine Society of a tasting of German wines. It was great to catch up with a bunch of old wine friends and taste some diverse German wines, including some Pinot Noir (sometimes referred to as Spätburgunder on German wine labels) and Pinot Meunier.

Below are my notes on a few fun (and quite inexpensive) German wines.

2015 Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rose - Germany, Pfalz
A bright and floral aromatic display. Lots of texture here but bright acidity keeps it refreshing. Watermelon rind and crisp strawberry mix with a hint of floral spice. Lots going on here. (87 points)

2014 Weingut Robert Weil Riesling Trocken - Germany, Rheingau
So many rocks and flowers and shells on the nose, also lemons and limes. Slight spritz, tart acidity, rushing minerality, a large dose of lemon/lime and some mountain stream elements. So vibrant with a hint of sweetness. (87 points)

2014 Villa Wolf Pinot Noir - Germany, Pfalz
Smells of white pepper, roses and sour cherries. Some structure here despite being so light and crisp. Spicy herbal notes accent the tangy red apple flavors. A bit simple, but I like the brisk, refreshing appeal of this Pinot Noir. (85 points)

2013 Weingut Darting Pinot Meunier Trocken - Germany, Pfalz
Love the aromas: spicy black pepper and green herbs, loamy soil, on top of red apples and sour cherries. On the palate this sports refreshing acidity on a frame of noticeably grippy tannins. Plenty of fruit in the form of ripe cherries and plums, but I love the non-fruit complexity: black pepper, smoke, earth, cedar and dried roses. Very pleasant now, but this could improve over the next three to five years. (89 points)

2014 Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett -Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Smells of honeys, peach nectar, guava, honey and oil. Sweet on the palate but clean and lip-smacking acidity keep it rather balanced, although this does show its sugar throughout. Flavors of beeswax and honey mix with guava and pineapple with an underlying sense of minerals and crushed rocks. I bet this will be even more delicious in three to six years. (89 points)

2013 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer

Gorgeous nose of pears, honey and apricots. Exotic and floral on the palate but buttressed by lively acidity. Nectarine, peach nectar, pineapple, honey, mixed nuts, dried flowers. Lots going on here. Rich and unctuous but finishes clean. I’d love to retaste in five or six years. (90 points)

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