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*Offsite events are contracted to and coordinated by a 3rd party, and are in no way affiliated with Chambers Street Wines.
We've made it to 2019! I'd wager we're all half-in half-out on our resolutions already, so let's commit to something worth doing: drinking great bottles of Riesling with friends and winemakers, and winemaker friends! If you can't make it to the (BYO) Gala Dinner on Saturday, January 19 at Reynard, the Gränd Tasting at Craft Restaurant is earlier that same day and is an awesome opportunity to taste 40+ wines with the winemakers. Be sure to also keep tabs with Rieslingfeier on Instagram to stay up-to-date on events around town at various shops and restaurants.
This year will be host to winemakers from both Austria and Germany, representing a variety of styles and estates; and between the Gränd Tasting and Gala Dinner, there will be a lot to taste! We've listed a selection of wines from a few of this year's attendees mixed with some older bottles to keep the feier going, whether you make it to the events or not. Chambers will be hosting a tasting on the Friday before, from 5-7PM, with Jochen Beurer, we'd love to see you there!
Check out the Rieslingfeier website for information about events, to purchase tickets, and a list of attending winemakers! Prost! Cari Bernard
Höhereck (found between Kellerberg and Loibenberg), is southwest to southeast in exposition, with Gföhler gneiss laced with feldspar and quartz. One thing that is quite conspicuous upon visiting is that this is a vineyard in which a large portion is dedicated to just lying fallow as a nature preserve. Wild grasses and flowers stand untouched; the rest is terraced to vines. This is unfortunately the only wine in the line-up I was unable to taste. Let us know how it is! 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
Riesling vines for the Smaragd bottling grow in meager soils in a high altitude, amphitheater-shaped vineyard where most of the sun-exposure ends at around 3 in the afternoon, making for a cooler microclimate in contrast to some of the other south-facing sites on the Loibenberg, where a more Pannonian (warmer) climate prevails. The cooling influence is reflected in the high minerality of the wine. Tasted first as a tank sample, the Loibenberg was floral and fresh, with green strawberries and electric acidity. Tasted a few months after bottling, the green has evolved into orange--orange oil, tangerine, underripe apricot with juicy Fuji apple on the finish. 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
Eva Fricke's journey from child of doctors in Northern Germany to winemaker in the Rheingau with ten leased hectares (only seven currently in production) and going for organic certification for the 2016 vintage is quite the story. Eva has worked at wineries in South Africa, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Australia, and also holds a degree in Oenology from Geisenheim as well as a Masters in Business Management from Oestrich-Winkel. During her seven-year tenure working with Johannes Leitz, she slowly began to branch out into her own vineyard plots and winery, officially leaving Leitz in 2011. Her determination and dedication to quality is inspiring. During her tasting in the store, she spoke excitedly about the importance of organic farming, and the positive influence it has on her vines, even in difficult vintages. By choosing to work the steep slopes organically in the Rheingau, she has taken on a challenge rarely even considered in the region. The Lorcher Krone vineyard is one of our favorite sites in Eva's holdings, with 45-year-old vines on slate and quartzite soils. Cari Bernard
The oldest vines Eva has in her ten hectares of vineyards, Schlossberg is home to 80ish-year-old vines on gray slate and chalk. In previous vintages this could be found slightly off-dry, in 2017 it's full-on Spätlese! Cari Bernard
