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Your opinion please! Best rieslings to get right now?

d
Diana Feb 6, 2008 11:26 AM

I love to keep four or five bottles in my cellar at all times. What are the best cult, mid range and high end rieslings available now?

I like both domestic and import! I love from dry to dessert-sweetness.

From good $7 bottles to high end!

  1. 2
    2FlyingYorkies Feb 6, 2008 12:50 PM

    Wow, there are TONS of great wines from the 2005 vintage in Germany available right now. Look for Donnhoff, Joh. Jos. Christoffel, Joh. Jos. Prum, Fritz Haag, Josef Leitz, Selbach Oster, Willi Schaefer, or Keller. The 2006's are starting to show up in stores, too, and they should be good from all of these producers.

    As for domestic, the only US riesling I've ever sort of liked was Chateau Ste. Michelle's Riesling Eroica. 2004, 2005 and 2006 are all decent years.

    1 Reply
    1. re: 2FlyingYorkies
      d
      Diana Feb 7, 2008 07:06 AM

      I agree heartily on the the Eroica, I find it very nice, and try to always have one handy.

    2. z
      zin1953 Feb 6, 2008 02:05 PM

      Diana, questions like this are nearly impossible to answer.

      -- I have no idea where you live, and thus have no idea what is available in your area to suggest.

      -- While I'm glad you like both imports and domestics, don't those terms change meaning based upon the location of one's residence? More importantly, the flavor, character and quality of a California Riesling (as good as they can be) is completely different than the character of Rieslings from New York State; yet both are "domestics" if you reside in the US. Similarly, the flavor, character and quality of an Alsatian Riesling is very different from what comes out of the Rheingau, let alone the Mosel or the Saar or Marlborough . . .

      -- Cult? I wouldn't know. But what constitutes mid-range or expensive to you may be different than it is for someone else. (For example, I would consider $7 to be low-end.)

      Perhaps you could give me some idea of what you like be giving me the names of some specific wines you've enjoyed in the past; even better, some that you haven't liked. That would give me a much better idea of your likes and dislikes, and any recommendations I can give you will be much more likely to meet with your taste bud's approval!

      Cheers,
      Jason

      5 Replies
      1. re: zin1953
        d
        Diana Feb 7, 2008 07:12 AM

        zin,

        you now, I really prefer to explore. Thanks for being so very precise, but I just wanted a basic list of what you enjoy. I live in LA and have access to a lot of great shops for amazing wines, Silverlake Wine, Red Carpet, Wine Warehouse, Beverage Warehouse, Winehouse, Liquid Wines and Spirits, DuVin, Wally's, Vendome, Mel and Rose, Wine and Cheese Store, Woodland Hills Wine, Bottle Rock (to name a few. and have a few distributor friends and such, so I can generally tack down MOST of what I'm after. Heck, I've found some smashing bottles at Cost Plus and Bevmo.

        I also consider $7 low end in price. I have had some fabulous $7bottles. But low end can be higher in price.

        But really, just a general list of what YOU like is what I'm after, so I can enjoy the "hunt and taste!"

        I'm always willing to attempt to try something new.

        Give me a list from $7 and up. Frankly, most of my purchases fall between $7 and $30, but a really SMASHING bottle of something worth $$ might be possible!

        1. re: Diana
          z
          zin1953 Feb 7, 2008 09:00 PM

          OK, I can appreciate your reply. I always try to tailor my recommendations to the person's own palate, rather than listing my favorites -- which, of course, you may not like whatsoever. That said, as long as it's simply a list of what *I* like . . .

          Wines listed in completely random order, and limited to 2-3 per "category."

          From California:
          Storrs Winery -- grapes from Viento Vineyard, Monterey; ranges in sweetness (depending upon vintage) between 1.0-1.6
          Navarro Vineyards -- grapes from Anderson Valley, Mendocino; their super-sweet dessert wines are outstanding; so, too, are their "regular" harvest, but it's hard to beat their Cluster Select.
          Ventana Vineyards -- grapes from Monterey; the classic off-dry Monterey Riesling.
          Claiborne & Churchill Winery -- Central Coast, and quite dry.

