The Riesling Room 2006
Wines of Germany
German Rieslings tasted at the London Wine Fair on 16th May 2006

The Riesling Room was the new name for the Wines of Germany at the London International Wines and Spirits Fair in 2006.  Here they ran a brief series of tastings of rieslings from around the world, together with an ongoing walkround tasting of "Germany's best wines". The idea of the latter was that they had worked with a panel of eight German wine experts in the UK, who tasted just under 300 wines before settling on the 61 "which stood out as Germany's finest".  As with any such 'competition', the wines they have to choose from are merely the ones which producers felt like submitting for tasting, and by no means all producers were involved. 

With that in mind, this was a remarkably poor showing from Germany.  Some of the wines were really not that clever at all, and it was fairly easy to drag up from memory similar wines that would beat many of these hands down.  There was also a massive, and massively surprising given that this was Germany, organisational problem.  Many of the wines were warm; some were even positively hot.  When there were staff on the stand, they were unfortunately unable to keep up with replacing bottles which were empty or too warm.  You could, and I saw many who did, have a rummage in the fridges below the counter, but not all wines were there and even if they were, they weren't chilled.  The fridges in turn appeared to be giving off a bit of a burning dust smell first thing on the first day - presumably they were brand new and straight out of the box, which was probably why they weren't chilling the wines in them.  The tasting notebook supplied had numerous typos, spelling mistakes and inaccuracies.  A very surprising lack of organisation, running completely counter to the German stereotype.

The 61 wines were as follows (£ prices shown are UK RRPs; € prices are ex cellars, both as supplied by Wines of Germany)

NV Lila Brut, Deinhard, 12.5%, £6.99
The grapes for the Deinhard Lila come from the Middle Rhein and Mosel. A slightish nose.  Very foamy in the mouth.  Lacking riesling character.  Very dry and with a distinct prickle.  Very Good.

2005 Ellerstadter Bubeneck Riesling Trocken, Qualitätswein, Weingut Studier, Ellerstadt, Pfalz, AP Nr. 5 110 089 504 06, 12%, €3.48
A sherbetty sweet nose.  Round, open palate.  Pleasing and simple.  Very ripe, sweetish flavours for a trocken.  Very Good.

2005 Riesling trocken, Qualitätswein, Wein- und Sektgut Barth, Hattenheim, Rheingau, AP Nr. 31 003 007 06, 12%, €3.15
The first of a number of wines in an odd, rather old-fashioned looking fluted bottle.  This had a dull, minerally nose, but a lovely palate with a nice richness.  Very Good.

2005 Riesling trocken, Villa Tabernus, Qualitätswein, MEJS Winzer OHG, Bad Bergzaubern, Pfalz, AP Nr. 5 054 104 002 06, 12.5%, €2.90
A bright, clear, ripe nose.  Decent palate.  Unexciting.  Goodish.

2005 Riesling trocken, Qualitätswein, Bassermann-Jordan, Deidesheim,  Pfalz, AP Nr. 5 106 064 25 06, 12%, £8.21
A dull, sherbetty nose.  Vibrant palate: big and zingy.  Good/Very Good.

2004 Riesling JJ, Kreuzkapelle, Qualitätswein, Weingut & Hofbrennerei Hiestand, Guntersblum, Rheinhessen, AP Nr 4 360 301 013 05, 12%, €5.95
A smoky nose.  Very round and quite full.  Very dull indeed.  OK/Good.

2005 Rüdesheim Riesling Estate, Georg Breuer, Rüdesheim, Rheingau, AP Nr 2 415 300 8 06, 12%, £12.00
An awful dusty, almost sawdusty nose.  This is really rather grim and has nothing really to recommend it.  Given the reputation of Georg Breuer, this must have been a faulty bottle - I hope.

2004 Riesling trocken Edition -S- Goldkapsel Bechtheimer Stein, Qualitätswein, Weingut Jean Buscher, Bechtheim, Rheinhessen, AP Nr. 4 257 229 37 05, 13%, €11.75
A nice ripe, open nose with lots of minerality.  Very good on the palate with excellent balance.  It is a surprise to find that this is just a Qualitätswein.  Very Good Indeed.

