German Riesling - Unsung Stars of the Wine World
A masterclass presented by Stephen Brook

Decanter magazine's Rising Stars Fine Wine Encounter
Saturday 19th May 2001, 10 a.m.


The wines were not served blind, though it was not possible easily to get AP numbers for them all.

1. Tesch Riesling Spaetlese Trocken Laubenheimer Karthaeuser 1998
Tesch are a family estate in the Nahe. This and the next both had 12.5% alc. A fairly deep yellow gold with some greenish tinges. Very clean nose, but somewhat lacking in character. Quite minerally, rich and with a hint of citrus. On the palate, not particularly interesting. VG length and some nice acid. Possibly a bit of CO2 floating around. Much lighter than you'd expect for this alcohol level.

2. Tesch Riesling Spaetlese Trocken Laubenheimer St Remigiusberg 1998
Fairly deep yellow gold again, but with a bit less green. More depth to the nose, creamier with more obvious apples. On the palate rounder, fuller and less austere. A bit less elegant, more more easily approachable. Again, remarkably light and fresh for the alc content.

3. Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl Reiterpfad Ruppertsberg Riesling Spaetlese Grosses Gewachs 1999
Again, another dry Spaetlese, this time from the Pfalz and with 13.8% alc and 8g residual sugar. A rich straw in the glass with a fair bit of CO2 evident, though eventually it blew off. Lovely nose - very fragrant - peachy with mineral tones. Very full on the palate. Very ripe and full. Bit lacking in Riesling character and a bit spritzy. Not particularly impressive. However, it definitely has more elegance that number 4.

4. Dr Buerklin-Wolf Gaisboehl Ruppertsberg Edition G.C. 1998
The Gaisboehl Ruppertsberg is a Burklin-Wolf monopol. The GC stands for Grand Cru! 13.5% alc 9 g res sugar.
Fairly rich medium gold. Rather minerally nose. Much deeper and rounded, less fragrant than 3. Good on the palate, very clean. Richer but slightly more together than 3. Very ripe fruit. Not as long as 3. Quite spicy on the finish.

5. Schloss Vollrads Riesling Spaetlese Oestrich-Winkel Rheingau 1999
A halbtrocken now, picked very late (10th December). 11.4% alc, 17g res sugar. The first vintage from the new (bank-owned) regime at Vollrads.
Medium gold. Gorgeous nose - highly perfumed and notably creamy. Very fine attack. Rich flavours, although not as ripe as preceding wines. Could do with a bit more acid. Interesting wine, but a bit short and uni-dimensional.

6. Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett 1999
Pale greenish tinged straw. Beautiful archetypal Mosel nose. Less peachy than the Pfalz & Rhein examples - much more appley now. Rather a complex nose actually. Clean and very fresh attack. Lots of apples and cream developing in the mouth. Certain steeliness to it and a very fine acidity. Superb length with fruit returning after.

7. Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Spaetlese 1999
Bit fuller a colour than 6. Much more minerally and with less fruit on the nose. Nose is really rather closed. Much sweeter than preceding wines, but the acidity develops well in the mouth. Bit reticent - needs more age.

8. Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl Forster Jesuitengarten Riesling Spaetlese 1999
9% alc, 74 g res sugar. Vines 20+ years old.
Very bright medium gold. Massive nose. Lots of peaches and cream. Very ripe and noticeable sugar on the nose. Lovely attack. Rich and very ripe in the mouth, but some good acidity too, making it v. accessible. Great length. A little element of spice on finish and after.

9. Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese 1996
9% alc. Only 55 cases produced.
Startlingly bright medium gold. Rather a lot of CO2 noticable in the glass, though most blows off. Intense full nose - bit of mineral and petrol coming through and a definite touch of honey. Touch slatey too. Quite sweet on the attack. Lots of apple flavours. Some acidity kicks in towards the finish. Great length. Utterly clean and remarkably fresh. This is undoubtedly the star of this dozen.

10. Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Auslese No. 6 1999
8% alc. Small quantities of course.
Pale gold in the glass - not especially bright and perhaps even a bit dull. A light nose - a bit smoky, but very closed indeed. Sweet attack. V rounded but the sweetness dominates the fruit. With a bit of aeration, some fine acidity becomes more evident which stops it becoming at all cloying. Good length.

11. Dr Buerklin-Wolf Wachenheimer Geruempel 'R' 1990
9% alc. 60g res sugar. Although not labelled as such, an Auslese. R stands for Reserve - the wine is not released until after six years.
Medium-deep very yellow gold. Petrol and a touch of honey on the nose. Full attack. Plenty of acidity. Nowhere near as sweet as No. 10. Very fine and elegant - remarkably so for a wine from the Pfalz.

12. Staatlicher Hofkeller Wuerzburger Stein Riesling Eiswein, Wuerzburg Franken 1998
Bit of a rarity this - a Franken wine from a single grape Riesling and sweet to boot. 8% alc. 233g residual sugar. Grapes picked on 22nd November. A mere 650 litres produced. Served from halves (halves of Bocksbeutel, which look even stranger than their full-sized brother!).
Deep honeyed gold with orange tinges. Hints of caramel and raisins on the nose. Rather reticent nose at first, but develops in the glass with very notable dried apricot tones. Very clean nose. Massively concentrated. Extremely well balanced sugar/acidity. Bit simple perhaps, but hugely concentrated and a bit of a treat.


Back to Andrew Stevenson's web page

Last updated: 15 December 2005 13:40