Best Australian Riesling 2012 – I need to try harder

February 7, 2013

Dr. Loosen Riesling

Author with a Dr. Loosen Riesling from the Mosel

As a man from the Mosel, I love the Riesling wines grown on the steep slopes of the valley. This is not to say that there are no other good Riesling wines elsewhere.

I also love the Rieslings from Rheinhessen, the Rheingau, the Pfalz and Alsace of course. When it comes to Riesling wines from my adopted home Australia, I still had not the necessary exposure which I very much regret.

Recently two Australian Rieslings won the top awards at two major wine shows in Australia. The ‘2012 Ravensworth Riesling’ a single vineyard wine produced by Ravensworth Wines, was the best wine of the 2012 Canberra International Riesling Challenge.

And the ‘2012 The Lodge Hill dry Riesling’ by Jim Barry Wines was awarded the honor of best table wine at the National Wine Show of Australia.

This is something. This is big. But what is even better is the pricing of these wines. The Ravensworth Riesling retails for A$ 20 and the Lodge Hill Dry Riesling for A$ 22. This is quality for money, I assume, and you need to buy now, because who knows how long this will last.

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Food and wine pairing: Pasta and Steinberger Riesling, Kloster Eberbach

November 2, 2012

My readers know that I adore Riesling wines. Here is another one which we had with a delicious pasta (see photo above) the other day. The intensity of the tomatoe sauce was matched by the vivid citrus aromas, the fine balance of the acids and the mineral character of the Riesling from the Rheingau, Germany.

The ‘2011 Steinberger Riesling trocken (dry)’ by the famous estate of Kloster Eberbach is a great drop for every day consumption. It is their basic wine, and at the cost of 8.90 Euro it is quite affordable. The wine has all what it takes to be an excellent Riesling.

Enjoy.

As the name “Steinberger” suggests, the vineyard is a kind of “stone hill” and just located nearby the monastry. For centuries fine wines were produced from this terroir. The short video below gives you an idea about it.


Winery of the Year 2012 – The German Champions

October 12, 2012

In the last week of September three of my favourite German wineries were honoured by the Wine & Spirits Magazine, and included in the top 100 list of the best wineries of the world in 2012.

The three wineries are the following:

1. Dr. Loosen, Bernkastel, Mosel
The winery has been in the Loosen family for more than 200 years. Ernst Loosen took over in 1988, and, as they say, the rest is history. Dr. Loosen is maybe one of the best known German vintners in the international wine scene. I was so happy when Barrique, my local wine shop in Healesville, Victoria was carrying Dr. Loosen wines.

Address:
Winery Dr. Loosen,
St. Johannishof
54470 Bernkastel, Mosel
Tel.: +49-6531-3426
info@drloosen.com
www.drloosen.com

2. C. von Schubert, Mertesdorf, Ruwer, Mosel
This winery has also a long tradition. The “Grünhaus”, as the estate is also known, was already mentioned in ancient documents in 966 when it belonged to the Benedictine monastery of Saint Maximin in Trier.

Carl von Schubert, the current owner-operator, belongs to the fifth generation of the von Schubert family. The estate produces outstanding wines and was awarded many national and international prices. I tasted some of the Maximin Grünhäuser 2011 vintage dry Riesling wines during our summer vacation

Address:
Dr. Carl von Schubert
Hauptstr. 1
54318 Mertesdorf
Tel.:+49-651-5111
Fax: +49-651-52122
info@vonschubert.de
www.vonschubert.com

3. Robert Weil, Kiedrich, Rheingau
The winery was set-up in 1875. The founder was the university professor Robert Weil who taught German at the Sorbonne in Paris. The Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71 forced him to return to his native Germany. He settled down in Kiedrich, Rheingau and extended his vineyards and laid the foundation for today’s estate. In 2010 I found some bottles of the Robert Weil 2008 vintage in a Bangkok wine shop. Delicious.

Address:
Winery Robert Weil
Mühlberg 5
65399 Kiedrich, Rheingau
Tel.: +49-6123 2308
Fax: +49-6123 1546
info(at)weingut-robert-weil.com
www.weingut-robert-weil.com


Food and wine pairing: vegetable soup and Riesling?

September 28, 2012

Our vegetable soup

As you probably know summer days in Germany can be chilly. This is not a big deal because the appropriate food is easy to find. How about a real vegetable soup? Not one out of a tin but with real veggies, cut into small pieces and cooked with just the best stock. And how about some home made bread as well?

Sounds yum. I tell you.

But what about a wine? Should it be red? Should it be white?

Well, my choice was a young and fresh Riesling from the Rheingau. From my recent visit of Schloss Johannisberg, Rheingau I had brought a bottle of ‘2011 Schloss JOhannisberg dry Riesling’ from the “Gelblack” series.

I got the bottle from the cellar door for 13.70 Euro/bottle. The alcohol content is 12.5%, residual sugar is 7.9 g/l, and total acidity is 7.5 g/l. The colour is a beautiful straw yellow. It shows lush aromas of green apple and tropical fruit. The acidity is charmingly fresh and zesty.

We gave the wine no chance to age and show it’s long-term potential. The young fragrant Riesling complemented the creamy soup with its carrots, cellery and other fresh garden-vegetables very well.

Cheers and enjoy!


Assmannshausen Hoellenberg Spaetlese – Best Pinot Noir of my summer holidays

August 28, 2012

View of the Rhine from Bingen looking downstream

Well, if you could just see around the bend in the river, you could see Assmannshausen and its steep vineyards. The vineyards you see in the distance on the other side of the Rhine river here in the photo above are in fact the ones of Ruedesheim. However, you will get a good idea how steep these terroirs are and what a hell of a lot of work it is to cultivate the grapes on these steep slopes.

