Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2013 Wines from the Nahe and one from the Mittelrhein

I'll get around to posting a general overview of the 2013 vintage in Germany, but in the interest of getting out what I already have written, I'm posting those notes first. Basically, the vintage was not easy, with a lot of bad botrytis to sort out and very high acidities, especially in the northern regions. If you found 2010 and 1996 to be too acidic for you, you may want to approach 2013s with caution, although some producers did de-acidify or allow wines to undergo malolactic fermentation. Generally, my experience has been that the more southerly regions were more consistent in 2013 (with some of the greatest young Silvaners I've ever tasted coming from Franken). Nevertheless, when speaking of top producers such as these, the wines are extremely good, even if not quite up to the level of 2012. As you can see, there is very little noble sweet wine (Auslese and above).

GG is used below as an abbreviation for Grosses Gewächs, a designation for top dry wines from top vineyards, but only those in the hands of members of the prestigious VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikats- und Qualitätsweingüter) organization for Grosses Gewächs, the designation that the VDP uses for top dry wines of its producers from their top vineyards. As a result, though, vineyards such as the Maximiner Grünhäuser Abtsberg and Herrenberg of Dr. C. von Schubert cannot qualify for GG status because the estate is not a VDP member. Nevertheless, the vineyards and the wines are universally recognized as among the best in Germany. See for further information on GG

In the notes below, I have mostly used the wording given on the label I have seen. Thus dry = trockenhalbtrocken off dry (but halbtrocken today usually means dry-tasting, and feinherb is usually used to designate an off-dry wine),Pinot Noir Spätburgunder. Words in parentheses are not found (by me) on the front label, but are indicated on the back label. However, labels can vary significantly by market or shipment. Scores in parentheses indicate that I tasted a cask sample.

One increasing, and I think positive, trend is to label all trocken wines as QbA; it makes sense because a Kabinett trocken and an Auslese trocken are the same style of wine, which is not true with fruity-style Kabinett and Auslese.


2013 (Traiser) Bastei Riesling gg 92/A
The Bastei GG is medium-weight and shows some spice with good clarity.

Schlossgut DIEL
2013 rosé de diel 88/A

2013 Riesling trocken   nahestein 91/A-
2013 (Dorsheim) Burgberg Riesling gg 90+/B+
2013 (Dorsheim) Pittermännchen Riesling gg 94/A
2013 (Dorsheim) Goldloch Riesling gg 90+/B+

2013 Riesling Kabinett 92/A
2013 (Dorsheim) Goldloch Riesling Spätlese 94/A
2013 (Dorsheim) Goldloch Riesling Auslese 93+/A-
Caroline Diel continues to turn out excellent wines here. The Rosé de Diel is from Pinot Noir. The wine has red berry fruit with purity and good intensity. It’s not cheap but will provide you with an excellent rosé.

The trocken “Nahestein” is crisp, pure, light, nervy, penetrating, and stony – a very good example of dry Nahe Riesling. The Burgberg GG shows some crispness and is medium-light and fairly austere for now with light peach fruit. There is good potential for future development. Especially impressive is the Pittermännchen GG, a wine that is mineral, light, clear, pure, incisive, and elegant. Just what one wants from the Nahe. The Goldloch GG is rounder than the Pittermännchen with more substance and good finesse, but not quite the precision of the Pittermännchen.

Diel’s excellent Kabinett shows chipped stone perfume. In the mouth, the wine is off-dry with peach flavors. 8.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 08 14. The Goldloch Spätlese is nervy and pure with yellow peach flavors, finesse, and just a touch of sweetness. The Goldloch Auslese, with just a little botrytis, is perfumed and floral in the nose. The mouth is medium-weight, long, pure and delicious with peach flavors. Importer: Michael Skurnik, New York.

2013 Riesling trocken    tonschiefer 90/B+
2013 (Roxheimer) Höllenpfad Riesling trocken 90/B+
2013 (Norheimer) Dellchen Riesling gg 93+/A
2013 (Niederhäuser) Hermannshöhle Riesling gg 93+/A
2013 (Schlossböckelheimer) Felsenberg Riesling gg 94/A

2013 Oberhäuser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett 89(+)/A-
2013 Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spätlese 92/A
2013 Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese 92+/A
2013 Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese 94/A
Cornelius Dönnhoff said that production was off 50% for the basic wines, but “only” 30% for the better vineyards. The trocken “Tonschiefer” is nervym light, and penetrating, a very good introduction to Dönnhoff’s dry style. 12% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 03 14. The Höllenpfad trocken has white peach aromas. The mouth is light and nervy with white peach skin flavors. 13% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 19 14. The Dellchen GG is elegant with yellow peach skin aromas. The mouth shows yellow peach flavors, elegance, finesse, and penetration. The Hermannshöhle GG shows mineral peach aromas. The mouth is delicate and pure with elegant, subtle peach flavors. The Felsenberg GG shows ripe peach fruit, finesse, length, and good acidity.