2005 Niederhäuser Hermannsberg Riesling Kabinett trocken, Gutsverwaltung Niederhausen-Schlossböckelheim, Niederhausen, Nahe, 12.5%, €4.80
A very clean nose with nice character.  Very good on the palate with great depth, nice concentration and huge length.  Very Good Indeed.

2005 Riesling Classic, Qualitätswein, Winzerkeller Leiningerland eG, Grünstadt, Pfalz, AP Nr. 5 118 027 58 05, 13%, €3.10
A dullish nose, though quite peachy.  Rich and very round on the palate with good balance.  Very Good.

2004 Hochheimer Riesling Classic, Qualitätswein, Domdechant Werner'sches Weingut, Hochheim, Rheingau, AP Nr 4 008 301 2 06, 12%, €6.85
A nice open nose.  A touch sweet on the palate for a Classic (aka trocken) wine, but none the worse for it in my view.  Good clean balance.  Good.

2005 Oppenheimer Sackträger Riesling Spätlese trocken <M> ***, Weingut Manz, Weinolsheim, Rheinhessen, AP Nr. 4 399 067 007 06, 13%, €6.50
This appears a bit spritzig.  A dull, peachy nose.  There is a touch of spritz on the palate.  This is pretty good, and has lots of character, especially on the finish, where it has an almost grüner veltliner sort of peppery quality.  Good/Very Good.

2005 Forster Pechstein Riesling Spätlese trocken, J.L. Wolf, Wachenheim, Pfalz, AP Nr. 5 142 202 08 06, 12.5%, £16.50
A really nice nose with peaches and pears.  Good full palate: very rich and at the same time very clean.  Very long indeed.  Very Good Indeed.

2005 Primus Maximus Riesling Spätlese trocken, Weingut Heinz Nikolai, Erbach, Rheingau, AP Nr. 3 206 300 8 06, 12.5%, €5.50
Another in the awful fluted bottle, that I don't like at all.  The wine, on the other hand, has a ripe, very direct nose.  Very clean on the palate.  There's some obvious ripeness, but it's really very dry.  A touch disjointed on the finish.  Good/Very Good.

2004 Niersteiner Ölberg Riesling Spätlese trocken, Weingut Dätwyl, Wintersheim, Rheinhessen, AP Nr. 4 002 008 07 05, 13%, €3.49
A very interesting nose, but let down by the palate which is a bit ordinary and unbalanced.  OK.

2004 Laubenheimer Karthäuser Riesling Spätlese trocken, Weingut Tesch, Langenlonsheim, Nahe, AP Nr. 7 738 166 07 05, 12.5%, £15.00
A very elegant refined nose.  Full and rich on the palate.  Very good balance.  Finishes well, with excellent length too.  Very Good Indeed.

2004 Haardter Bürgergarten "Im Aspen" Riesling Spätlese trocken, Weingut Müller-Catoir, Pfalz, AP Nr. 5 174 079 13 05, 13.5%, €15.00
A dullish, sweet nose.  Clean and very open on the palate: very inviting.  This really is much better in the mouth than on the nose.  Great length.  Very Good+.

2004 Hochheimer Reichestal Riesling Spätlese trocken, Weingut Bott, Bischofsheim, Rheinhessen, AP Nr. 4 3007 07 05, 12.5%, €5.90
A really lovely, peachy nose with lots of deep, fresh, minerally riesling fruit.  Super palate.  Very clean.  This has a really nice weight balance, and a really good finish.  Very Good Indeed.

2004 Ungesteiner Herrenberg "Ausblick" Riesling Spätlese trocken, Weingut Egon Schmitt, Bad Dürkheim, Pfalz, AP Nr. 5 160 359 22 05, 13.5%, €9.26
A rather sherbetty nose.  Very bright and lively on the palate, and not too trocken.  Very good balance.  A very attractive wine indeed.  Very Good Indeed +.

2004 Lorcher Kapellenberg Riesling Spätlese Trocken, Weingut Graf von Kanitz, Lorch, Rheingau, AP Nr. 2 1023 05 05, 13%, €6.89
A very dull and uninteresting nose.  Big, zingy palate.  Very interesting flavours with lots of mineral character coming through on the palate.  Good.

