One Man, 40 Rieslings

Dissecting a misunderstood grape, one bottle at a time

A bit high-toned with mineral and white pepper notes over light floral and pear aromas. This shows a nice edge of richness in the mouth with a hint of ripeness supporting fresh, clean apple, almond and lemon flavors streaked with mineral notes. The finish is a touch peppery and nicely long. Not too complex and rather straightforward, though refreshing and decisive in the mouth. 87pts
A little sweet on the nose with lovely melon, apple and peach fruit all topped with a squeeze of tangerine and a few honeysuckles. Round and a little lush in the mouth, this has plenty of acid to balance the touch of sugar. There's a touch of bitterness at its core, which adds some detail for me, but may be off putting to some. There's plenty of apple, orange and light green tea flavors here in a simple style that finishes with a nice, almost pineapple/citrus wash, lengthened by the touch of residual sweetness. Really well done in a fruit-forward, popular style. 87pts
A bit earthy and compressed on the nose, with early hints of quince followed by lime pith and almost blueberry aromas. This is sweet, yet fairly light weight, with enough acidity to keep things in balance but not enough to keep the sweet/tart thing going. Like the nose, the palate reminds be a bit of blueberries, with sweet Asian pear and honeyed lime notes gaining prominence on the mid-palate. There's a slight brown sugar note as well, which pops on the finish before being washed over by some nice sweet/tart apple flavors that show good persistence. A fun wine, fruity and easy to drink, if dessert-level sweetness for me. 86pts
A touch sweet on the nose, with faint hints of candle wax and minty blackcurrant leaf over a base of apricot glaze. Fairly lightweight for an Auslese, which is not a bad thing. This is also fairly sweet, with good acidity keeping it fresh and reasonably well-focused in the mouth. There's plenty of fruit here, not overdone but balanced with peach, melon and almost a grapefruit-citrus quality, plus a touch of currant on the back end. The finish is a bit short and lacks follow through, but all in all, this is a rather attractive, easy to appreciate Auslese. 86pts

A bit heavy and slightly herbal on the nose with plenty of apple and citrus pith topped with a hint of white pepper.  Even with lovely acidity, this still opens a touch on the heavy side, showing off ripe apple and slightly fig-like flavors. There's distinct minerality here adding interest, but the wine is slightly heavy, with building acidity adding lemon flavors and brightness to the moderately long finish. 86pts

Reticent on the nose with slow to grow polleny floral and fennel aromas over lime pith, sliced fennel and melon notes, with incipient hints of petrol and chalk.  This is sweet in the mouth and while I'm sure there is a ton of acid here, there's little to be felt, though the texture of the wine remains lively, considering the sweetness. There's a rich mouthful of pollen-streaked apricot fruit here, with nice dashes of Meyer lemon juice and some freshening green apple notes on the back end, but the sugar keeps this a bit simple and dull.The finish is surprisingly short but does end on a nice light mineral note, with some sweet tea elements on the finale. A bit of an apricot bomb. 86pts

Big candied lime and lime aromas greet the nose along with complicating notes of chives and quartz. This is fairly sweet, or rather it's sweet though there's enough acidity to make you think it's not that sweet, but the weight of the wine says otherwise. There are lots of lemon, lemon curd and almost pineapple flavors here over light mineral tones that lead to a modest tart apple finish that shows a lingering sweetness. 86pts

Intense and focused pear, peach and floral aromas greet the nose along with a faint underlay of machine oil and stems. This is easy going in the mouth, well balanced and fresh with a whisper of sweetness adding some weight around a core of tart pear, peach and almost coconut-like flavors. The back end turns a bit fruitier and yields to a bright lemony finish. This is a touch simple, but fun and easy going. 86pts

Light but distinct aromas of dried apples, lime and dusty earth comprise the nose. This is a touch simple in the mouth but shows nice dried citrus pith fruit notes in a clean, direct and refreshing style. There's nothing extra here, just simple fruit over light mineral tones that are joined by light dried leafy notes on the back end, which shows off hints of peach and preserved lemon with pretty good persistence. 86pts

A little sulfury on the nose, though plenty of airing reveals a slightly spicy, dried floral-tinged core of heirloom apple and dried lemon peel fruit. This could use a bit more acid in the mouth. It comes off as slightly dull and heavy, with an intriguing blend of orchard fruit flavors, chives and mineral notes all cloaked in a gauzy veil of pollen. The flavor profile is appealing, I just wish the wine showed a bit more freshness in the mouth, and that the finish was longer. 85pts

