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.


The best 10 German dry Riesling wines

November 25, 2009

It was a bit disappointing for a native from the Mosel River to read through the list of best dry Riesling wines of Gault Millau’s newly released wine guide 2010.

Among the best German dry Riesling wines of 2007 and 2008 there was not a single one from the Mosel, Saar or Ruwer.

I know that my home region is more famous for its semi-dry and sweet Rieslings but…

The good news it that a wine from the Nahe where my materal grandfather had introduced me to dry wines many decades ago was ranked the second highest.

Moreover, the vintner of the year is also from the Nahe. Tim Fröhlich (35) was awarded this prestigious title. The family estate Schäfer-Fröhlich is one of the best wineries in the Nahe Region and produces outstanding dry and sweet wines.

The winner for best dry Riesling (with 96 points) was a wine from the Pfalz, a ‘Forster Kirchenstück GC’ by Dr. Bürklin-Wolf (70 €). Emrich-Schoenleber received 95 point for a ‘Halenberg Grosses Gewächs’ (29 €). Among the top ten five Riesling wines came from Pfalz, two from Rheingau and Rheinhessen each and one wine from the Nahe.

That the Franconian wines were missing from the list was a further disappointment. Also in Franconia the 2007 and 2008 vintages were outstanding (as is the 2009).

Two other wines received 95 points, a ‘Abtserde Grosses Gewächs by Keller Estate, Rheinhessen and a ‘Forster Pechstein GC’ also by Dr. Bürklin-Wolf, Pfalz (35 €). 94 points were awarded to three wines: a ‘Deidesheimer Hohenmorgen GC’ by Dr. Bürklin-Wolf (35 €), a Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg by Georg Breuer, Rheingau (40 €) and a ‘G-Max’, also by Keller Estate, Rheinhessen (I found a price of 160 € from an internet sales website). From some chat on the internet I got the impression that you won’t see a bottle on any shelf. This wine is “rationed” and reserved for special customers. Keller estate was “the producer of the year 2006” of Gault Millau.

Two wines were given 93 points: ‘Kastanienbusch Grosses Gewächs’ by Rebholz Estate, Pfalz (32 €), and ‘Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland Alte Reben Goldkapsel’ by Josef Leitz, Rheingau (65 €). Wine number 10 received 92 points and it was a ‘Birkweiler Kastanienbusch Schiefer’ by Siener Estate, Pfalz (16.50 €). This is the only wine in my price-range.

Needless to say that all the wine gurus of the world have written about these wines and these producers, John Gilman, Jancis Robinson, Eric Assimov to name only a few. Some of the wine reviews you can find on the internet, some of them are linked by the specific estate named above. It seems there is lots of research to be done.

Go wine enthusiast. You can, of course, also buy the wine guide, Gault Millau.


The best German vintners and wine makers

June 1, 2009

Threewinegods

The wine gods (photo taken from a building in Berlin)

Its certainly a great honour to be called “vintner of the year”. Since 1994 Gault Millau, Germany’s wine guide and major authority regarding wine, wine business and the wine sector, is awarding the “vintner of the year” award.

Today the total number of vintners of the year is 16, seven of which come from the Mosel wine region. The current one, however, comes from the Pfalz (Knipser brothers).

But in the years 2007 (Theo Haart, Mosel), 2005 (Kartaeuserhof, Ruwer), 2001 (Loosen, Mosel), 1998 (Mueller-Scharzhof, Saar), 1996 (Joh. Jos. Pruem, Mosel), 1995 (von Schubert, Ruwer) and 1994 (Fritz Haag, Mosel) the vintner of the year came from my home, the Mosel river and its tributaries.

(Remark: the Mosel wine region was originally called: Mosel-Saar-Ruwer)

No other German wine region has provided that many “champions”. So far the Nahe and Pfalz wine regions had two vintners of the year; and Rheinhessen, Rheingau, Frankonia, Ahr and Baden had one each (for the names of the vintners of the year: Gault Millau).

I came about this fact only by accident while researching a story, I was going to write. I have to find more Mosel wines here in Bangkok, I guess. Wish me luck.


