Riesling

A stunning variety made in a bewildering array of styles from crisp, dry to off-dry and incredibly sweet.

Beyond style, the variety has incredible ability to be consumed young or very old, producing some of the most long-lived white wines of any variety. The sweet German Rieslings also rate as some of the worlds most expensive.

Where is it grown?

In Europe we see plantings in Alsace, France, across many regions in Germany from the Mosel to the Rheinhessen and the Pfalz. Along with Grüner Veltinger, Riesling is widely planted in Austria.

In South Australia, the Clare Valley’s, Polish Hill and Watervale produce stunning Riesling. You’ll find great Riesling coming from the Eden Valley SA, Central Victoria, Canberra, Tasmania, and, from the Great Southern in WA.

There are some cracking Rieslings coming out of New Zealand too!

What does it taste like?

Fresher dry styles tend to have citrus aromas and flavours with floral blossoms. Riper styles introducing stone fruit.

From region to region winemaking changes from simple pressing of fruit and fermentation to dry in stainless steel to use of skin contact and maturation in oak. Layering in different textures and flavours.

Shifting gear to Germany and Alsace the game of balancing sugar, alcohol and acid comes into play. From dry 12.5-13% wines we shift to lower alcohol dry wines and then the freshest of the sweet wines, the Kabinett styles. Coming in with as little as 7.5% sugar the trick is achieving balance with higher acidity. From Kabinett we mover through an array of styles increasing in sweetness and alcohol, heading all the way to the very sweet botrytis style Trockenbeerenauslese & Icewein made from frozen grapes.

You can read more about the different styles of Riesling made in Germany in the Wine Bites Mag articles exploring Riesling.

Off-dry Riesling lends itself beautifully to pairing with many Asian foods. Aged, sweeter, botrytis styles are perfect with cheese and fresher fruit desserts. Fresh, citrus styles are perfect with seafood and lighter poultry.

Fritz Haags 💯 Rizza's

Fritz Haag’s 2020 Rizza

Another set of sensational Rizza from one of the Mosel’s top producers! The Kabinett is here with the remaining Prädikat wines arriving in September.

Kabinett

Spätlese

Auslese

Auslese Gold Cap

What’s with the Gold Cap?
The Germans didn’t think having the longest wine names on the planet was enough so they added more info! Instead of writing it on the label they decided to change the colour of the capsules. For Fritz they go from white to gold and then there are the long gold caps. Enter the cryptic crossword of wine! 

For some Gold Cap means a little selection of the best vino, others it also entails the introduction of Bortytised fruit into the mix. Then the Long Gold Caps may refer to an Auction wine, that’s another story altogether.

I’ll sum it up this way. Normal Cap very good, Gold Cap excellent, Long Gold Cap MIND BLOWN! (theoretically)

Max Ferdinand Richter 2019 Mosel Rizza

Exceptional Value!

Over the years I kept coming across Richter’s vino at Resto’s and events, somehow I never got around to trying a decent set in one sitting or throwing them on the list. That changes now! Richter’s Rizza’s have a divine harmony, and, layering to them. These are stunning Mosel wines. There is something about fermenting and ageing in old wood that works wonderfully for these wines. The gentle oxidation and fermentation kinetics bring the wines together beautifully!

Kabinett


The universality of the 2019 vintage is best underlined by the huge number of Estates that were able to land highlights in ALL stylistic directions, from dry to noble-sweet. In 2019, A.J. Adam, Clemens Busch, Falkenstein, Fritz Haag, Loersch, Carl Loewen, Maximin Grünhaus, Max Ferd. Richter, Günther Steinmetz, and Weiser-Künstler all managed this tour de force.
Mosel Fine Wines

Spätlese

Auslese

Trockenbeerenauslese

Selbach Oster's 2019 Riesling

“Great Mosel Kabinett should be like drinking cool spring water; thirst quenching and delicious.” says Johannes Selbach. Mosel Rieslings have a balance which should be found in dry wines as well as the sweet. It is this tension between acidity, fruit and minerality which is Riesling’s unique and defining character.

Johannes explains “I personally prefer, like my late father and grandfather, less sweetness in ‘sweet’ wines, and love a firm texture that I would describe as ‘crunch’; like when you bite into a ripe fruit with firm skin and flesh. Hence we are making more fruity wines than obviously ‘sweet’ wines.” The sweetness is that of biting into perfectly ripe fruit, where you have the combination of juiciness and mouth-watering acidity at the same time, like biting into a perfectly ripe apple (Kabinett), peach and apricot (Spätlese) or of ripe tropical fruit (Auslese). Clean Botrytis will add elements of honey and smokiness to good Mosel Riesling. Riesling, regardless of style, should have a mineral core and acid backbone which are the structure, the spine and bones of the wine, supporting the fruit components.

