Went to a great wine tasting last night at a local wine group SWIGS, and Michael was introducing and hosting a group of wines he had acquired with, as it turns out, some difficulty.
German wine in the 1970's and 80's was what every one drank, but with the rise in popularity of New World wines which exhibit the grape variety prominently on the label, and the trend of drinking drier wines and maybe also the lack of understanding of German Wine quality and sweetness levels has led to a drop in its popularity, this was not helped by scandals similar to the current horsemeat debacle. Today the industry has had a little bit of a rethink as far as sweetness levels produced by its growers, trends have influenced the style of wine available here and in Germany itself, though a remarkable lack in variety can be seen available on the British marketplace today.
Michael had acquired 5 Riesling wines, 4 saying only Riesling and one with 55% Silvaner (Sylvaner in Alsace ). And considering 4 were basically the 'same wine' they varied incredibly in style and quality....... and price.
To start with I want to say that in the past sweet wines have been an expectation from German wine producers, but these wines were from the drier end of the spectrum, only 1 would have been termed 'halbtrocken' which is half dry, the others all were dry or bone dry.
Wachenheimer Gerumpel Riesling 2011 from the Pfalz region, Gerumpel estate near Wachenheim.
This was a single estate wine with the highest alcohol level of the evening at 13%, it was dry with a wonderful peaches aroma which followed through to the palate, mineral was the underlying theme here, stones and slate aromas and tastes, fresh zesty acidity and zippy from first to last, great length and breadth, a lovely wine which I scored 91, and can be found at the Wine Society at around £17.
Domdechant Werner Hochheimer Riesling 2008 (the oldest wine had in the evening) was off dry and again slatey in flavour and smell, wet stone minerality and fresh acidity enhancing the tropical juicy fruits found on the palate, mouth coating and with some residual sugar which again made the fruit more attractive. This wine was a VDP estate, a group formed in 1910 to promote and sell wine together. The estate is in the Rheingau, the area in Germany that produces a higher percentage of Riesling than any other of the areas and tends to be a more delicate wine, generally. The Rheingau soils often include channels of red slate which imparts a tropical fruit element to the wine via the grapes grown on this soil. This wine was from Laithwaites and came in at a price of £12.49. I scored this wine 87 and liked it a lot.
Wiltinger Riesling Trocken 2011 was from the Mosels Braunfels vineyards near Wiltinger on the Saar tributary in the Mosel region. Once more the minerality exhibited in this wine is obvious along with an orange peel edge on the palate especially on the finish which was noticeably dry, great acidity emphasised the freshness of this wine which has a clean earthy quality. Quality is what this wine is about, through and through with Riesling being a star here. Score : 85 and costs £10.50.
Saarburger Kabinett 2009 is from the Rausch vineyard on the Saar tributary in the Mosel region of Germany and the sweet tropical fruits and wet stone aromas are enticing with the acidity keeping the Riesling incredibly fresh even after 3-4 years in bottle. I scored this wine 88 and it costs £12.95, seems a good one to buy still with lots of life in it.
The last wine of the night was an 'own label' from the Wine Society, one of their basic Exhibition wines and had a minority share of Riesling with 55% Silvaner. It comes from the village of Rupertsberg in the Mittelhaardt, it was also the cheapest wine of the night coming in at £6.25. Generally the concenses of opinion was that it was not the favourite, there was a hard bitter, pithy flavour left after the fresh acidic start and the peach aromas did not follow successfully through to the palate, but it was refreshing and at this bargain price who were we to quibble I scored it 81, but needless to say I would be happy to drink it at anytime and at the price will probably buy it at some point.