The Oberhäuser Lesitenberg Kabinett shows some sweetness with peach aromas and flavors, but the wine could use a touch more concentration. 9.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 5 14. The Norheimer Kirschheck Spätlese is medium sweet with some tropical fruit to go with its peach fruit. The wine is medium-weight and round. 8.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 11 14. The Oberhäuser Brücke Spätlese is medium-weight, round, smooth, and easy, with some penetration. The Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Spätlese has lime fruit and is pure, penetrating, and nervy, making for a superb wine. 9.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 08 14. Importer: Michael Skurnik, New York.

2013 (Monzinger) Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling gg 92/A
2013 (Monzinger) Halenberg Riesling gg 93/A
The Frühlingsplätzchen GG is round, smooth, and nervy with peach and mineral aromas and flavors. The Halenberg GG has a dusty nose. The mouth is intense, pure, mineral, long, and nervy.

2013 (Traiser) Bastei Riesling gg 92+/A
2013 (Schlossböckelheim) Hermannsberg Riesling gg 92/A
2013 (Schlossböckelheim) Kupfergrube Riesling gg 90/B+
Hermannsberg’s Bastei GG is salty, medium-light, nervy, and mineral – a very good dry Nahe. The Hermannsberg GG has earthy, mineral aromas, followed by lightness in the mouth with purity, smoothness, length, and light peach flavors. The Kupfergrube GG still showed some SO2 in the nose. The mothy is smooth, elegant, and mineral but lacks the depth and dimension that would give it a still higher rating. Importer: Winemonger, San Anselmo, CA.

2013 Spätburgunder Weissherbst halbtrocken 85/B

2013 Riesling feinherb   porphyr (89-92)
2013 Meddersheimer Rheingrafenberg Riesling quartzit 88/B

2013 (Meddersheimer Altenberg) Riesling Kabinett 88/B+
2013 Meddersheimer Rheingrafenberg Riesling Spätlese 90(+)/B+
2013 Sobernheimer Marbach Riesling Spätlese 93/A
Hexamer’s Spätburgunder Weissherbst halbtrocke is a rosé from Pinot Noir. I found the wine off-dry and mineral, but lacking in crispness. 12.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 009 14.

The feinherb “Porphyr” is from volcanic soils. The wine is medium-weight, mineral, and crisp, although not overly firm. It as an easy and enjoyable wine for current drinking. The Meddersheimer Rheingrafenberg “Quartzit” shows good acidity and some tropical fruit, but it is not as focused as usual.

The Meddersheimer Altenberg Kabinett shows a little botrytis with golden apple fruit and decent acidity, but the wine is relatively simple. The Meddersheimer Rheingrafenberg Spätlese is light with sweetness showing, but also good supporting acidity. The wine has finesse and penetration, lacking only the complexity of a still better wine. 8.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 007 14. The best comes last here, the Sobernheimer Marbach Spätlese. The wine is rich, pure, and dense with very good supporting acidity. Importer: Michael Skurnik, New York.

2013 Riesling trocken 90/B+
2013 Dorsheimer Riesling trocken 89/B
2013 (Münster) Dautenpflänzer Riesling gg        93+/A
2013 (Münster) Pittersberg Riesling gg 92/A
2013  (Münster) Dautenpflänzer Riesling feinherb 91/A-

2013 Münsterer Rheinberg Riesling Kabinett 91/A
2013 Münsterer Dautenpflänzer Riesling Spätlese 89+/B
Georg Rumpf said that production was down 20% from normal in 2013, mostly due to poor flowering. There was almost no botrytis here in 2013. The trocken is raised in stainless steel and comes mainly from quartzite soils. The wine is crisp and mineral with some austerity to the flavors but also succulence to its texture. 12.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 017 14. The Dorsheimer trocken is entirely from the Dorsheimer Buchtberg vineyard, composed of volcanic and slate soils. The wine is raised in stainless steel and large oak casks. The wine is salty, medium-light, and airy. 12.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr: 031 14. Rumpf’s Dautenpflänzer GG is pure, crisp, lemony, and nervy. The Pittersberg GG is crisp, pure, and lemony with a touch more breadth than the Dautenpflänzer. The Dautenpflänzer feinherb is from juice that was intended to be part of the Dautenpflänzer GG, but its fermentation stuck at 13 g/l residual sugar, above the 9 g/l permitted maximum for GG. So here’s your chance to get special juice from a special vineyard (Dautenpflänzer usually is my favorite from Kruger-Rumpf) at a discount. The wine is off-dry, nervy, and pure with good depth and acidity. 

The Münsterer Rheinberg Kabinett is fragrant and floral in the nose. The mouth is medium-sweet and sensual with dark plum and deep yellow peach fruit. About 50 g/l residual sugar here. The Münsterer Dautenpflänzer Spälese is fairly sweet with good length to it, but the wine needs more time in bottle to develop.  Importer: Michael Skurnik, New York.

