Friday, September 30, 2016

2015 Pfalz Riesling Grosses Gewächs Part VIII -- Grosskarlbach, Laumersheim, Dirmstein, Zell: Knipser and Kuhn

Here we leave the Haardt Mountains and move into a different terroir, one that really is the same as the southern Rheinhessen, where the border is immediate — the difference in region is an old political boundary. If one’s reference has been the vineyards up against the Haardt Mountains further south in the Pfalz, your immediate reaction to the flatter vineyards here is that this can’t be prime vineyard territory. But experiencing the wines, one immediately becomes convinced otherwise. (Continue reading here.) 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

2015 Pfalz Riesling Grosses Gewächs Part VII -- Bad Dürkheim, Ungstein, and Kallstadt: Fitz-Ritter, Kuhn, Pfeffingen, Rings, Schaefer

Moving further north from Forst, we transition to different terroirs, but still highly successful wines. Around Dürkheim and Ungstein, the wines seem to have a Mosel-like element with a bit more lightness and finesse to them. The Saumagen in Kallstadt has long been known for the Koehler-Ruprecht wines, but with that estate having left the VDP, two other producers, one (Rings) new to the VDP, are producing very good Saumagen. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

2015 Pfalz Riesling Grosses Gewächs and Equivalent Part VI -- Forst Freundstück, Jesuitengarten, and Kirchenstück: Acham-Magin, von Bassermann-Jordan, von Buhl, Mosbacher, Müller, and von Winning

The consensus view, mine included, is that Kirchenstück is the greatest vineyard in the Pfalz. And Jesuitengarten may well be the second greatest, although there is more room for debater there. And yet, except for Eugen Müller, these wines were good, but not dominating the way they normally would be. Tasted too early? That’s my guess, but we’ll have to wait and see. Several producers did not present their Kirchenstücks at the Wiesbaden tasting, notably, von Buhl, Mosbacher, and as with all their 2015s, Bürklin-Wolf. The Eugen Müller wines were not included in the GG tasting as the estate is not part of the VDP; I tasted them two days later at the estate in Forst. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

2015 Pfalz Riesling Grosses Gewächs and Equivalent Part V -- Forst Pechstein: Acham-Magin, von Bassermann-Jordan, Müller, and von Winning

In this selection, it was Mosbacher and von Buhl that had wines that stumped me and seemed too early to be judged with any accuracy. As with all its GG's, Bürklin-Wolf did not submit its Pechstein, presumably holding them until next year. (Continue reading here.)

2015 Pfalz Riesling Grosses Gewächs and Equivalent Part IV -- Forst Ungeheuer: Acham-Magin, von Buhl, Müller, and von Winning

In the previous post, I noted that Deidesheim is the Chambolle-Musigny of the Pfalz. With Forst, we are in the Vosne-Romanée of the Pfalz: wines that are a bit more powerful, round, and spicy, and at their top, often a bit more complete.

I found the Ungeheuers to be a mixed bag; those from von Bassermann-Jordan and Mosbacher, two of my preferred Pfalz producers, were so closed that I could not rate them. Bürklin-Wolf has (wisely) decided on extended aging an apparently will present its 2015s at next year’s GG tasting. As for the other Ungeheuer producers, what there was was excellent, but not necessarily better than the same wines from the previous few vintages.

I include the Spätlese trocken of Eugen Müller here — it corresponds to the GG, but Müller is not a VDP member (apparently the estate’s choice), so cannot show the wines at the GG tasting. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

2015 Pfalz Riesling Grosses Gewächs Tasting Part III -- Deidesheim: von Bassermann-Jordan, von Buhl, Mosbacher, and von Winning

With Deidesheim, we are in what I call the Chambolle-Musigny of the Pfalz (with Forst being the Vosne-Romanée); the wines can have great finesse and tenderness. That said, I found the wines perhaps less prominent than in other vintages, perhaps due to the slow development of the 2015s, and there is one wine that I’m leaving out because I really did not know how to judge it at this stage. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, September 23, 2016

2015 Pfalz Riesling Grosses Gewächs Tasting Part II -- Gleisweiler to Ruppertsberg: Bergdolt-St Lamprecht, von Buhl, Christmann, Minges, and Müller-Catoir

No surprises here — these are all top notch producers. The one thing I would say, as I previously have mentioned, is that I expect the wines to improve and show still better next year than they are now. (Continue reading here.)

2015 Pfalz Grosses Gewächs Tasting Part I: South Pfalz -- Kranz, Münzberg, Rebholz, Siegrist, and Dr. Wehrheim

Many of my colleagues came away from the Wiesbaden Grosses Gewächs preview with a less favorable view than I of the Pfalz Rieslings; I think this may be due to the fact that I tasted the wines in the morning, when they were cold, and many of my colleagues tasted them in the afternoon when they were warmer. 

At any rate, here are the wines that stood out for me in the southern part of the Pfalz: (Continue reading here)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sunday, September 4, 2016

2015 in Germany -- Preliminary Evaluation of the Vintage

At this point, I feel that I have tasted a enough wines that I can make a preliminary assessment of the 2015 vintage in Germany. This assessment is based on two full and two half days of tasting Grosses Gewächs (GG) wines, generally the top dry wines of many of the producers in the prestigious VDP wine organization (a group that includes many, but not all, of Germany’s top wine estates). Additionally, I supplemented those tastings by visits to producers in the Pfalz, Rheinhessen, and Nahe (Mosel, Ruwer, and Saar visits come in the next two days). On those visits, I retasted each producer’s GGs,  also tasted the producer’s other dry and non-dry wines, and discussed the wines with the producer. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The 2015 Vintage in Germany

This week and the beginning of next, I am in Germany tasting whites from the 2015 vintage and some reds from earlier vintages. I spent four days in Wiesbaden tasting Grosse Gewächse (GG) wines and now am in the process of visiting more than twenty of my favorite estates. (Continue reading here.)