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In the midst of some spring cleaning here at the shop, we couldn't help but stop and muse about how delightful Riesling is, and sometimes we don't drink it enough (sad but true). With Rieslingfeier in our rearview, it's time to look forward to spring and summer libations! From sparkling to still, driest of the dry to sweet, Riesling is a storied companion to many different cuisines, from simple salads to Szechuan feasts with friends. It also makes for a great apéritif or even a palate reset when moving through many courses. We encourage you to try (or revisit) some of these wines, from winemakers in Austria, Germany, and the United States. Stock up for future BBQs, host gifts, park hangs, and to celebrate the longer days ahead! Cari Bernard
Jour Fixe is a blend of (mostly) ungrafted, single-post trained, old-vine Riesling sourced from a high parcel in Ellergrub, the western part of Zollturm, and a steep portion of the Oberemmeler Altenberg in the Saar valley. Zero-dosage, zero free sulfur remains as the base wine only had a small amount added in the cellar. Spontaneous fermentation occurred in barrel and the wine finished its journey via the méthode Champenoise, with second fermentation in the bottle. A warmer vintage like 2015 means a scintillating balance between ripeness and acidity, and a more lush palate. When first opened the wine shows textbook high-toned Riesling, with punchy acidity, a racy mousse and slightly underripe stone fruit with a slight herbaceousness. With a touch of time open, the wine really broadens into an elegant experience, with notes of burnished orange peel, toasted walnut, ripe peach, mango, apples and apricots on the lengthy finish. Cari Bernard
Hollerin has fairly large terraces, with loam and Gföhler gneiss soil. Sometimes thought to be the softer counterpart to nearby Höhereck, this vintage the Hollerin really shines! Sweet mint and ginger on the nose, the palate is zippy and bracing with a mélange of stone fruit and citrus: ripe peach, nectarine, orange and tangerine juice, tart kumquat zest—mouthwatering! Cari Bernard
This is the final vintage you will see this bottle with Rosengartel on the label, due to red-tape and regulations; but let's not forget about this legendary vineyard, where Jutta farms eight rows of vines down the south-facing flank of the Nußberg, on shell limestone soils. Jutta was initially offered four rows from a female winemaker who was close to retirement in 2006. Thinking it was just conversation, Jutta was surprised to receive a phone call the following year from the same winemaker, saying it was time for Jutta to take the parcel. Since then they've been able to add the neighboring four rows to their plot. Jutta maintains that this beautiful vineyard needs ample time before bottling, and the wine remains in stainless steel tank until well into the following fall. White florals, jasmine blossoms on the nose, green mango, nectarine pit, dried herbs, white cherry, green apple all flood the palate, the wine has fantastic density while remaining luminous! Cari Bernard
What an absolute treat to get to check in on this beauty from 2009! Harvest for the Auslese contained around 40% botrytised grapes from the southeast-facing Rothenpfad parcel on the Marienburg. The nose is redolent with muddled fresh mint and the wine is creamy and lively, with soft, rich peaches, honeyed pear, elegant depth and layers. Enjoy now to blow minds with your cheese course or fruit-based desserts, or hold for at least ten more years! Cari Bernard
Hand-harvested from vines grown on gray slate on the Marienburg, the 2016 is focused and stony, with green apricot and white florals on the nose, salted grapefruit, nectarine with mineral cut on the palate. Cari Bernard
Riesling with extended skin-maceration time can sometimes lose its footing, falling into the spectrum of 'cidery'. And of course there's a place for that, but it's very exciting to find wines that still hold onto the acidity and balance of fruit and minerality. Clemens has hit this note, with the 2016 vintage of the (alter) Native—we see extended skin maceration and the wine spends 15 months sur lie in large old German oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Decant for at least a half hour to fully enjoy the subtle texture with notes of burnished peach, yellow apple, white blossom, balanced by juicy nectarine, green herbs and vibrant tangerine acidity. Cari Bernard
