2008 Dr. Loosen Riesling Dr. L

2008 Dr. Loosen Riesling Dr. LPrice: $9.99 @ Dr. Loosen imported by Loosen Bros*

What They Said:

Per Dr. Loosen “Sleek and tangy, showing apricot, lime and mango flavors matched to a lively structure. There’s nice harmony and persistence through the finish.” – No. 62 on Wine Spectator’s 2009 Top 100 List

What I Think:

(8.5%) Surprised to get this one as a sample as it seems the 2010 is the current vintage. A nice purity on the palate this one is slightly sweet and rich with tart green apple and lemon rind flavors. From there pleasant acidity leads to a mouthwatering finish. Clean and refreshing. All in all perhaps a touch sweeter than I prefer but at $10 this is simple and pleasing. Can you find better? Likely but you’ll find worse while you are looking…

Rating: Interesting (As mentioned maybe you can do better but is it worth the risk…)

*This wine was received as a press sample.

2010 Dr. Beckermann Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling

A long a favorite I was hoping this one could follow in the footsteps of previous vintages like the 2005 and 2006. That said it used to be Spätlese now just Qualitätswein. Does it matter?

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2010 Dr. Beckermann Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling Spatlesenothing on the bottle or the web. Any of my Trader Joe’s insiders out there have the scoop on this one?

What I Think:

(9%) Honeyed, pollinated, floral nose. Light spritz, effervescent. Some surprising weight (yet still light and easy) on the palate with a crisp lemon citrus edge over a green apple core. This one is off dry, just a touch sweet, with a slight mineral acidity to keep the finish fresh and pleasing. A simple, straightforward quaffer this one would work well as an aperitif.

Rating: Buy It

2009 Hermann Wiemer Dry Riesling

2009 Hermann Wiemer Dry RieslingPrice: $14.99 @ Hermann Wiemer

What They Said:

Per Hermann Wiemer (pdf) “The dry style Riesling is the signature of Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard. Exceptional grapes from each of our three vineyard locations come together to create this mouth-watering wine. This wine is fermented in small lots to ensure quality and then blended to perfection to create an elegant and balanced wine. With each vintage, we seek to match the appropriate level of fruit flavor with refreshing crispness that lets the true qualities of the Riesling grape shine through. Hints of lime and orange blossom on the nose set the stage for a succulent palate of apricot and grapefruit. Our trademark minerality creates a beautiful texture that carries into a long, lingering finish.

What I Think:

(11.5%) Apple, floral blossoms with lemon and lime on the nose. The palate starts with bright tangerine, lemon flavors followed by crisp green apple notes on a backbone of crushed rock. A firm mineral, citrusy acidity lasts through to the finish which is long and lingering. A beauty, so refreshing and just the slightest hint sweet (0.9% RS) to add a pleasant richness to the palate. Mouthwatering to the last drop which you are sad to see go. This one is worthy of a case buy if I can find it. Thanks to @wineingwoman for sending this one my way!

Rating: Wow!

How about you? Had a wine from New York? If so what did you think?

2009 Black Star Farms Arcturos Riesling

Price: $18.00 from Black Star Farms

What They Said:

2009 Black Star Farms Arcturos RieslingPer Black Star Farms on the 2010 “Riesling from great vineyards and vintages can produce some of the world’s most interesting and age-worthy dry wines. Vibrant and fresh with lush fruit aromas and balanced with bracing acidity, this wine will surprise you with its versatility at the table.”

What I Think:

(11%) My first wine from Michigan courtesy of @WineMonologues. Pale gold in color. White floral, mineral nose. Starts clean, crisp and focused slowly unfurling to show ripe peach and red grapefruit flavors with more citrus on the edges. Nice acidity (soft, not biting) throughout and a touch sweet on a balanced, refreshing green apple finish. Pegged between dry and medium dry on the International Riesling Foundation scale there is a lot to like here…

Rating: Interesting

How about you? Had a wine from Michigan? If so what did you think?