          Washington State:
          Eroica -- hard to beat, period.
          Kiona -- regular and the occasional "ice wine."
          Chateau Ste. Michelle -- "regular"

          Elsewhere in the US:
          Grand Traverse -- from Michigan, and truly excellent!
          Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars -- from the Finger Lakes, both dry and off-dry

          Alsace:
          Trimbach -- Clos Ste. Hune is a classic, perhaps the ultimate Alsatian Riesling.
          Domaine Weinbach -- all of them, but especially their Grands Crus!
          Domaine Josmeyer -- especially the Grands Crus

          Germany:
          Donnhoff
          Muller-Catoir
          Joh. Jos. Christoffel

          Austria:
          Prager
          FX Pichler
          Bründlmeyer

          New Zealand:
          Isabel
          Seresin

          Australia:
          Gosset -- Polish Hill
          Pike's -- Clare Valley

          OK, hope that helps. There are, of course, hundreds -- if not thousands -- more that are well worthwhile.

          Cheers,
          Jason

          1. re: zin1953
            d
            Diana Feb 8, 2008 07:01 AM

            Jason,
            Thanks! Some of those I have never heard of! I agree about Eroica!

            I really want to try the Navarro as a cali ries. I'm printing out this whole thread to take with me as I explore!

            1. re: Diana
              c
              chazuke Feb 16, 2008 06:23 PM

              I agree that Eroica is an exceptional riesling, a collaboration between an American and German winemaker (Ernst Loosen) under the Ste. Michelle label.

              Another outstanding Washington State riesling, this one made by German winemaker Armin Diel under the Long Shadows Vintners label, is Poet's Leap, an off-dry, Spatlese-style effort of amazing depth. The 2005 won many awards. It is not a high-production wine and therefore may be hard to find, but it should be available in some wine shops.

              1. re: chazuke
                TBird Feb 17, 2008 08:12 AM

                looks like i am in the minority here, finding eroica to be uninspiring at best.

                while it is only $20, there are about a bizillion other real rieslings from germany, austria and alsace that make eroica seem like the wine-with-training-wheels that it is, and at the same price if not less.

      2. c
        Chicago Mike Feb 6, 2008 07:45 PM

        I'm a card carrying member of the "riesling cult"... right now the 2004 and 2005 germans are probably the best way to go.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Chicago Mike
          TBird Feb 6, 2008 08:09 PM

          2005 Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett - $16.24
          2006 Zilliken (Forstmeister Geltz) Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett - $17.98

          www.wine-searcher.com is your friend.
          :-)

          1. re: TBird
            d
            Diana Feb 7, 2008 07:13 AM

            Thanks for the link, I'll put those on my list!

          2. re: Chicago Mike
            d
            Diana Feb 7, 2008 07:13 AM

            Thanks! Great answer!

          3. w
            whiner Feb 7, 2008 01:41 AM

            There are so many grea ones...

            I'd look for 2005s of:

            From Germany Donnhoff, Wili Schaefer, and Muller-Catoir at all sweetness levels.

            I'd look to Weinbach from Alsace at all price points.

            I would also look to the Rieslings of Austria, particularly those made by Prager and FX Pichler. The greatest still white wine I ever tasted was the 1998 FX Pichler Unendlich. The 2005 is currently available, but should be cellared for 5 or more years.

            For more value wines, I like Dr. L and Leitz Dragonstone from Germany.

            1 Reply
            1. re: whiner
              d
              Diana Feb 7, 2008 07:14 AM

              I also have enjoyed Dr L and Dragonstone. I'm gonna look for the ones you mentioned!

            2. m
              mengathon Feb 7, 2008 08:29 AM

              You've gotten a lot of great German recommendations and the only domestic riesling everybody seems to like. For variety's sake, how about some from Australia? Granted, I've had my more than fair share of duds, but these are among the best.

              Grosset, Clare Valley, Polish Hill. ~$30
              I wasn't a believer in Australian riesling until I tried this one. It had better depth and minerality than any New World riesling I've tried. And unlike its New World counterparts, I think this one will age beautifully. I'm not opening my second bottle for at least 5 years.

              Leeuwin, Margaret River, Art Series. ~$20
              I don't remember much about this other than I liked it. As a bonus, the labels are pretty.

              Mount Horrocks, Clare Valley, Cordon Cut ~$30/375
              A little something off the beaten path. A beautiful dessert-style wine. Both the sweetness and acidity are super intense. According to Wine Spectator's Harvey Steiman, this wine is made from raisined grapes without botrytis.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mengathon
                d
                Diana Feb 7, 2008 10:30 AM

                Now, I haven't had too many Austrian ries! Thanks, I'll look these up!

                1. re: mengathon
                  c
                  Chicago Mike Feb 7, 2008 02:33 PM

                  I like alot of domestic rieslings... never understood why they always get slammed on this board.

