Saturday, February 6, 2010

German wine notes - mostly 2008s

So last evening, I had the pleasure of being a part of Randy's Intro to German wines class at The Wine Country. He opened some pretty terrific wines, and they showed beautifully. And did I mention that each and every wine was a Rudi Wiest import? Randy is SUPER loyal to the Rudi wines, even more than I am, so of course I had to be there!

Randy had a really great line-up of wines, starting off with 5 varieties that were not Riesling, followed by an 08 Kabinett, Spatlese and Auslese from the same producer, same vineyard, the famous J.J. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr, and finally three flights, the first, 2 Kabinetts, the second, 2 Spatleses, and the third, 2 Ausleses.

Here is their story:

2007 Becker Pinot Noir - Great. This wine showed very, very well this evening. No wondering I've been selling it like hotcakes to restaurants, wine bars, and stores. Aromatic on the nose, expressive black cherry; on the palate, rich while still being clean. Not heavy but plenty of Pinot flavor.

2008 Wirsching Estate Silvaner - Great. Refreshing, bright, dry, and crisp, this flavorful white wine was very appealing and made you want to drink a glass or two.

2006 Heger Pinot Gris - Good. Much richer wine next to the Silvaner - darker in color, more concentrated, a more Chardonnay-type of wine, has a barrel-fermented quality to it, was likely fermented/aged in old oak barrels.

2007 Gunderloch Gewurztraminer - Good. Floral on the nose, lots of flower petals. On the palate, just off-dry, spicy, like a Gewurz should be.

2008 Pfeffingen Scheurebe - Outstanding. Crisp and sweet, full of guava and pink grapefruit, nice acidity balancing the residual sugar. Very tasty and addictive wine. I liked it much more than the Gewurz. Thank you Dr. Scheu!

2008 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett - Good. I was surprised that Randy wanted to open three 2008 JJ Prums, as these wines usually don't show well in youth, but Randy was interested in tasted them. As expected, this Kabinett was stinky on the nose, but it didn't smell like sulfur so much as blue cheese and yeast. On the palate, dry-ish, high acid, fresh.

2008 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonneuhr Riesling Spatlese - Good. Superior to the Kabinett in quality - more weight, more fruit, less stinkiness on the nose. Very clean on the palate, great balance.

2008 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese - Stunning. Outstanding. Gorgeous, clean fruit nose, no stink at all. On the palate, you take a sip and you cannot stop. This wine was shockingly delicious, with full, expressive clean non-boytritized fruit, crystalline and pure, weighty without being overly sweet. This is an Auslese for true Riesling lovers. Not shockingly, this wine was sold out in the stores and sold out at the importers, though I will try to bring in a case for Randy if he wants it in a couple of months!

2008 Von Buhl "Armand" Riesling Kabinett - Good. It was hard for me to come back to earth after the most excellent JJ Prum Auslese. But here we were back to a flight of Kabinetts. The Armand showed well, with good acidity and bright fruit. A very good wine for that price point (under $20 retail)

2008 Kunstler Reichstal Riesling Kabinett - Good. I was still struggling with coming down from that Auslese. This single vineyard Kunstler Kabinett is always a winner, with its fleshy, generous core, its majestic Rheingau stature. This wine next to the Armand seemed to show less acidity, but I think this is just the Kunstler style - drinks like a Spatlese.

2008 Von Hovel Scharzhofberger Riesling Spatlese - Great. I love Spatlese. This one was no exeption, but it wasn't one's usual Spatlese - this was definitely full of minerality and acidity. Pronounced slate and rocky flavors, along with sharp acidity put this wine in this renowned Saar vineyard. Made it a more serious Spatlese than many others. A wine geek's wine.

2008 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Spatlese - Great. When does Fritz Haag estate not make a great wine? This wine contrasted with the Von Hovel, showing its charming, softer Mosel qualities. More sweet fruit, acidity that is more rounded, fruit that is brilliantly peachy.

2008 Wegeler Geisenheimer Rothenberg Riesling Auslese - Stunning and outstanding! Wow. I didn't expect this, as I don't drink Wegeler that much. This Auslese was pure, crystal clear, free of botrytis, and absolutely pure pleasure to drink. Concentrated without being too much so, this was I believe my wine of the night. Well, it is a toss-up between the JJ Prum Auslese and this Wegeler Auslese. Perhaps I was also very surprised that these two Ausleses were so enjoyable to me - I thought myself more of a Spatlese person, believing that Auslese can be too sweet for regular drinking. But these two weren't. Maybe because they are from 2008 and have such great acidity; and maybe previous vintages, 2007, 2006 and 2006, the Spatleses were Auslese in disguise. Don't know. Just know that this 08 Wegeler Auslese from the Rheingau was terrific.

2008 Von Buhl Forster Ungeheuer Riesling Auslese - Good. I'm sure the wine was great, but after the Wegeler, I couldn't appreciate it on its own merits. The Ungeheuer was a monster, as its name suggests. Full of boytritis, rich, concentrated, unctuous, palate-coating. If I was just having this on its own with a plate of 2 or 3 different blue cheeses, I'd be happy happy. This wine comes in 375 ml (half bottles) which is perfect, because it packs quite the punch (flavor-wise, not alcohol).

So there it was! Some great German wines.... people loved them.... as did I. Thank you Randy!

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