‘Hoellenberg’is the name of the location (terroir) which means in English (freely translated) ‘mountain of hell’, a quite common name for steep slopes in the Rheingau wine region.

In short, the best Pinot Noir (spaetlese, late harvest) I tasted during my five weeks in Germany was a ‘2010 Hoellenberg Pinot Noir Spaetlese’ from Assmannshausen produced by Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau.

2010 Assmannshausen Hoellenberg Spaetlese – Pinot Noir

I bought the bottle in the wine shop at Kloster Eberbach for about 17-18 Euro, I think and it turned out to be a treasure. Pinot Noir of the finest kind. Pinot Noir the way I like it, full of flavours but well balanced, earthy with a vibrant acidity, a good body, structure and a long finish. A wine with character.

At 12.5. % alcohol, this wine is not overpowering but elegant, regal I would even say. I immediately regretted that I had not bought more bottles. I was to fast, as always, impatient. At the time I did not want to stand in line for the tasting on this busy Sunday afternoon when we had dropped in the cellar door at the monastery in Eberbach.

A selection of cheeses and salads

We had the wine in a very casual way with some summer dishes, salads and typical German dinner cold cuts and an insalata caprese. The wine would have matched almost any food except some spicy Asian dishes. but it is worth being enjoyed as stand alone drink.

My rating: four and a half out of five stars, 19 of 20 points, 90 Parker points. I could not be more subjective, I guess. In hindsight and given my memory lapses, I consider this the best wine I drank during my summer vacation.

The only one exception maybe was the wine tasting at Karthaeuserhof in Eitelsbach which I attended at the last day of the holiday, but then we merely tasted (small amounts of excellent wines in big glasses and without food) and did not drink a bottle of wine.

More about this event, another time. Stay tuned to the Man from Mosel River.


Kloster Eberbach, Rheingau

August 7, 2012

The Rheingau wine region

Because of a flight delay we had a couple of hours on our hands with nothing to do. This provided us with an unexpected but welcome opportunity to visit the Rheingau wine region. So where to go and what to do?

Some years ago I had been to Eltville, one of the many small and pretty settlements with extensive wine culture and history. Last year in November I met a couple of professors from the famous wine institute in Geisenheim, Rheingau at the 3rd International Symposium on Tropical Wine in Chiang Mai, which further nurtured my curiosity in the Rheingau wine region.

So I typed “Kloster Eberbach” into the navigation system of the hired car and off we went to this place near Eltville which I had always wanted to visit. We were looking for some mix of culture and wine. In no time we were cruising the country roads of the Rheingau.

Vineyards and farm buildings

The region on the right side of the Rhein river between Wiesbaden and Assmannshausen is like a Garden Eden of the modern world. The slopes of prime vineyard land descend gently towards the Rhein river. The land is very fertile and the climate very suitable for the production of first class wines, mainly Riesling.

The top of the mountain ridges of the southern Taunus are crowned with deep forests. Many of the villages and settlements are very beautiful. Every year millions of tourist flock to places like Ruedesheim, Geisenheim, Erbach and Eltville.

The Eberbach monastery

Our destination, the Eberbach Monastery, formerly a Cistercian Abbey, is a kind of museum today. We had a look at the old church, the cloister and the various rooms used by its monks from the 12th century until the French revolution and the secularization of church property under Napoleon.

Fortunately, the grape-growing and wine-making tradition of the monks has been preserved. Today the state of Hessia is the owner of the vineyards and winery “Kloster Eberbach”. The monastery offers a range of programs related to wine, special tastings for instance in the historic wine cellar, and has a “vinothek”, a kind of cellar door or wine shop.

The wine shop of Kloster Eberbach

The “vinothek” wine shop does not only offer the wines of Kloster Eberbach but also of vintners and wineries of the surrounding villages and terroirs. The shop was packed with buyers on this Sunday afternoon. I browsed through the various shelves with wines from different locations and of different quality categories. I tried to stick to a certain budget which did not allow for grand cru wines.

My selection

In the end I settled for three wines only, one Riesling and two Pinot Noir wines. The Riesling came from the most famous and oldest terroir called “Steinberg” (stone mountain) right behind the monastery. The Pinot Noir Spaetlese from Assmannshausen was a bit pricier (17.40 EURO). It should turn out to be the best Pinot Noir I drank while holidaying in good old Germany.

Address:
Kloster Eberbach Winery
65346 Eltville am Rhein
Tel.: +49-6723-6046-0
www.kloster-eberbach.de

PS: When I studied agricultural economics at Bonn University, my master thesis was (among others) also dealing with the farming activities of the Cistercian monasteries and how they influenced land markets. I had visited Himmerod Abbey, a Cistercian monastery near Trier, but had never visited the equally famous Eberbach Abbey.


Rheingau Riesling

July 31, 2012

When traveling through Frankfurt, I always try to pick up a bottle of German wine on the airport. This time it was a ‘2011 Riesling Classic dry’ by the Kloster Eberbach winery in the Rheingau.

Little did I know at the time that I would be visiting this place during my holidays a few weeks later. In fact I would return to this wine region twice within two weeks time.

To say it in a nutshell, Kloster Eberbach is a fabulous place.

It used to be a Cistercian Monastry (by the way in my master thesis I wrote about Cistercian monastries and their farming enterprises which were quite modern as regards organization and management).

Grape production and wine-making have a long tradition in this place. Today it is owned and operated by the state of Hessia.

This is their “normal” Riesling wine brand, nothing fancy but just a solid German Riesling, the way I like it. The wine is crisp and fresh with great aromas and a good body.

I will tell you more about Kloster Eberbach soon,