- Reply by Really Big Al, Jul 31.
How about 'Dr. Heidemanns Riesling Brut Sekt'? It's just over $20.
- Reply by dmcker, Aug 1.
But that's also sparkling, Al.
Plenty of good riesling out there, even now at or even under that price. Both still and also sparkling (sekt).
How 'dry' does it need to be? Is a smidgen of residual sweetness allowed?
'Trocken' is a key word for you to look for in German and Austrian rieslings if you want absolutely dry. Alsatian rieslings are pretty much by stylistic specification dry, but they may tend to be a bit pricier. Very good, though, and you should look out for them.
Personally, I don't mind a hint of sweetness in my Qba or Kabinett rieslings, as long as they are otherwise well made. Not much, but it's OK if it amplifies the fruit while still also accompanied by plenty of acidity.
Here's a search of a very good wine merchant (both onllne and brick and mortar in CA) for rieslings in the $10~$25 range. The very first bottle I'd reach for would be the 2008 Trimbach Riesling Reserve. The 2nd and 3rd would be the 2012 Bollig Lehnert Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett and 2012 Joh. Jos. Prüm Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett, though there's likely to be a little residual sweetness in them. Then I'd look at those from Australia and New Zealand which are often quite dry. Finally I'd sweat a bit in cherrypicking the best of the North American lot, which often tend to be too sweet, insipid or otherwise unpleasantly imbalanced due to insufficient acidity and other issues--though there are several in that list I wouldn't hesitate to try.
- Reply by cma238, Aug 3.
How about a Riesling from Michigan, Diana? Definitely under $20, and absolutely delicious. To me, these Rieslings are unusually and engagingly flinty. Crushed peas and stone all the way. I haven't encountered anything like this elsewhere. The uniqueness of American soil, perhaps?
- Reply by dmcker, Aug 14.
Don't know if the OP has even checked back at all on this. But if people are interested in dry, sparkling riesling it rarely gets much better than this. The vendor (in NYC) is first rate, and reliable.
If you think that modern German sparkling wine is but an imitation of Champagne, you are partially right. Formal production began only in 1826, and it was indeed a former employee of Veuve Clicquot who was responsible, one Georg Christian Kessler, who transported the concept to Esslingen am Neckar, just outside Stuttgart.
While there is a lot of Sekt that is produced in bulk from lesser grapes that are drinkable only with the addition of sugar and bubbles, we are proud to be featuring Sekts that are made from better base wines, where the nuance of terroir is apparent and the effects of limestone or slate can be detected. These are all made by Flaschengärung, meaning the traditional Champenois method with the secondary fermentation in bottle. The only additions in these examples are neutral yeasts to start the secondary fermentation and a minimal dosage in some cases. The 2012 Knauss Sekt 'Zero' has no dosage and would be classified 'Brut Nature' in Champagne. It has the benefit of being a bit cheaper than most Brut Nature Champagne, despite coming from limestone parcels with every bit as much pedigree.
Also from limestone soils is the Hild NV Sekt made from Elbling, an ancient, rustic vine that dominates the Upper Mosel and much of Luxembourg. Elbling is perfect for Sekt -- early-ripening, it comes in with low alcohol and presents itself with delicate fruit and plenty of snap. Elbling grown on the Moselle in Luxembourg has a certain status and market for fine wine as Cremant de Luxembourg, while the same vine just across the border in Germany has sadly been denied the same respect and earning ability. In fact, much of the Elbling from the Upper Mosel is sold off in bulk, often ending up in cheap supermarket wine in Eastern Europe. So it’s all the more inspiring to see Matthias Hild and his son making their chalky, refreshing Elbling Sekt with hand-picked grapes from old, terraced, limestone vineyards.
Besides the noble Hild Sekt, the rest are 100% Riesling, from some of our favorite growers in Germany who are often the subjects of our emails. For those not usually enticed by German wine, these soulful sparklers could be an alternative approach to experiencing chameleon-like Riesling in yet another of its charming forms. Prost! JKClick to view up-to-date inventory on our website → Hild NV Mosel Elbling Brut Sekt
Hand-picked from old, terraced vineyards in the Upper Mosel, where most Elbling is sold off for bulk prices and has little status. Matthias Hild and his son, however, strive for something more serious. This Sekt is fermented dry and then is dosed with 4-5 g/l. Delicate fruit and nervy acid that makes for a bright finish. Refreshing, chalky bubbles at this price are hard to pass up. JK| 36 in stock | $18.99 Knauss 2012 Württemberg Riesling Sekt Zero
This dry, zero-dosage Sekt is sourced from twelve plots of Knauss' Riesling vines of 15-30 years-old grown on a thin, clay topsoil that barely covers the underlying limestone. And the limestone, of course, is what really comes through: like a 16-wheeler barreling down the highway, in fact. Delicious aromas of fresh apricots and nectarines, a zippy, limey, backbone, and an underlying body with chalky texture adds depth, length, and quite a bit of soul. Vibrant, refreshing, and wonderful. JK| 39 in stock | $27.99 Falkenstein, Hofgut 2011 Saar Niedermenniger Sonnenberg Ries Sekt Brut
Erich Weber, grinning from ear to ear, calls this "100% Riesling Winzersekt" presumably to differentiate it from the boatloads of Sekt produced from lesser grape varieties by massive operations. The vineyard chosen for Sekt seems to differ from year to year depending on which site offers the perfect balance of fruit to acid. Just like the Sekt from Lauer, the estate's house style is unmistakable even in the presence of bubbles, and lovers of the Webers' salty, steely, bracing wines with fresh, invigorating acid will be crazy about this. By the way, it's also the best Sekt we've ever tasted under $30. -jfr| 34 in stock | $28.99 Lauer, Peter NV Saar Riesling Brut
Sekt has been produced at Lauer since the mid-1900s and while the bottle says non-vintage but the fruit is all 2011, a ripe year in the Mosel and Saar. Total of 10 g/l sugar after dosage, which would classify it as "Brut" if it were made about 250 km southwest of the Saar. Creamy, sponti, deeply mineral nose along with spiced apple notes. The palate is richly textured but linear with an exceedingly long, slatey mineral finish. The leesy, minty, tangerine notes really explode with some air. -jfr| 35 in stock | $34.99 Immich-Batterieberg 2008 Mosel Riesling Brut Zero Jour Fixe
In 2008, Gernot Kollmann had just taken over at Immich-Batterieberg (after making the wines at Knebel for a few years), and while he hadn't been involved in the growing of these estate grapes, he decided to make this stunning sparkling wine rather than sell everything off. The wine is dry, mineral, slate-y driven and quite herbaceous. It's made without any dosage and is an acid-lover's dream. It fits in perfectly on the shelf with the bracing, high-toned Champagnes we all love so much and think this is an ideal wine for lovers of both Mosel Riesling and bone-dry Champagne that are looking for a sparkling alternative. -jfr| 18 in stock | $37.99
- Reply by Lucha Vino, Aug 21.
There are tons (literally) of Rieslings from Washington under 20 bucks. Look for Ch. Ste. Michelle. I think they are they biggest producer of Riesling in the world. Seriously!
There are a bunch of other great Washington Wineries making Riesling. Look for wineries that are making Riesling (and other white wines) with grapes from the Ancient Lakes AVA. The Evergreen vineyard is one of the best.
I second DM's recommendation for Riesling from Alsace.