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Jan 28, 2010 08:20 AM

Riesling recommendation?

A friend is new to wine drinking, and has found she rather likes Riesling that's a bit on the sweeter side. Any recommendations? Thanks in advance!

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  1. All kinds of good German rieslings to recommend. Taste taste taste. Find a good wine store and go to a tasting there.
    In Germany rieslings rated Kabinett can be off dry, Spatlese are sweeter and Auslese are sweeter still. Aging makes them taste less sweet. Also any riesling called Trocken has been fermented dry.
    Lots of rieslings from the Alsace are off dry as well. Stay away from Austrian rieslings.

    3 Replies
    1. re: SteveTimko

      Are your referring to Austrian or Australian Rieslings?


      1. re: Chinon00

        Either way, "Austrian OR "Australian," he question remains WHY?

        1. re: zin1953

          Austrian. Because of the sweetness. Off-dry Austrian rieslings are a rarity. For instance, I've had the 1999 Nigl Riesling Senftenberger Hochäcker and loved it. But this last weekend I tried the 1998 version and it was just over the tipping point to being too dry. I don't think her friend would like it either. Of course her friend may not like the 1999, either.
          I bought a bottle of the 2004 Weingut Gritsch Mauritiushof Riesling Smaragd 1000-Eimerberg because it was basically amistake wine and has some sweetness.

    2. Great information posted by SteveTimko, and there are definitely some awesome rieslings out there, and some bargains to be found. An example I can think of is the Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese *** that I picked up recently on the back vintage 2003 at $12 a bottle I think. For this wine, that is ridiclously cheap, and I wish I would have backed up the truck. It's in a great place.

      Don't however count out riesling from California and Washington We have many friends that just pop by while we're sitting out at our bistro table in front of our home, and will stop in for a glass of wine. These wines are usually pretty easy to find, inexpensive, and easily accessible. Snoqualmie is one that comes to mind, as well as Chateau St. Michele. I am sure others can give many good recs, but in looking through CellarTracker, I see that I haven't replinished our stash yet for summer. Need to do that before the warm weather rolls in! -mJ

      1. This website, The Riesling Report, may be of interest:


        3 Replies
        1. re: FishTales

          Don't forget Blii Mayer:
          I went to his 60 wine Tasting last year and it was awesome.

          Yeah, there's plenty of lovely, not-too-pricey stuff out there.
          I'm finding I really like the Rheinhessen area, Nahe, Alsace and Mosel.
          Why not do a little research in your area and see if your local retailer is a
          Riesling fan as well? The fun part about wine is trying different styles
          and seeing what you like.

          1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

            Are you talking about the one last January? I was there too and it was pretty good. I attached a photo.

            1. re: SteveTimko

              Hi Steve,

              Yeah, that's the one. I had to work that day so I couldn't try everything and had to "rinse & spit". There was an amazing $35 bottle that just coated my palate with flowers. I'm kicking myself that I didn't get a chance to pick it up. So good!
              Oh, I just saw a Dr. Loosen Qba in my TJ's Order Guide for $10.99.
              I'm planning on bringing it in, so I'll check it out and report back.

        2. I'm prejudiced b/c I am a big fan of NYS wines (live in the area, used to work at wineries) but the Finger Lakes make some fantastic rieslings. Try Hermann J. Wiemer, Glenora, Dr. Frank for starters. I really like Glenora's Dry Riesling, but I believe they also make a semi-dry or semi-sweet that might appeal to your friend.

          12 Replies
          1. re: VikingKvinna

            Dr. Frank's riesling sparkler for $20 is a hell of a bargain, and an absolutely fun sparkler! The rose sparkler isn't bad for the price either! -mJ

            1. re: VikingKvinna

              New York rieslings are next to impossible to find on the west coast. I've been looking for Finger Lakes rieslings for two years and have never found one.

              1. re: SteveTimko

                Dr. Frank ships! We get it direct from the winery Steve! Worth a shot, t least for the sparkling! -mJ

                1. re: njfoodies

                  I thought NJ law prevented having alcohol delivered from out of state?