2003 Prinz von Hessen Riesling Spätlese Trocken, Weingut Prinz von Hessen, Geisenheim, Rheingau, AP Nr. 2 602 300 7 04, 12%, €8.50
A bright clear nose that's very attractive.  Very attractive on the palate too: very open and inviting.  Very clean - much cleaner than most of the other Spätlese trockens on show today.  Very Good Indeed +.

2004 Leiwener Laurentiuslay Riesling Trocken 1. Lage, Weingut St. Urbans-Hof, Leiwen, Mosel, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 3 529 290 034 05, 12.5%, €20.00
A dull, muddy, peachy nose.  Ripe and fruity on the palate.  Quite attractive, I suppose, but it really feels very simple.  Good.

2004 Forster Pechstein Riesling trocken, Grosses Gewächs, Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl, Deidesheim, Pfalz, AP Nr. 5 106 044 42 05, 13%, €12.70
A good clean nose.  Lovely palate with a very nice balance.  Excellent length, though it falls apart slightly very long after.  Very Good Indeed.

2004 Deidesheimer Kalkofen Riesling trocken, Grosses Gewächs, Weingut Geheimer Rat Dr. von Bassermann-Jordan, Deidesheim, Pfalz, AP Nr. 5 106 064 43 05, 13%, £19.58
This wine is produced 100% biodynamically.  A clean nose with a nice richness.  Quite heavy on the palate with lots of body.  Seems curiously flabby for a trocken.  Very Good.

2004 Oppenheimer Sackträger Riesling trocken, Grosses Gewächs, Wein- und Sektgut Jühling-Gillot, Bodenheim, Rheinhessen, AP Nr. 4 343 179 14 05, 13%, €10.40
Fresh, oily, talcy minerals on the nose.  Lovely palate with excellent balance.  Very enjoyable.  Very impressive.  Excellent.

2004 Martinsthaler Langenberg Riesling Erstes Gewäches, Weingut Diefenhardt, Rheingau, AP Nr. 3 500 200 8 05, 13%, £13.95
A fresh, slight nose.  Clean and crisp on the palate with very good balance.  Very impressive.  Very Good Indeed/Excellent.

2005 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese trocken Divinum, Moselland eG, Bernkastel-Kues, Mosel, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 2 576 280 227 06, 12.5%, £7.00
Fresh, clean, rather confected nose.  Ripe, clean and open.  Seems a touch industrial.  Good+.

2005 Klüsserather Bruderschaft Riesling Auslese Trocken Montis, Weingut Gebrüder Ludwig, Thörnich, Mosel, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Barrel sample, 13.5%, €10.00
A lovely ripe nose with elegant fruit.  Absolutely bone dry on the palate.  Very impressive if you like this sort of thing.  But for me, it just seems a bit too aggressively trocken.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

2004 Riesling Kabinett halbtrocken Rotlack, Schloss Johannisberg, Rheingau, AP Nr 26 026 021 05, 11.5%, £14.99
A dull, unexciting nose, but very nice on the palate.  Very precise, with superb balance.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

2004 Riesling feinherb, Schloss Thorn, Palzem, Obermosel, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP 36 363 05, 9.5%, €4.70
A slight, dull nose.  Decent palate.  Dull and unexciting.  Goodish.

2004 Riesling Qualitätswein, Weingut Witwe Dr Thanisch - Erben Müller Burggraef, Bernkastel-Kues, Mosel, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 2 576 742 006 05, 10.5%, €4.80
A very crisp, precise, focussed nose.  Ripe, clean palate.  Very Good+.

2004 Mittelheimer St. Nikolaus Riesling Spätlese halbtrocken, Wein- und Sektgut F.B. Schönleber, Oestrich-Winkel, Rheingau, AP Nr. 2 802 701 8 05, €7.30
A very open, inviting nose.  Good balance on the palate.  Rather dull and boring though.  Good.

2003 Bodenheimer Hoch Riesling Spätlese halbtrocken, Weingut Liebrecht, Bodenheim, Rheinhessen, AP Nr. 4 34 228 004 04, 14%, €5.50
A very dull nose - almost a musty feel, and this might even be slightly corked.  At least I hope so, as my note on the taste was simply "Ugh".