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Top Ten Best Rieslings

Alexana Riesling Willamette Valley Revana Vineyard (2011)
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Pewsey Vale Dry Riesling Eden Valley (2012)
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Jim Barry the Lodge Hill Dry Riesling (2010)
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Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett Riesling (2011)
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Dr. Fischer Riesling Kabinett Ockfener Bockstein (2010)
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Georg Albrecht Schneider Riesling Spätlese Niersteiner Hipping (2011)
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Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling Spätlese Wehlener Sonnenuhr (2010)
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Dr. Thanisch Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Kabinett (2010)
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Wittmann Riesling Trocken (2010)
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Balthasar Ress Riesling Trocken Von Unserm (2010)
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Mentioned in this article


  • I had a 2009 Eifel Pfiefer Kabinett last night that paired exceptionally well with a pork loin roast with port & fig sauce. I was searching specifically for something to serve with the roast so I can't give any nuanced details about the wine by itself but it brought the entire meal together beautifully including the spinanch salad with strawberries, blue cheese crumbles and walnuts with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing; the baked sweet potato chips; and the pork roast.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 3:04 PM

  • Snooth User: winekrep
    143676 27

    I remember drinking some superb Austrian Rieslings in the mid eighties that had been chaptalized to raise the alcohol level...they were ten years old at the time and amazing. Haven't seen any Riesling specific wines from Austria in some time. I do recall that Rieslings age very well and develop remarkable noses over time. As a chef it's wonderful to find wines that are food compatible and Spatlese and drier examples work well.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 3:56 PM

  • Did Alsace just become a little, insignificant producer if Rieslings? Very surprised there was no mention.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 4:02 PM

  • Snooth User: hestamm
    1176940 24

    Riesling is my absolute favorite white wine; the sweeter the better. Living in Idaho, I have access to the wonderful rieslings of Chateau Ste Michelle, Hogue, & other NW producers, with most priced in the $6-10 range. It's not that I disdain the beerenausleses or even the spateleses from Germany or the Alsace, it's that I don't want to pay the freight. But my tastes are probably not typical--I love big bold tannic reds, over-the-top oaky & buttery chards (think Rombauer as an entry level), port, oloroso sherry, & incredible sweet rieslings & gewurtztraminers. Fried chicken goes best with either a great champagne or a sweet riesling. Go figure.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 10:46 PM

  • Snooth User: RBrumer
    772167 24

    hestamm......what about you're native St Chappelle??
    have not tasted in some time, but I see Blake Grey gave the Riesling a good review last year. New owners now with Precept?????

    Mar 15, 2013 at 1:15 PM

  • Snooth User: hestamm
    1176940 24

    Oh, St Chappelle most certainly. There are also more boutique brands like the Snake River Winery that do wonders with the grape (but pricier, too).

    Mar 15, 2013 at 1:54 PM

  • I visited Georg Albrecht Schneider and wrote about my visit on schiller-wine: Cheers

    Mar 15, 2013 at 4:37 PM

  • Pewsey Vale and the Jim Barry Lodge Hill are two of my favorites! I love the diversity of this wonderful grape variety and its ability to pair with such an array of foods from oysters to spicy thai dishes. Australia's ability to produce gloriously dry wines that show true examples of local 'terroir' whilst expressing that wonderful zingy acidity and varietal character. Pewsey Vale and Jim Barry Wines have perfected this style! Viva la Riesling!

    Mar 15, 2013 at 6:09 PM

  • Snooth User: Sweetstuff
    Hand of Snooth
    139592 254

    Is the Docotr Thanisch wine from the estate that belongs to the VDP or the other Thanisch estate?

    John Trombley

    Mar 17, 2013 at 5:06 PM

  • Snooth User: Sweetstuff
    Hand of Snooth
    139592 254

    Good to see that you've finally gotten a review in for a Michigan Riesling. The northern Lake Michigan Shore near Traverse City is an ideal RIesling territory and the vines, now decades old, are now mature enough to make great wines.

    The 'unusual' flavor you speak of is not so unusual after all. It's simply the resinous 'terroir' note common to all low-yield dry whites, especially Riesling, from this area. I often liken it to the smell of fresh handmade paper, and is common to Riesling grown on mixed glacial till and fossilized coral reef such was what is called 'Petoskey Stone'. A little later harvest balances this out, but most of the dry whites from this house, Bower's Harbor, Left Foot Charley, and several other high-quality producers on the two peninsulas (Old Mission and Leelanau) so intensely surrounded by lake effect. The wines to look out for are the small-lot single vineyard productions that the younger winemakers are using to showcase their talents, and which are a relative steal in terms of quality.

    Mar 17, 2013 at 5:20 PM

  • Snooth User: Pfificus
    600233 29

    I certainly agree with bikesnwine. Alsace excells in making dry Rieslings, pairing beutifully with a broad varieties of dishes. The great ones even age very well despite their dryness.

    Mar 19, 2013 at 3:21 PM

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