Sometimes a barrel will take its sweet time fermenting—in the case of the 2016 ‘Zeit’, the fermentation took 461 days to finish. Sourced from the Bremmer Calmont, one of, if not the steepest vineyard in Europe, the Franzens let the barrel take the time it needed, and the finished wine is delightfully dry-tasting. Lots of times winemakers will increase the temperature in their cellars or tanks to spur on a slow/stuck fermentation, and some winemakers add yeast to kick it back into gear to ferment to full dryness, but the longer a fermentation sustains, the more possibilities arise for development of esters and flavors, complexity, and sometimes, problems. Luckily, the ‘Zeit’ from 2016 made it through and is so fresh and youthful, even spritzig upon opening, it works as a time capsule of the 2016 vintage (it feels like we are opening this bottle in 2017, not 2019); green and herbal, lime zest, white florals, green mango, green plum, and the slightly sweet/tart tang of Lemonheads—an eye-opening Riesling! Cari Bernard
Gernot's parcel of the Ellergrub is 2.2 hectares of ungrafted vines, over 80 years old. Farming is organic, fermentation is spontaneous, and the wine ages in a neutral oak barrels. In a shocking twist, the 2016 Ellergrub is slightly off-dry! The wine boasts a floral elegance and herbal freshness on the nose, yet is still quite dense and rich, with notes of yellow apricot, roses, and white peach skin giving way to a touch of citrus zest and strawberries on the finish. Cari Bernard
Grey sandstone and pebbles mark the Steinacker vineyard, which sits just across the road from the Saumagen vineyard, Koehler-Ruprecht's grand cru site. Gardenias and lemon zest on the nose, the palate is soft and delicate with notes of white strawberries, apricot, peaches, and sweet fuji apple. Cari Bernard
Fass 15, Stirn (forehead), comes from near the top of the Ayler Kupp where the hill curves around; the meager soils, cooler climate and wind at this altitude makes for a site that is often harvested last. Technically off-dry, the residual sugar manifests as fruit and just a bit of weight and creaminess to balance out the acidity. White florals mix with notes of orange, nectarine, and tart tangerine on the finish. Delicious now, should start to really shine in at least 5 years. Cari Bernard
Lambertskirch is a parcel (not too far from Schonfels) that during its long history has gone from vines to fruit trees and forest overgrowth. The Lauer family rented vines on the hillside until the 1990s, when the owners chose to pull up the vines. Florian purchased the plot in 2010, cleared and replanted the 0.2 hectares in 2012 with old-vine cuttings from five different vineyards. 2017 marks the fourth vintage (third as Kabinett) from this predominately southeast-facing site where large pieces of gray slate litter the ground between the vines. Tasting notes forthcoming. Cari Bernard
The Loewen parcel is higher up on the Longuicher Herrenberg, the slope being predominately Devonian slate with some volcanic elements and ungrafted vines planted in 1902. A fantastic Mosel Kabinett! Crisp, scintillating acidity perfectly balanced with sweet juicy nectarine, green apple, and delicate white florals. Incredibly delicious with choucroute and schnitzel, cheese fondue, char siu. Cari Bernard
Ovum is an exciting, predominantly Riesling-based project from winemakers John and Ksenija House from Southern Oregon, based out of the Rogue Valley. The Rogue Valley is in fact made up of the valleys of three separate rivers which are, from West to East: the Illinois River, the Applegate River, and Bear Creek. The Bear Creek Valley is the warmest and driest place in the state of Oregon, whereas the Illinois River Valley, from which this Riesling is sourced, is the coolest and wettest region in the state. Grown in serpentine soils, very rare for viticulture due to its hardness and poor nutrient retention, this is a powerful Riesling with loads of electric acidity and an incredible funky floral character: lime flower, sap, and dense crystalline citric fruit meld together in an amazing, expressive wine. Andrew Farquhar
Schimbock is a west-facing, slightly cooler, tiny parcel of gray and blue slate terraces with ungrafted, old vines with smaller, looser bunches (less-prone to botrytis). The grapes are pressed in a basket press over the span of 18 hours, and the wine ages in old fuder (1000L), whereas Daniel's other wines age in stainless tank. Three and a half days of skin contact gives beautiful structure and balance to the notes of soft white cherry, nectarine, and underripe pineapple--delicious! Cari Bernard
The 'GE' (Grosse Eule) is Alexandra and Konstantin's 'GG' for the vintage, and in 2017 Ellergrub took the honors. Not a surprise though, as the parcel is home to 100-110 year-old ungrafted vines on blue and gray slate, known for concentration, tension, and age-worthiness. Cari Bernard
The original vineyard planted by Mr. Wiemer himself, this wine is from a parcel farmed biodynamically. Cold spontaneous fermentation takes place over the course of months. 65% of the grapes picked two weeks late allow for this wine's beautiful mellow sweetness. 20% fermented in 1000L Hungarian barrels. This is an extraordinarily pretty wine, with delicate, expressive acidic structure laid over with a number of layers of beautiful fruit. Notes of peach, Meyer lemon, and white flowers all mesh together in harmonious accord. Pair with Peking duck, fresh fruit, or blue cheese. Andrew Farquhar