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Recommend German Riesling for me?

erica Jun 13, 2013 04:27 AM

In past I've loved Monchoff Robert Eymael Urziger Wurzgarten auslese or spatlese, maybe kabinett if not bone dry (I prefer a bit of sweetness) but prices are creeping up. I know Eymael has an entry level wine but I've not tried it,, or been able to find it here in Manhattan.

Looking to buy a few cases of Riesling for summer; should be under $20 bottle, please. Dr. Loosen L is an old standby but was hoping to branch out, and up, and bit. Suggestions welcome. Would prefer wine available in Manhattan but willing to have shipped if exceptional.

I will be drinking these by myself (!!) as every last person I offer them to cringes at the thought of Riesling. But they are cetainly missing out on some gorgeous wines!

Many thanks...

  1. c
    chefdilettante Jun 16, 2013 11:30 AM

    Another great place to buy Riesling is Moore Brothers (20th between Park and Fifth). They have selections from Ratzenberger and Keller, two of my favorite producers, for $20 or under.

    1. t
      TombstoneShadow Jun 15, 2013 09:46 PM

      Hi Erica: Great question, in no particular order:

      1: Focus first on the VINTAGES, then the specific vineyards and producers. Right now hands down the best year on the shelf is 2009. A uniformly great year in the Mosel... you can almost throw darts and hit great wines from 2009 at or under $20-25.

      2: Kabinetts are anything but "bone dry", unless you're buying a dry (labeled "trocken") or half-dry (halb-trocken) wine, there will be a satisfying level of sweetness, not to the same extent as spatlese and auslese, but far from dry.

      3: Definitely branch out from the Urziger Wurzgarten; a great location, but there are so many great wine properties in Germany. As the other posters have said, visit your local wine shops and see what they have on the shelves and, can't stress this enough... focus on the vintage year. Speaking of which, the abundant year I would generally avoid right now is 2010.

      4: "every last person cringes at the thought of Riesling"... obviously these are not experienced wine drinkers; and thankfully so, it's their lack of experience that keeps the prices down on these gems. You are spot on, riesling is one of the greatest wines in the world, and certainly one of the most food friendly, in fact THE most food friendly wine in the world to my palate, I can't even think of a close second.

      5: Good point one poster made, don't just limit yourself to Germany. One of the greatest wines I ever had was a $5 bottle of the 1995 Fetzer "johannisberg riesling". Talk about an overlooked gem... it actually won a major California State wine tasting event, beating out something like 2000 other wines... like ambrosia, a "honeyed" auslese if you will... I miss that wine :)

      6: Lastly, why not expand your horizons and start experimenting with dessert Rieslings?? Late harvest rieslings are among the world's most versatile dessert wines... matching especially well with desserts having a fruit component, enjoy.

      2 Replies
      1. re: TombstoneShadow
        erica Jun 16, 2013 06:05 AM

        I want to thank you for an incredibly helpful and informative post, which I have shared with a few others. I was fortunate to find 6 bottles of the Robert Eymael Monchoff kabinett at Garnet in NYC....the last bottles of the producer at that (large) store. Your comments are, again, supremely helpful and I will, indeed, branch out to other origins of the grape, outside Germany.

        EVen people whom I thought were knowledgeable about wine cautioned me not to buy a "white wine that is so old." Good to learn that my instinct were good, and I will now attempt to seek out others from 2009.

        Another that I liked was JJ Christoffel Erben Urziger Wurzgarten, but my stock is now, sadly, depleted. Time to stock up..keep the recommendations coming, please!!

        1. re: erica
          t
          TombstoneShadow Jun 16, 2013 10:27 PM

          Hi Erica... another "step" I'd recommend for you is to branch your tastings into the gewurztraminer wines of Alsace.

          Anyone who likes riesling is likely to be very fond of gewurztraminer. I've heard them called 'sister" or "cousin" grapes. While the flavors are distinctly different, both wines tend to match similar foods, so you can have an awesome tasting at the same dinner of both of these wines.

          I would caution that gewurztraminer vintages (and producers) are a less even than for riesling....i.e. you have to watch the vintage years quite closely, do some research on specific bottles, and have a few wine shops that consistently give you good reccos... also, at least for my palate, I've not found gewurztraminer outside of Alsace to be very interesting, whereas there is good to great riesling all over the world really.

          ... but with those in hand you'll have a whole new horizon to explore there.

      2. penthouse pup Jun 13, 2013 07:10 AM

        Erica,
        Astor (NYC) has a long list of rieslings under $20 and they deliver with $100 purchase. If you go online and look, don't restrict yourself to Germany--they carry some excellent and inexpensive rieslings from Washington state. They're quite reliable for in-store advice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: penthouse pup
          ChefJune Jun 13, 2013 09:55 AM

          Astor is a great place to shop for wines. and they have lots of tastings. might call and see if a Riesling tasting is in the works.

          Also, Crush on 57th Street has an interesting inventory all around. They only carry wines the owners love. and they have a great selection of Rieslings.

        2. z
          zin1953 Jun 13, 2013 06:52 AM

          Why not go to Chambers St., and ask them for recommendations?

          1. w
            wattacetti Jun 13, 2013 05:42 AM

            Our local monopoly gouges us significantly so pricing is something you'd have to check.

            I buy Joh Jos Prüm's Graacher Himmelreich and Wehlener Sonnenuhr production, and the Kabinetts are what I go for in the summer. Selbach-Oster's Kabinetts have been interesting in the past as have been Dr. H Thanisch.

            I don't know if you can get some (I certainly can't) but there is some amazing stuff from Philipp Wittmann (Weingut Wittmann; Rheinhessen).

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