2005 Köwericher Laurentiuslay Riesling Spätlese "Für Feen und Elfen", Weingut Köwerich, Leiwen, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 3 529 102 05 06, 11%, £7.99
The Köwericher Laurentiuslay is apparently the upstream extension of the Leiwener Laurentiuslay vineyard.  This has a pleasant if rather dull nose.  Lovely palate.  Open, and with a nice sweetness and great balancing acidity.  Very Good Indeed.

2004 Nikolai Hallgartener Jungfer Riesling Kabinett Feinherb, Weingut Heinz, Erbach, Rheingau, AP Nr. 3 206 301 4 05, 11.5%, €3.65
Sherbert and talc on the nose.  Round, clean and full palate.  Opens out beautifully on the finish.  Very Good Indeed+.

2004 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 3 561 077 33 05, 8.5%
Gassy nose with some creamy apples.  Very fresh and fruity and vibrant on the palate.  Very Good Indeed.

2004 Hochheimer Hölle Riesling Kabinett, Domdechant Werner'sches Weingut, Hochheim, Rheingau, AP Nr. 4 008 300 9 05, 9%, €6.85
A dullish nose.  Good palate.  Absolutely correct.  Very enjoyable, textbook Hock.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

2005 Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Dönnhoff, Nahe, AP Nr. 7 753 010 09 06, 8.5%, £22.00
A deep, complex nose that's very pure.  Very pure, direct, clean palate.  Huge balance.  Very good length.  Excellent.

2005 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese, Dr Loosen, Bernkastel, Mosel, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 2 576 162 05 06, 7.5%, £17.90
Quite a spritz in the glass.  Delicate, honeysuckle spicy nose.  Very zingy palate.  Full and very cleanly flavoured.  Needs a bit of time to settle down yet, but still very precise.  Very Good Indeed +.

2005 Trierer Deutschherrenberg Riesling Spätlese ***, Weingut Deutschherrenhof, Trier, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 3 561 025 09 06, 9%, €8.50
A rather unfocussed nose.  Vibrant and fruity on the palate, but it just feels a touch out of sorts with itself.  Needs time to integrate.  Good, maybe Very Good Indeed in time.

2005 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Kerpen, Bernkastel-Kues, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP NR. 2 576 562 16 06, 8.5%, €5.25
A lovely fragrant nose with honeysuckle and apples.  Delightful palate.  Very precise and focussed.  Lots of acidity to balance on the finish.  Very Good Indeed.

2004 Rüdesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Spätlese Goldkapselkollektion, Weingut Fritz Allendorf, AP Nr. 2 700 102 7 05, 12.5%, €14.50
A very interesting nose with almost a hint of cassis.  All acid and no fruit on the palate.  Vile.

2004 Wachenheimer Schenkenböhl Riesling Spätlese feinherb, Wachtenburg Winzer eG, Wachenheim/Weinstrasse, Pfalz, AP Nr. 5 142 373 047 05, 12.5%, €6.60
An imprecise, unexciting nose.  Decent but unexciting.  OK.

2004 Valwiger Herrenberg Riesling Spätlese feinherb, Weingut Lönarzt-Thielmann, Ernst, Mosel, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 1 627 075 17 05, 11.5%, €5.00
A fragrant, oily nose.  Decent palate with some interest.  Poor finish - it's just not together.  OK/Good.

2004 Ayler Kupp Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Johann Peter Reinert, Kanzem, Saar, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 3 518 048 12 05, 8%, €6.80
Gassy-minerally nose.  Fresh and vibrant on the palate.  Good length.  Very Good.

2004 Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Grans-Fassian, Leiwen, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 3 529 042 23 05, 7.5%, £8.99
Very dull on the nose.  Very zingy on the palate at the moment and needs time to settle.  Very Good (Very Good+ in time).

2004 Hattenheimer Hassel Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Hans Lang, Hattenheim, Rheingau, AP Nr. 3 1 045 011 05, 8%, £12.95
A very delicate floral  nose.  Lovely balance on the palate.  Absolutely correct.  A bit short on the finish maybe.  Very Good Indeed.