2009 Rabl Riesling Steinhaus

Price: $7.99 @ K&L Wines

What They Said:

2009 Rabl Riesling SteinhausPer K&L Wines “Imagine yourself sipping on a cold glass of fresh grape juice (white grape juice not that oddly colored purple stuff) with a slightly muddled apricot right off the tree. For being so delicate and lifting this has quite the structure behind it along with plenty of power keeping everything in check just in case you leave it open for a day or three or, forget a few bottles in the back of your closet. Weingut Rabl is a family run winery quietly located in the village of Langenlois, the heart of the Kamp Valley. The unique microclimates and mineral rich soils give these wines their unique and renowned character. If you are looking for wines that are spot on typical of Kamptal and posses spot on varietal character, these are most definitely wines for you.”

What I Think:

(12.5%) Pure, perhaps a bit light golden in color. Bright minerality on the palate with faint peach and firm acidity which leads to a spicy finish lacking fruit perhaps. Clean, crisp almost perfectly dry. More fruit as it warms so be sure not to drink this one too cold. A tad of sweetness emerges as it warms; makes me wonder what the residual sugar is? Either way this one is well structure and appears it will last for a while. Single vineyard Riesling (discounted from $19) for $8? Sign me up! I already grabbed six more…

Rating: Buy It

2010 Hungry Hollow Riesling

Hungry Hollow is the latest label from one of my long standing favorites; Navarro Vineyards (reviews). The reference is to an old railway that used to run lumber from the town of Navarro to be loaded on ships bound for San Francisco. The most eastern end of that track resided in Hungry Hollow where the “wine flowed freely in boarding houses and dance halls”. Previously sold off in bulk Navarro (thankfully) decided to recognize the state of the economy and introduce a new line of “local wines at prices every thrifty and hard-working man or woman can afford.” I applaud them for doing so. The initial release consists of a Riesling (review below), Gewurztraminer and a Syrah. Best of all those interested in trying it can get a sample pack of all three for $30 with one cent shipping. I’m enjoying the Gewurztraminer as I write and looking forward to the Syrah soon but in the meantime here are my thoughts on the Riesling…

2010 Hungry Hollow RieslingPrice: $9.99 @ Navarro Vineyards

What They Said:

Per Navarro Vineyards “Navarro’s Campsite vineyard is out favorite source of Riesling. It was planted fifteen years ago on gravely soil to three different clones, each one a preferred choice in three different countries: clone 49 from Alsace, Neustadt 90 from Germany and FPMS 9 from California. We kept the lots separate during winemaking as they ripened at different rates. This vintage was the coolest on record, the grapes ripened very slowly and it was late October before the grapes had turned from green to gold finally signaling that the grapes were ripe. Clone 9 we discovered had less sugar than normal and produced a wine with very low alcohol reminiscent of German Rieslings from the Rheinpfalz. The pretty aromas are of jasmine, green apple and apricot. Pippin apple dominates the flavors with suggestions of lime zest and peach. The finish is remarkably dry due to high natural acidity and the restrained alcohol of only 11.3% keeps it refreshing. This is a light, crisp wine to serve before supper or to accompany crab, abalone, clams, halibut or your own version of fisherman’s stew.”

What I Think:

(11.3%) Citrus, banana and apricot on the nose. Juicy, rich palate with loads of green apples backed up by peach flavors and moderate acidity that keeps it crisp throughout. Including through the citrus driven finish which is short but refreshing. This is a dry version with (thank goodness for me) not even a hint of sweetness. While I’d like a bit more acidity this is certainly fairly priced at $10. My recommendation is to drink this a touch colder than your typical white. Either way Riesling is by nature extremely food friendly and this is easy to recommend with salads, seafood, Asian dishes and more.

Wine Geek Notes: 22.4 brix. Residual Sugar = 0.9g/l. Bottle says 12.5%abv web says 11.3%. Made from a blend of three clones; clone 49 from Alsace, Neustadt 90 from Germany and FPMS 9 from California.

2007 Trinchero Family Riesling

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2007 Trinchero Family RieslingPer Trinchero “The nose is a seductive blend of honeysuckle and white peaches. Green apple, kiwi and banana mingle on the palate. The hint of residual sugar is perfectly balanced with sufficient acidity to display a nice long tropical fruit finish. This is not the typical sweet-style California Riesling—it is clean, and not cloying.”