Germany’s Best Riesling Wines 2007

August 30, 2008

Riesling vineyards in Olewig, Trier

The wine magazine – Weinwelt (Aug./Sept. edition) – I picked up at Frankfurt Airport when leaving Germany in August carried an article on the best Riesling wines in 2007.

About 1.500 wines were entered into this tasting and the overall winner (with 93 points) was

● Weingut Geheimer Rat Dr. von Bassermann-Jordan, Pfalz wine region with a
‘2007 Auf der Mauer Riesling QbA, dry’

Among the top seven wines were 4 from Pfalz, one from Austria, one from Rheinhessen and one from Franconia. For someone like me, a native of the Mosel, it is devastating that no wine from my home region was among the best seven.

Another Riesling competition in Bingen/Rhein in July had a record entry of almost 2,000 wines (1,937 to be exact) from 754 producers from almost all wine producing regions in Germany and from Austria, Canada, Australia, Luxembourg, France, USA, and New Zealand. Most of the non-European Riesling wines came (surprise), of course, from Australia.

The show is conducted every two years and 160 judges of an international jury assesses wines according to the international wine bureau (OIV) standards. The full report of this tasting can be found on www.riesling.de under the rubric “best of Riesling 2008”. In the category “dry Riesling wines”, the winner came from the Rheingau wine region:

● Weingut W.J. Schaefer in Hochheim for the
‘2007 Hochheimer Kirchenstueck Spaetlese’.

Number 2 came from the Mosel:

● Weingut Frank Brohl, Puenderich for the
‘2007 Puendericher Nonnengarten Spaetlese’

and from Pfalz,

● Weingut Emil Zimmermann in Wachenheim for the
‘2007 Wachenheimer Koenigswingert Spaetlese’.

In the “semi-dry Riesling category” wines from Rheinhessen, Mosel and Nahe could be found among the three top wines. However, the “sweet wine category” was dominated by Mosel wines.

There will be many more shows and wine tastings in the coming months. In July this year, when we tasted the 2007 vintage at Van Volxem Winery (Wiltingen, Saar), the “grand cru” wines were not yet presented because their release was scheduled for fall.

Given the fact that most wineries have not yet officially released their “gand cru” or, as the Germans say, “grosse Gewaechse”-wines, we will witness great quality Riesling wines of the 2007 vintage hitting the market later this year. That’s what I call wonderful prospects for us wine lovers.

My favorite Riesling from the Saar

PS: From October 14-18, 2008 the 2008 Canberra International Riesling Challenge will be conducted. For the first time in the history of the event, the number of entries has surpassed 500 wines (506 total entries), with a record number from Germany (99 entries). Let us see what the outcome may be.


The top 100 Wineries in Germany

June 14, 2007

Today, I visited the website of the winery Adolf Schick (Jugenheim/Rheinhessen) which I had visited with a group of Indonesian politicians some years ago. The visit and the tasting was a great adventure, because Mr. Schick was so enthusiastic about his wines and his family business with a tradition of winemaking going back to 1590!

Our Indonesian guests were very impressed and so was I. Well, as an Australian boutique vineyard vintner I find a family business going back to 1590 very remarkable. At that time kangaroos were hopping through the forests where today, Two Hills Vineyard is located, I guess.

w_gut.jpg

Weingut Adolf Schick in the heart of Jugenheim

The winery is located in the village of Jugenheim, a very charming place, which I know from own experience. The family does not only produce high quality wines, it also owns the Hotel Weedenhof. The hotel’s restaurant is very good too. We had lunch there. The vineyard consists of 9.8 ha planted with the Burgundy varieties, Chardonnay, Rieling, Kerner, Portugieser and Dornfelder. Needless to mention that the wines won many local and national awards. The wines are very reasonably priced and you will find a wide range of different products including grape juice. All my Indonesian friends all bought some bottles of it.

As in previous years, the Weingut Adolf Schick (www.weingutschickjugenheim.de) was also in 2006 ranked (by the DLG, the German Agricultural Society) among the 100 best wineries in Germany (rank 47). Only 12 wineries from Rheinhessen can be found in the top 100. From my home region, the Mosel, 11 wineries made it into the list (www.wein.de), and only one of them came from Trier (Weingut Deutschherrenhof). I loaded down the list to plan my next excursion to German wineries when I will be visiting again in September. Happy tastings ahead of me, I guess.