Compared to Richter’s wines, Oster’s are definitely an edge drier.

Kabinett

Selbach aims for a typical Mosel style, which reflects the minerality of the rocky Devonian slate soils, as well as the elegance and finesse of the Riesling fruit in clear, crisp, elegant, low alcohol, yet full‐flavored handcrafted wines.
Stephan Reinhardt, The Finest Wines of Germany

Spätlese

Feinherb

Feinherb is a traditional term that indicates quality and has been permitted on German wine labels since 2000. There is no strict definition, nor is it legally defined, however many growers use it for wines that are off-dry. Feinherb is often used in place of the less popular designation ‘halbtrocken’, as well as for wines that are slightly sweeter than regulations dictate for halbtrockens.

Halbtrocken is a German term meaning “half-dry”. It designates wines that have between 5 and 18 g/l of residual sugar depending on the total acidity.The term is considered outdated and is used with declining frequency.

Maestro of the Mosel: Markus Molitor's

The Molitor Colour Code

Molitor avoids using the traditional categories to indicate ‘dryness’ in Riesling. He claims his “focus is on the harmonious taste and balance of the wine which cannot be determined solely by analysis of residual sugar content and total acidity”. Instead, the colour of the capsule indicates the style and respective flavour profile of his Rieslings: white represents classically fermented wines; green is feinherb, the historical medium-dry style of Mosel wines; gold indicates richer, nobly sweet wines, including berry-selection styles Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese.

Spätlese

Auslese

Müller-Catoir's 2019 Pfalz Rizzas!

Gunderloch's 2019's

2019's from The Mighty Busch!

I had the incredible pleasure of meeting Clemens Busch just prior to the 2020 pandemic hitting Australia. Tasting with him and listening to his carefully thought out responses to my typically probing questions was exhilarating. We may have been in a pokie, slightly stuffy room, his wines still transported me to another place.

A maker of mostly dry wines in the Mosel is not common. Historically those I have tried, even at GG level, have generally lacked that something special, the spark that takes you from solid to stunning.

I’ve often thought it to be in the élévage, the wines have been too raw, unfinished, lacking harmony.

Clemens wines were a revelation! Crystalline & translucent with incredible depth and length, elegance and refinement, yet wines of substance of flavour and texture. Sophisticated, yet, worldly.

They are a wonderful contrast to the richer styles from regions like the Rheinhessen, once again showing the diversity of styles Riesling offers.

The Slates – Due August

The GG’s – Due October

The Spätlese – Due October

The Auslese – Due October

Cellar Release 2017's from The Mighty Busch!

Willi's Wines!

***Willi’s 2019’s are Pre-Arrival due Aug-Sept 2021***

***Bottle Shots Are Different to the Wines. Read the Tittle!***

Willi Schaefer makes the kind of complete, divine wines full of personality that just make me happy🙂

Off-Dry


Kabinett

Spatlëse


Auslese




Beerenauslese

“It is important to us that our Rieslings are light, playful and yet very strong in character. They should reflect their origins. The DOMPROBST is rather spicy and wild and the HIMMELREICH is more fruity and charming. Our wines should remain appetizing and never be sticky-sweet. We also prefer our dry Rieslings to be light in alcohol. The tremendous minerality gives the wines tension and flatters the fruit sweetness as a counterpoint. We don’t like to talk about analyses. One should taste the wines and form one’s own opinion. For us, perfect Riesling is something magical and refined, perhaps something like a dream. Light and yet tasty, long-lasting, playful and with incredible ripening potential.”
Christoph Schaefer

Julian Haart's Piesporter 2019's

The Beginning!

Kabinett

Spätlese

Rheinhessen Switcheroo!

Where in the World is Julian Haart?

Julian Haart is based in Piesporter further south down the Mosel River from Welen and Graach. Piesporter’s famous vineyards are Goldtröpchen, Schubertslay (being made extra famous by Keller’s purchase of a parcel), Domherr and Kreuztwingert.

He does a fruit exchange with Keller grabbing a few bunches of the Rheinhessen GG Frauenberg.

The German VDP has an excellent interactive map covering the wine growing regions of Germany. Clink on the Map to go to the live version. The map highlights his family’s winery. His relatively new estate hasn’t been added yet.

Rheingau Riesling Master Weil in Action!

Dönhoff's 2019's

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