I have had Heiligenstein stones imbedded in my hand, graciously washed out with help from Stefanie Jurtschitsch without even a moment's thought given to whom the hell is bleeding all over their bathroom. Let's just say that me and e-bikes don't mix. Let's also make it official that I have a deep admiration for both Stefanie and Alwin Jurtschitsch; young winemakers in the Kamptal who have a practice that not only keeps the estate's traditional wines but adds on exciting new wines as avenues of exploring the unique terroirs of the region. It's a great pair: Stefanie is from the Gunderloch winemaking estate in Germany and really feels at home in the cellar, Alwin has dutifully taken over his family's estate in the Kamptal and really loves being in the vineyards, so much so that they've converted the entire 62 hectares to Organic farming, even utilizing soft pruning methods which is gentle on the vines. The 2016 Heiligenstein Riesling is absolutely stunning: gardenias and roses, lime oil and green nectarine flood the nose, the palate is vibrant with juicy with notes of mango, peaches, green strawberries and plums, and tart white grapefruit. Cari Bernard
Karthäuserhof is a treasure in the Ruwer valley; a monastery run for nearly 500 years by Carthusian (hence the name) monks starting in the early 1300s, it was secularized in 1803 and purchased by a French general in 1811. Since then it's been passed down family lines for seven generations with its 19-hectare monopol, the Eitelsbacher Karthäsuserhofberg. Soils on the 'berg are mostly Devonian blue slate with iron oxide striations at varied levels of erosion, and some veins of clay in the soil below to help with water retention. The dense forests in the region bring both shelter from the winds on the slope, and also a variety of fauna and insects to the vineyard. In the bottles I've been able to try, I always find something mineral and green in these wines. Not green as in young, but green, like a freshly rain-soaked forest. In 2010 there were lower yields all around Germany, and this was also true in the Ruwer. Karthäuserhof had close to a 50% loss in yields, but was still able to produce a Beerenauslese, due to the clean, beautiful botrytis and sustained acidity from the cooling weather around harvest time. These bottles came to us from a private cellar, and we would love to hear any reports about how this is tasting. I'm assuming it's probably still very young!! Cari Bernard
Not that we're counting, but Nikolaihof is the oldest wine estate in Austria, with over 2000 years of history under its belt (in the Saahs family since 1894). If you ever find yourself in the Wachau, please do pay them a visit, it feels like a proper pilgrimage site; from Roman crypt cellar, to still-functional baumpresse, to the beautiful, linden tree-covered tasting courtyard—the estate is absolutely magical. Vom Stein is a parcel in the Silberbichl, in Mautern; soils here are a mix of loess, loam, and Danube gravel. Grapes spontaneously ferment and the wine ages for six months in large, oak casks. When tasted in June of 2018 the wine had a haunting mineral nose with herbaceous and stony qualities balancing the lush palate. Cari Bernard
A Smaragd in everything but name, this is Prager at its most ornate and heady -- going into the stylistic realm of some of his neighbors, especially FX Pichler or Hirtzberger. Fear not though, as rather than translate all that ripeness into an unwieldy amount of alcohol, Toni Bodenstein opted to stop fermentation before it was totally complete, leading to a perfectly balanced wine they would call "Feinherb" across the border in Germany. Bodenstein likens it to the 1990 Klaus, which is no faint praise, to be sure. Built to last in the cellar for many, many years. -jfr Totally in agreement with John, this 'lieblich' bottling is truly unique and is aging well. Opened last month (12/2018) with friends and Chinese food, it did not disappoint. Although darker in color than expected, the wine is fascinatingly opulent, layered, balanced, and has settled in nicely. Highly recommended. Cari Bernard
A Smaragd in everything but name, this is Prager at its most ornate and heady -- going into the stylistic realm of some of his neighbors, especially FX Pichler or Hirtzberger. Fear not though, as rather than translate all that ripeness into an unwieldy amount of alcohol, Toni Bodenstein opted to stop fermentation before it was totally complete, leading to a perfectly balanced wine they would call "Feinherb" across the border in Germany. Bodenstein likens it to the 1990 Klaus, which is no faint praise, to be sure. Built to last in the cellar for many, many years. -jfr
Totally in agreement with John, this 'lieblich' bottling is truly unique and is aging well. Opened last month (12/2018) with friends and Chinese food, it did not disappoint. Although darker in color than expected, the wine is fascinatingly opulent, layered, balanced, and has settled in nicely. Highly recommended. Cari Bernard