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Hooked on a feeling

St. Urbans-Hof  2002 Piesporter Goldtröpchef Riesling Spätlese 034 03 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – Bottles come and bottles go of this wine, which I bought in quantity a while back on very deep discount, and both the goers and comers are variable with a side of disappointment. This is just as variable as the rest, but less disappointing than most, showing a liquefied aluminum base on which have been sprinkled some lemongrass-infused apple salts, plus a more stone-fruited finish. Does any of the previous mean or say anything of relevance to the terroir? Well… (6/12)

Street splitter

Donaldson Family “Main Divide” 2005 Riesling (Waipara Valley) – Vivacious, and I mean that in more than one sense: there’s a ton of spritz here, which really livens up an otherwise directly, icily fruity wine full of green-toned sorbets. Developing nicely, with just a hint of petrol, and really fun. (6/12)

Weg the dog

Zind-Humbrecht 1998 Riesling Herrenweg de Turckheim (Alsace) – Past it, which…even though this is from the ripeness-fetishizing house of ZH…is a bit of a surprise from what was a good year for riesling. There’s plenty of size, still, but it’s dried out and curling like old paper. (6/12)

Hail Faller, well-met

Faller “Domaine Weinbach” 2008 Riesling (Alsace) – Striving. And, it must be acknowledged, reaching. Even at the lowest end, these are wines of ambition and force, and the vintage provides an opportunity for a bit of strut and swagger. Green apple (ripe), key lime, molten aluminum. Striking, exceedingly well-balanced, and very long. No, it’s not the most complex or mineral-driven riesling of all time, but it’s the entry-level, and under that nomenclature it succeeds. Wildly. The price? Well… (5/12)

Badstube the good toe

Dr. H. Thanisch 2007 Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett 15 08 (Mosel) – Iron-jacketed lime, iron hammers on steel. Ultimately, though, kinda boring. No, not kinda…a lot boring.  A stage? One hopes. (5/12)

Pull it

Ravines 2010 Dry Riesling (Finger Lakes) – Starts clean, finishes jumbled. Direct apple mainlining becomes feathery, a sense of minerals bound to acidity turns alternately puckery and sweet. It’s not bad, but it tastes of effort. (5/12)


Trimbach 1998 Riesling “Cuvée Frédérique Émile” (Alsace) – Not decanted. There’s some friendly disagreement about this wine; I think it’s still closed, another taster – also quite familiar with the wine – thinks it’s tiring. (It’s not, for the concerned, suffering from premature oxidation.) It’s true that it’s not showing much other than a milky mineralistic texture and a restrained yet tense structure, but the duration of its persistence without weakening is what convinces me that it’s intact and progressing properly. (5/12)

Mann overboard

JL&F Mann 2005 Riesling (Alsace) – Not a producer with which I’m overly familiar (I of course know the more famous Albert Mann quite well). This is a fairly impressive entry-level riesling, full of iced-pear and sharpened-flake minerality. It’s on the short side, as is typical for Alsatian rieslings of lesser repute, but while it lasts it’s quite delicious. (2/12)

Mader hen

Mader 2008 Riesling (Alsace) – Straightforward and correct, with the kind of dry muscularity that used to be the dominant paradigm for Alsatian riesling. Hollows somewhat as it lingers. (2/12)

Green Panama

Schloss Johannisberg 2001 Schloss Johannisberger Grünlack Spätlese Riesling 009 02 (Rheingau) – Powerful. In the battle between molten metal and Cream of Age, the skyscraper material is winning. Not at all dry, no, but there’s so much liquid steel and seething acidic lightning here that it’s difficult to notice or care much. And yet, it’s not – in the pantheon of German riesling – all that acidic, given the place and time whence it hails. The balance is, right now, just about perfect, but I think it’s very far from full maturity. Nonetheless, it’s ready for exploratory encounters, should one now wish to begin same. (2/12)