                  Even if you're not wild about them by themselves, they can be very food friendly, at the least;.

                2. Chinon00 Feb 8, 2008 04:31 AM

                  I was just wondering, once you've received enough wine recommendations (currently 40+ [and counting]) how do you (Diana) plan to choose which ones you'll seek out and buy? Or will you simply purchase everything suggested that you have available to you?

                  Thanks

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Chinon00
                    a
                    anewton Feb 8, 2008 06:22 AM

                    For value-priced riesling, I really like the wines from St. Urbans-Hof. They have some more expensive rieslings, but their basic riesling retails for around $13 in the US and is fantastic.

                    Several have already mentioned Eroica, with which you already seem well-aquainted.

                    From Alsace, try the Domaine Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile. I believe 2005 will be a good vintage, though this wine needs time.

                    Joh. Jos. Prum makes a whole host of outstanding rieslings.

                    1. re: Chinon00
                      d
                      Diana Feb 8, 2008 07:04 AM

                      I will go out and look to see what I can get from my local retailers. Then I will pick a few (4 or 5) and get those. Whenever I drink a bottle, I'll cross it off the list and go hunt for another of an untried one!

                      I was thinking of doing a vertical tasting party with some finger foods.

                      I think indian, mexican, japanese, honduran, ethiopian, dessert bites and such would match well, but I have to really sample the wines to be sure!

                      1. re: Diana
                        Chinon00 Feb 8, 2008 11:32 AM

                        "Then I will pick a few (4 or 5) and get those".

                        Upon what particular basis will you choose these 4 or 5?

                        Just curious. Thanks!

                        1. re: Chinon00
                          d
                          Diana Feb 8, 2008 12:49 PM

                          I'll probably pick a domestic, an austrian, alsatian, german and australian with a range from dry to sweet, with a different price range.

                          One day, I want to do another vertical of all the different quality levels in Germans.

                          1. re: Diana
                            Chinon00 Feb 8, 2008 01:50 PM

                            I think that your idea of doing different German rieslings (and from one or two regions) would be a lot more coherent than attempting to do five different countries with a broad range of dryness and price. It might still be fun but again not as coherent.

                    2. m
                      mac8111 Feb 8, 2008 12:05 PM

                      If you want a bone dry Riesling with small production, maybe give the Angove's Clare Valley Riesling a shot.

                      1. jcoz23 Feb 8, 2008 01:59 PM

                        I don't know how readily available they are around the country, but last fall I visited the Finger Lakes and one of the wineries I went to was Hermann J. Wiemer. I loved the Rieslings there- both the dry and the semi-dry. They were around $20. I am a red wine drinker the vast majority of the time, so for me to say they were the best Rieslings I've ever tasted really doesn't mean much... But they were the best I've ever tasted!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jcoz23
                          w
                          whiner Feb 8, 2008 06:13 PM

                          With the exception of Navarro and Eroica (only for their single berry select) the Finger Lakes produces the best Rieslings in North America, imo. Wiemer is one of the best producers in the region. Dr, Konstantin Frank is actually my favorite in the region an Trelevean is a great value.

                          1. re: whiner
                            vanillagorilla Feb 19, 2008 09:02 AM

                            I think Washington produces a lot of good to great riesling. The problem is that most of it is made by small producers with little to no distribution. I'm not even sure that some of our big players ship all their riesling outside the state. Chateau Ste. Michelle has a cheap dry riesling that I've never seen outside of the state and is pretty good for $6. K Vinters had Kung Fu Girl Riesling that was excellent. Even Sagelands has a very good riesling that they only sell at their tasting room.

                            Of course maybe the Finger Lakes are the same. I almost never see wine from that region in my local wine stores.

                        2. i
                          Ian_from_England Feb 17, 2008 12:24 PM

                          If you can get hold of a young Felton Road Riesling (Central Otago NZ ) you're in for a wonderful treat..it's like biting into a crisp Pink Lady apple..

                          1. f
                            fussycouple Feb 19, 2008 09:58 AM

                            Muller Catoir from Germany is um. . .the bomb.

                            In addition to specific recommendations, I find that the farther east I go in Germany, the better I like the region (overall).

                            Mosel-Saar-Ruhr wines give me heartburn, I don't know why, but there it is. I continue to "taste" them, but I don't drink them anymore.

                            Rheinhessen and points east make me very happy, so if you're exploring, try a geographical exploration in Germany.

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