                  1. re: MGZ

                    There are many wineries that will not ship to NJ. A few that I can think of off the top of my head are Kosta Browne, Sea Smoke, Antica Terra, Lillian, and Quilceda Creek. Hence the reason we have to have offsite storage with a Manhattan shipping address, but their climate controlled warehouse is actually on the Jersey side of the border. Is it a hassel? A little bit, but it is much easier than shipping to my sister or friends in Illinois, and then having them ship it to NJ. At least this way, I only pay shipping once as well. On the other hand, there are plenty of wineries that will ship to NJ: Stefania, Kistler, Rivers-Marie, Holdredge, Auteur, Maybach, etc, etc....I don't know exactly how it works, but some wineries will, and some others won't.

                    Today, Senate Bill S766 will be heard by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee at 1300 hours in Trenton. We'll see what happens!

                    Dr. Frank doesn't ship to NJ, so I have to have it shipped to offsite, then make my way up to North Jersey to pick them up. Only make a few trips a year up there, as most everything we ship there is because we want it "out of sight, out of mind!" No temptation to open something when it's not in the house to open! =) -mJ

                2. re: SteveTimko

                  "New York rieslings are next to impossible to find on the west coast. I've been looking for Finger Lakes rieslings for two years and have never found one."

                  I find it odd that Finger Lakes Rieslings would be so hard to find on the West Coast, and yet you can find plenty of German Rieslings?
                  Pinot Noir just doesn't come from France. Here in NY state stores we can find plenty of top quality WA, OR, and CA pinots on the shelf.
                  I think it boils down to the fact that West Coast people are not asking for NY state wines when they go to their stores. Perhaps they are spoiled from having so many good West Coast wines to choose from, and cold weather grapes like reisling get lost in the shuffle.
                  Finger Lakes, and Niagara, Rieslings can go right up and even surpass the German counterparts. And I think Niagara Icewines are better too. And at half the price.
                  When I was in Napa I was surprised that many of the wine pourers had never had Icewine, like it was some exotic thing from Europe...

                  I highly recommend Wiemer and Dr. Franks rieslings. Ask for them at your store.

                  1. re: lisagambino

                    Some producers, like Wiemer and Dr. Frank, are starting to get better distribution. But they have always been a hard sell outside the local area, and since the good wineries tend to be small, often sell out without having to search for distant markets. Unfortuantely there is a lot of NYS crap (e.g. Bully Hill) that also has good distribution.

                    1. re: lisagambino

                      Just had a 1998 Henry of Pelham this weekend and enjoyed it quite a bit.

                      1. re: SteveTimko

                        I just tried a wonderful Riesling from Cave Spring Cellars on the Niagara Peninsula. It was off-dry, long and unctuous on the palate. Very sexy. It also carried a gentle note of petroleum, lending it an Alsace-like quality. The one I tried was from the 2007 vintage which unfortunately is being phased out where I live. I stocked up on a couple I loved it so much. Total bargain at 16$ Canadian.

                      2. re: lisagambino

                        I always find that odd too. You'd think that other U.S. wines would be easier to find than out of country wines, but I guess NY State still has a long way to go when it comes to the distribution. It's a shame because Finger Lakes Rieslings are great. I agree with your assessment of the situation. West Coast people are not aware of NY wines because they are so used to living in a great wine region themselves. I spent a few months living in Lubbock, TX and I went to a huge wine store (that had wines from all over the world) and asked for Finger Lakes wines. They replied "Is that in California?"

                        I agree with the Herman Wiemer and Dr. Frank recommendations for Rieslings. There are many other wineries that produce cheaper Rieslings that are also delicious. Lucas has great ones.

                        1. re: Solstice444

                          K&L is one of the best wine stores on the west coast and it has one or two Finger Lakes rieslings. They just don't make it out there.
                          Of course, Oregon borders Nevada, where I live, and Oregon pinot is rare here too.

                          1. re: Solstice444

                            It's actually not strange at all . . .

                            While I agree that there are some excellent wines (not just Rieslings) from New York State, it is a common feature in all wine-producing regions that wines from any other wine-producing region are not all that common. For example, it's not all that easy to find more than a token few Loire Valley wines in the Bordeaux region; or wines from the Languedoc in Alsace -- let alone wines from Italy in Spain . . .

                            I "imported" a number of New York State producers (vinifera only), as well as Oregon and Washington State wineries, into California. Washington State wines were (are) the easiest to sell, New York wines the most difficult -- even though we had top-flight wineries -- and Riesling the most difficult of grapes.

                    2. Thank you all for your insight and recommendations! I'm more of a red wine gal myself, so your input is very much appreciated.