2004 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Markus Molitor, Bernkastel/Wehlen, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 2 576 609 22 05, 7.5%, €7.10
A very gassy-mercaptans nose.  Very unimpressive.  Thin and dull.  OK.

2004 Rüdesheimer Berg Schloßberg Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Josef Leitz, Rüdesheim, Rheingau, AP Nr 2 407 901 5 05, 7%, £15.00
A clean sweet nose with peaches and pears and an odd hint of white chocolate.  Immediately shows some sweetness on the palate, and there's a botrytis feel to it.  Very clean and full.  Lovely balance with nice acidity.  Very Good Indeed.

2003 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Studert-Prüm, Bernkastel-Kues, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 2 576 537 13 04, 9%, €5.92
A rather closednose.  Very unbalanced palate.  Unimpressive.

2002 Johannisberger Klaus Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Prinz von Hessen, Geisenheim, Rheingau, AP Nr. 2 602 301 7 03, 9.5%, €9.80
A lovely bright riesling nose with very clean fruit.  Unfortunately the palate doesn't live up to the promise of the nose, and it's a bit dull and characterless.  OK/Good.

2005 Guntersblumer Kreuzkapelle Riesling Auslese, Weingut & Hofbrennerei Hiestand, Guntersblum, Rheinhessen, AP Nr. 4 360 301 18 06, 8.5%, €6.32
A decent, peachy minerally nose.  Immediately sweet on the attack, but in a nice way.  Very enjoyable, but very definitely one of the sweeter styles of Auslese.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

2005 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Insignum, Moselland eG, Bernkastel-Kues, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 2 576 280 229 06, 7.5%, £7.00
A very fragrant, perfumed nose.  Good attack.  Clean and sweet on the palate, with a nicely balanced richness.  Very Good Indeed.

2004 Riesling Auslese, Weingut Georg Breuer, Rüdesheim, Rheingau, AP Nr. 2 415 301 30 05, 8.5%, £9.99
A dull nose.  Good palate, but it's a bit too sweet and lacks the acidity to balance it.  Good.

2003 Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Auslese, Weingut Grans-Fassian, Leiwen, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 3 529 042 13 04, 8.5%, €9.00
A touch sulphurous with struck matches on the nose.  Very straightforward on the palate.  Good.

2003 Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Weingut Paulinshof, Kesten, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 2 586 061 026 04
A very rich nose.  Lovely balance on the palate.  Very Good Indeed.

2003 Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen Riesling Auslese, Weingut Hans Lang, Hattenheim, Rheingau, AP Nr. 3 104 501 6 04, 8.5%, £17.45
A fairly dull nose.  There's lots of sweetness on the palate.  I find this rather inelegant with little to recommend it.  OK.

2004 Hattenheimer Schützenhaus Riesling Eiswein, Weingut Barth, Hattenheim, Rheingau, 7%, €23.70 (375ml)
A very precise nose with lots of pear, though also a hint of sulphur.  Very direct, searing attack.  Incredibly pure fruit.  Everything you could want an Eiswein to be.  Excellent.

2004 Haardter Bürgergarten Riesling Eiswein, Weingut Müller-Catoir, Pfalz, AP Nr. 5 174 079 26 05, 7%, €40.00 (375ml)
A very clean, honeyed nose.  Very precise, searing palate.  Very deep and concentrated and complex.  Perfect balance.  Exceptional.

2004 Wiltinger Schlangengraben Riesling Eiswein, Weingut Johann Peter Reinert, AP Nr. 3 518 048 27 05, 8%, €32.00 (375ml)
A very precise nose: very pure with condensed apricots.  Lovely palate, but much sweeter than and not as balanced as the Müller-Catoir Eiswein above.  Very Good Indeed/Excellent.

2005 Lieser Niederberg-Helden Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, Weingut Hermann Grumbach, Lieser, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, AP Nr. 2 589 078 7 06, 8.3%, €29.50 (375ml)
A gorgeous, elegant nose with lots of peach and apricot and honey.  Very clean and precise.  Not at all cloying.  Really superb balance.  Exceptional.

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Last updated: 26 May 2006