What I Think:

Floral, honeyed and a bit syrupy on the nose. This one was overly sweet to go with the chicken I prepared. Based on the wineries description this was not what I was hoping for. That said, not bad either. For the 2nd bottle I’ll stick to my traditional spicy Asian food pairing here as this one does not have a hint of crispness. All that said, I’m not likely to buy this one again.

Rating: Skip It

Wines of Wisconsin: Botham Vineyards Riesling

Wines of Wisconsin: Wisconsin Winery Association Members MapBeing a wine lover and a native son it is somewhat surprising that tasting the wines of my birthplace has yet to occur. On the other hand we are known for our beer and cheese and I personally didn’t even realize that this chasm existed. But like a good parent my mother was aware and chose to rectify by lugging a number of bottles to the Bay Area on her last visit. Among those was this Botham Vineyards Riesling. Before we get to the bottle, let’s do a 30 second version on Wine and Wisconsin to provide some perspective.

Wisconsin was the original American home of Agoston Haraszthy, a pioneer, who is sometimes referred to as the “Father of California Viticulture” having introduced more than three hundred varieties of European grapes to the region. Needless to say it didn’t take him long to figure out Wisconsin wasn’t the promised land for winemakers. That said, others would step in to continue his quest and today Bob Wollersheim is recognized by many as the father of the Wisconsin wine industry”. A pioneer as well, Bob began his work in 1972 and experimented 1972 with hundreds of varieties of grapevines to see which would suit the colder climates. Today Wisconsin is home to one AVA (Lake Wisconsin) and some forty wineries. Typically most wineries import grapes (from California, Washington, and New York States) and do the production here in the state. Others mix imported grapes with estate-grown grapes while only a few producers actually make wine entirely from locally grown grapes. I couldn’t find any statistics on how much wine the state is producing but I did keep finding one sentence that appears to be a local favorite. I will use it here to summarize my findings: “The Wisconsin River Valley isn’t the Napa Valley. But it also doesn’t have a shred of snobbery.”

NV Botham Vineyards Riesling
NV Botham Vineyards Riesling

Price: $9.50 @ Friend/Gift

What They Said:

Per Botham Vineyards “Crafted in the Johannesburg style for gentle sweetness, our Riesling is smooth, rich, mouth-filling pleasure. Imagine drinking velvet and you’ll understand the essence of this wine’s deep and beautifully balanced character.”

What I Think:

Botham Vineyards is located 110 miles due west of my hometown Milwaukee or 30 miles from the state capital of Madison. Their story begins around 1990 when Peter Botham, after dabbling with vines in Maryland, decided to return to Wisconsin and begin a winery of his own. The inaugural vintage was a thousand cases (if my conversion from gallons is correct) in 1993 and today they produce roughly 12,000 cases annually. When asked about his winemaking style Peter said he tries to create a regional flavor in his wines by growing 10 percent to 15 percent of his grapes and buying the rest from New York’s Finger Lakes region, which has a similar but slightly more moderate climate. In addition to a passion for wine Peter shares the same for vintage cars. The winery holds an annual Vintage Celebration to merge these two passions with a car show at the winery with the vineyards just at the peak of its growing season. Knowing Wisconsin as I do I can imagine this is a well attended and a huge hit!

So, finally to the juice, what did I think? For starters; semi dry can mean a lot of different things to different people. In this case for me it meant semi sweet, given my preference for Rieslings made in a dry style. This one had floral notes on the nose, a great mouth feel and a unique mineral, flintiness that kept the sweetness in check (just barely). If you want to taste something local or want to explore different regions and/or interpretations of a varietal this one is worth a try. Interesting enough for me I have wanted to explore the wines of the Finger Lakes in New York. Looks like in a roundabout way I got a head start with this one.