Prinz SALM (Prinz zu SALM-DALBERG’sches)
2013 Riesling trocken   grünschiefer 91/A-
2013 Riesling trocken   vom roten schiefer 91/A-
2013 (Wallhausen) Johannisberg Riesling gg 91/A-
2013 (Wallhausen) Felseneck Riesling gg 91/A-

2013 Riesling two princes 87/A-
2013 Riesling Kabinett 87(+)/B
2013 Felseneck (Wallhausen) Riesling Spätlese 88(+)/B
2013 Berg Roxheim Riesling Spätlese 90+/B+
Because dry wine names for GG cannot be used for other dry wines, the Grünschiefer and vom Roten Schiefer are essentially second wines defined by the type of slate – green (Grünschiefer) and red (vom Roten Schiefer). The wines are at this stage quite similar to each other, with the Grünschiefer being a little rounder with more grapefruit present and the vom Roten Schiefer being a little nervier. State alcohol and last digits of A.P. Nr. for Grünschiefer: 11.5%, 00714; for vom Roten Schiefer: 12.5%, 00814. The Johannisberg GG is salty and medium-weight with some mustard spice. The Felseneck GG has apply aromas with some spice. The mouth is medium-weight with flesh and some spice.

The Two Princes is off-dry, light, elegant, and salty with some floral notes and good acidity. It is a most enjoyable wine for either meals or aperitif. 10.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 00914. A touch herbal in nose (apparently from red slate), plenty of apple in mouth, almost dry because of acidity, light and good liveliness, the Kabinett is pleasing, perhaps with potential for more. 8.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 00314. In contrast to the dryness of the Kabinett, the Felseneck Spätlese is quite sweet for a Spätlese with a light body. The wine is quite undeveloped for now with green apples and a touch of cinnamon; I’d give it a few years to develop, and my experience is that Salm wines do develop with age. 9.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 00514. The Berg Roxheim Spätlese is considerably drier that the Felseneck. The wine also is relatively more open with white fruits and just a touch of pineapple, but I still would advise a few years’ bottle aging. 7.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 00414. Importer: Valckenberg International, Jenks, OK.

Joh. Bapt. SCHÄFER
2013 (Dorsheim) Pittermännchen Riesling gg 92/A
2013 (Dorsheim) Goldloch Riesling gg 90(+)/B+
This is the VDP’s newest Nahe member. The Pittermännchen GG is not quite as crisp as Diel’s version, but the wine is pure and nervy with good acidity. The Goldloch GG is broader than the Pittermännchen but without the same precision or nervosity.

2013 (Schlossböckelheimer) Kupfergrube Riesling gg 94/A
2013 (Schlossböckelheimer) Felsenberg Riesling gg 94+/A
2013 (Bockenauer) Felseneck Riesling gg 92/A
2013 (Bockenauer) Stromberg Riesling gg 93/A
2013 (Monzinger) Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling gg 94/A
2013 (Monzinger) Halenberg Riesling gg 94/A
Tim Fröhlich’s 2013s may be a half step below his 2012s, but they are an enviable collection nonetheless. The Kupfergrube GG has leafy peach aromas, followed in the mouth by fine yellow peach flavors, lightness precision, and overall finesse. The Felsenberg GG has mineral peach aromas. The mouth shows depth, purity, and smoothness with lightness on the tongue. The Felseneck GG still has the leesy, spontaneous fermentation aromas on the nose. The mouth shows yellow peach fruit and is very mineral and penetrating with a medium-light body. The Stromberg GG features nervy, mineral white peach aromas. The mouth shows density and power while also remaining light on the tongue with its peach fruit. The Frühlingsplätzchen GG is medium to medium-light in weight, elegant and pure with long peach flavors. Last of this long string of GGs, the Halenberg shows apricot aromas. The wine is medium-weight and shows some power along with depth and precision to its apricot and peach flavors.  Importer: Cellars International, San Marcos, CA.

2013 Riesling trocken    melaphyr 91/A-
2013 Norheimer Dellchen Riesling trocken (90-93)
2013 Niederhäuser Kertz Riesling feinherb 91/A-

2013 Riesling Kabinett 88+/B+
2013 Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese 91(+?)/A-
2013 Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Auslese 94/A
2013 Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Beerenauslese 94+/B
Schneider’s trocken “Melaphyr” bears the name of the particular, and rare, type of volcanic soil in the vineyard. The wine is spicy, and indeed almost hot, in the mouth with nervosity and a medium-light body. The Norheimer Dellchen trocken shows excellent acidity and is light, citric, and nervy. The Niederhäuser Kertz feinherb shows a bit of sweetness and is light and nervy in the mouth.

The Kabinett, which comes in liter bottles, is an excellent wine for large gatherings. The wine is medium-weight, nervy, and off-dry. With more time in the bottle, it should develop more expressiveness. The Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Spätlese shows sweetness on the palate and is light, round, and airy. I have added a question mark to indicate that I am uncertain whether the wine will add depth to become even better. Schneider’s Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Auslese is quite floral in the nose – it reminds me of being in a greenhouse. The mouth shows botrytis flavors and is pure and long. The Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Beerenauslese is intense and pure but still shut down. The wine does show excellent acidity, balance, and sweetness, though. Importer: Michael Skurnik, New York.


2013 Bopparder Hamm Engelstein Riesling Kabinett (87-90)

The Bopparder Hamm Engelstein Kabinett shows yellow plum fruit and is round, intense, and medium-light. It is less dense than wines I have sampled from other regions. Importer: Michael Skurnik, New York.