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Rheingau Wine Changes (was Vienna recommendations)

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  • Melanie Wong Oct 5, 2000 05:54 PM
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"The Rheingau region is -changing- its labels?

As if they arent already confusing as hell?

Melanie: BTW, if youre going to be in the NY area on October 10...
Willie Gluckstern is hosting a German wine tasting at the German
House in cooperation with the consulate... If interested I can
forward you details

Jason"

The "Erstes Gewächs" (First Growths) movement has been brewing in the Rheingau and Pfalz for awhile. The Rheingau vintners have gotten some rule changes through to allow the label designation Erste Gewäch for wines from sites which meet rigid tasting and historical climatic standards. The idea was that much as Ch. Latour increases the international image of a lot of mediocre Bordeaux, establishment of great growths in the Rheingau would do the same for the sea of Rheingau wines. What has happened though is that some of the chief proponents’ wines didn’t make the cut off! So who knows where this is all going to lead?

I’ve also noticed that many Rheingau producers no longer use the traditional brown glass bottle. They say it’s associated with insipid sweet wines.

As always, reliance on the top producers is the key. While I’m more of a Mosel-fan, the Rheingau is definitely back and is turning out some fabulous wines. My favorites from last week’s tasting of 99s were Domdechant Werner – breathtaking Hochheimer Kirchenstück Spätlese trocken and Hochheimer Domdechaney Spätlese halb-trocken plus the two phenomenal botrytis-laden Auslesen from these sites, and some some excellent wines from Schloss Schönborn which has returned to its former glory under the directorship of Günter Theis, one of the young Turks of the region.

I won’t be able to make the tasting next week, thanks for the offer. But maybe you can post the details here for others who might be interested. The Saar had a fantastic vintage – be sure to focus on those examples. If I have time to type up ‘em before then, I’ll e-mail my tasting notes to you of German wines tasted last month.

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