Your opinion please! Best rieslings to get right now?
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.
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!
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!
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."
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.
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
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
Joh. Jos. Christoffel
Gosset -- Polish Hill
Pike's -- Clare Valley
OK, hope that helps. There are, of course, hundreds -- if not thousands -- more that are well worthwhile.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.