Rating: 12th Bottle

2007 Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling

2007 Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley RieslingPrice: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per Chateau Ste. Michelle “We craft our Columbia Valley Riesling to be an inviting, refreshing, off-dry Riesling vintage after vintage. This Riesling consistently delivers classic Washington state Riesling characters of juicy peach, ripe pear, melon, with subtle mineral notes. This is our everyday Riesling that is versatile and easy to drink.”
-Bob Bertheau, Head Winemaker

What I Think:

This one was recommended to me a while back via a comment from Danny. First off thanks for the tip, I always appreciate them. Keep’em coming all! That said I sat on for a while. Based on my lukewarm experience with the ’06 vintage of the same I was a bit hesitant. Especially given having a very dependable alternative in one of my long time favorites; the Dr. Beckermann Spatlese. When I saw Dr. Debs recent post on exploring Washington wines starting with Rieslings from Columbia Valley I had to join the journey and grabbed a bottle.

On opening, the color is striking (especially compared to L’Accessa). The color is almost see through straw, akin to a champagne or sparkler. This was the first, but wouldn’t be the last, characteristic of this wine that had me drawing comparisons to Sauvignon Blanc. The nose started very crisp, a common occurrence straight out of the fridge. Unlike Gary Vee (link it up Jason ?) I was looking forward to the journey to room temperature. Mr. Vaynerchuk favors starting there straight away. Personally, as a casual drinker/taster, I like to see the wine at some different stages. I’ve found I like some very cold, some at room temperature and most somewhere in between. In addition, I enjoy seeing the different taste profiles, or personas in my day job, the wine has given based on the temperature. What would be really interesting is to start tracking the temperature with my tasting notes. Anyone ever done that? Sorry, wine geek moment.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. At the front of the palate you initially find a crispness with a bit of acidity which breaks open to rich white fruit on the mid palate with green apple prevalent and white, peachy notes lurking nearby. Bit of oak or something else on the finish? I was getting stones and mineral with hints of lemon rind; again almost a Sauvgnon Blanc-ish finish. I’m a fan. Revisiting the ’06 it looks like my initial perceptions were tainted by a poor food pairing, not a disappointing wine. That said, for my taste buds, this one is not for the traditional spicy food. Skip the Asian pairing angle here. Good news that is where the Dr. Beckermann’s thrives. A surprising outcome, on the Chateau Ste. Michelle. Unexpected and delightful, all the good flavors of Riesling without a hint of sweetness. I’ve already bought three more bottles and recommend you grab one for yourself. Looking forward to hearing what you think!

Rating: Buy It

2005 Kono Baru Riesling

Price: $3.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the winery “The aromatics of this wine are tropical with mango, passion fruit and apricot fruit notes. The palate is concentrated with stone fruit, ripe Fuji apple and Bartlett pear notes intermingled with honeycomb, petrol, wet stone and mineral flavors. These old vine Rieslings have great capacity to age attractively, in this case into 2010 and possibly beyond.

This Riesling is an excellent food wine. Try it with a John Dory filet in parchment with truffled mashed potatoes and haricot vert. The bright acidity of the wine with spicey bouillabaisse seafood stew, Kumamoto oysters on the half shell with a Champagne mignonette, or refreshing grapefruit and mint salad, is a perfect midsummer, poolside combination.

Most of Australia’s wine is produced in the south-eastern region of the country, an area which, like California, boasts considerable geographic and climatic diversity. It is well known that the Central Goulburn of Victoria area produces an excellent Riesling. Flavors born in the high altitude vineyards of the Adelaide hills, the cool coastal climate of Tasmania, and the deep granitic soils of the Strathbogie Ranges contribute to the distinct characters that gives these wines an international appeal.”

What I Think:

This wine was made for blogging, check out the link above and you’ll see what I mean. Tasting notes, bottle shots and the podcast all linked directly to the wine. That is usability I had never before come across on a winery website. I’m already ready to buy another bottle. The interest continued when I found on the site that Don Sebastiani & Son’s are responsible for this wine under their Three Loose Screws label. This was surprising given that this is an Australian offering.

Unfortunately much of my interest in this bottle ended about here. While the wine was quaffable it certainly didn’t distinguish itself. At times it tasted like Sauvignon Blanc and others just any generic white, I struggled to constantly remind myself that this was suppose to be a Riesling. I’ll be sticking to my favorite German offering but perhaps I’ll give another one of the Kono Baru offerings a try at some point.

Rating: Skip It