Andreas Adam’s parcel in the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen.

Recent Riesling Revisited

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Here’s another great cellar of German Riesling. This list focuses more on recent releases and is heavily tilted toward dry wines. Pricing is sharp on these mineral-driven beauties, and this is a great chance to grab up some hard-to find picks from Germany’s top young growers as well as some old favorites.  2009 was a great vintage for dry wines in the Mosel, Nahe and Rheinhessen, and we’re happy to have the chance to offer up a few of these that have all but disappeared from the market. -jfr

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Adam, A.J. 2009 Mosel Riesling Piesporter Goldtröpfchen (GG-Style)

The Hofberg is the site that made Adam's name and it's the one where his family has the most historical connections, but Andreas really perks up when discussing the Goldtröpfchen. The 2009 was his first vintage producing wine from this site, and it's an explosive, stately wine that's going to take years to come around and let the fruit really sing. It comes from very, very steep, old, ungrafted terraced vines in the Laychen section of the western part of the site. Only miniscule quantities are made and everything's long been sold-out, so we're extremely fortunate to have received two bottles from a collector to offer. -jfr

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Immich-Batterieberg 2009 Mosel Batterieberg Riesling

Not as dry or austere as the mineral-packed 2010, but also much more accessible now than that brooding masterpiece. Cooler toned than the more buoyant Escheburg, and a bit more focused. Here there's less red fruit, and more peach, green apple and citrus. A few hours after opening, the initial babyfat recedes and the more lean, sponti and citrus notes come to the fore. This demonstrates one of my favorite things Riesling: even though it's rapidly evolving in a seemingly incoherent way and it's too young to be anywhere near its peak, it's still really, really good! So often in the Riesling lifecycle you find that even if the wine isn't at its peak, it still tastes great. Lucky Riesling. -jfr

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Immich-Batterieberg 2010 Mosel Batterieberg Riesling

From the famous dynamite-derived Batterieberg vineyard in Enkirch, this is perhaps the most imposing wine of the vintage. Very tightly-coiled, this needs much time in the decanter or cellar to unwind, but when it does the results are magnificent. According to Dan Melia it is "chiseled, fine, balanced, mineral-driven, and just packed with flavor in a way that only 2010 can achieve." If you are choosing just one dry-styled wine to cellar this vintage, look no further. -jfr

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Immich-Batterieberg 2010 Mosel Ellergrub Riesling

While we're more familiar with Ellergrub from the brilliant wines of Weiser-Kuenstler, Gernot Kollman here brings his unique talents to this noble site and the result is stunning. Slightly gentler and more approachable than the Batterieberg at this point as this has just 20 g/l sugar. It's showing well now but will only improve over the coming years. -jfr

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Schäfer-Fröhlich 2010 Nahe Bockenauer Felseneck Grosses Gewächs

Rockstar Nahe winemaker Tim Fröhlich's signature bottling. John Gilman went bananas for it and so did we. Like citrus dipped in gold. -jfr

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Schloss Lieser 2009 Mosel Niederberg Helden Riesling Grosses Gewächs

The GG bottlings from Schloss Lieser have a cult following in some quarters and we think the 2009 is settling into a lovely place for enjoying now and over the next few years. More open and generous than the more austere 2010, we think this is a great example of Thomas Haag's bold approach to full-bodied, dry Rieslings. -jfr

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Wagner-Stempel 2009 Rheinhessen Heerkretz Grosses Gewächs

This magnificent Grosses Gewachs originates in the remarkably complex volcanic soil of the Siefersheim hills. Clay, limestone, gravel and porphyry all intermingle in these gently rolling south/southwest facing slopes. The nose is intensely mineral and floral, veering in the direction of roses and all sorts of crushed rock. A huge, very long stone fruit finish is laced with a clinging, out of this world minerality. The fruit flavors are a whole array of bright citrus including lime blossom, lemon zest and tangerine and there's phenomenal power and structure here. This is simply great dry riesling and is sure to help convince those that have been skeptical of the category up this point (not saying that would include any of you, of course). -jfr

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Lauer, Peter 2008 Saar Ayler Kupp Riesling Fass 6 "Senior"

A new producer to the US market, German wine-lovers need to sit up and pay attention to the Peter Lauer wines. Dubbed "Senior" after the current winemaker, Florian Lauer's grandfather, who himself preferred a quaffable, refreshing feinherb Riesling. This wine has rounder fruit (relative to the Saar) with notes of pit fruits and mango and a long, long, LONG finish. All wild yeast fermentation and finishing at 13 grams of residual sugar this bottle is hard to put down. RSG

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Lauer, Peter 2008 Saar Ayler Kupp Riesling Fass 12 Unterstenbersch

Coming from the Unterstenbersch parcel with 50-plus year-old vines; this site of weathered slate gives rise to a very focused and linear wine typical of the highest quality of the Saar. This is sharp, precise and packed with minearals and charming notes of pineapple and grapefruit. With just 13 grams of residual sugar (all wild yeast fermentation), this comes off nearly dry, yet buoyant. Truly dynamic. RSG

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Lauer, Peter 2009 Saar Ayler Kupp Riesling Fass 1

Fass 1 comes from a parcel in the Kupp that is just southeast of Stirn, midslope in the classic Kupp. It's labelled "Trocken bis Feinherb," which loosely means between dry and off-dry. Tasty lightly sweet citrus and apple notes on the palate. The wine is zippy, fresh and bright, yet well balanced. There's a really nice chiseled slate note after the touc of RS fades away. -jfr

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Lauer, Peter 2009 Saar Ayler Kupp Riesling Fass 6 'Senior'

Nose is a bit yeasty, reminding me of pastry, maybe a baked peach cobbler. Palate: Wham! Packs a serious punch of flavor. Really delicious with just a touch of acid. Off-dry and slightly oily texture. (10/2/10) This intense wine from Floria Lauer is fleshy, round, forward and generous with tangerine and white peach notes. A slight mineral cut is apparent in the background on both palate and the nose. This is quite delicious and beautifully unfolds over the course of a few days, alternating between savory, exotic leesy notes and powerful, generous fruit notes. Aged in both tank and barrel and drinking beautifully now, this wine will develop in the bottle for a good many years ahead. The "Senior" is made in the slightly off-dry style that was the preference of Lauer's grandfather, thus the wine's titular homage.

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Lauer, Peter 2009 Saar Ayler Kupp Riesling Fass 11 'Schonfels'

It's absurd that Schonfels could possibly be considered a part of the Ayler Kupp, as this terrific map at Lauer's site shows. It's clearly on the other side of the village of Ayl than the Kupp, but this is the silly nature of Germany's 1971 wine law. Schonfels is a very steep site just above the Saar, and the vines are quite old; it's a labor-intensive site to farm and the vines barely produce any grapes, thus the premium price tag. The grapes that the vines are albe to eke out, though, are stunning and the wine has gained a cult-like status among fans of the estate. Rounder and softer than many other wiens in the book but intensely herbal. Don't miss this. -jfr

 

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Schaefer, Willi 2011 Mosel Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese #10

Like the Domprobst Kabinett #16, it's so exciting that this is already here in the U.S. and ready to be enjoyed or stashed away for 10+ years (either choice is, of course, correct). A bit wild and peachy, with potent, crisp mineral tones on the finish and just a hint of sea spray. This is slightly salty and vibrantly mineral. Light in body for a Spätlese and just singing right now. Christoph Schaefer says that #10 is always more of a "classic Spätlese," while #5 starts to approach Auslese in level of concentration. -jfr 

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