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The Rheingau: From Marcobrunn to Kirchenstuck

While most classic wine regions of the Old World, such as Bordeaux, Rioja and Tuscany, focus on dry reds, the Rheingau, in Germany, is one of the very few classic regions producing primarily top-class white wines. These wines span sweetness levels from dry to off-dry to dessert. They are characterized both by finesse and power—the hallmark of great wines. The wines’ finesse comes from the riesling grape and their power is derived from excellent ripening conditions.
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2008 Schloss Reinhartshausen Erbacher Hohenrain Riesling

Pale but very bright golden in color. The nose is very quite floral, white flowers over stone fruit. Just-ripe peach, some apples, and honeysuckle lead on the palate. It is a bit flaccid on the mid-palate, then picks back up with some lemon-citrus tart on the finish. Off-dry, it pairs well with a lobster roll to pair sweet to sweet, or spicy fried oysters for contrast. Recommended. DH
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2009 Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett

An interesting wine, one that changes significantly with its temperature. Chilled, it leads with white flowers and lychee, trending to Meyer lemon on the mid-palate, all with an underlying pear. Acids are light, residual sugar evident, but all pleasantly so. Let it get a bit closer to room temperature, though, and it changes. The nose is a little toasty, with apples and a touch of gasoline in the background. On the palate, baked apple and sweet pear blend with white pepper, leading to a finish that lingers and brings back the memory of your last ginger snap. Drink with chicken salad before it gets too cold for a picnic. Recommended. DH
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2009 Gunderloch Jean Baptiste Riesling Kabinett

This has a lovely floral nose, magnolia and roses, toffee, and the tiniest hint of petrol. On the palate it is off-dry, with very subtle creamy citrus, more key lime pie than key lime, moving toward apple on the mid-palate, all lightly-honeyed, with an acid background and bright citrus tartness around the edges. From start to finish a sweet nuttiness lingers very lightly under all the other flavors. The floral accents come alive again on the finish. Drink with baked clams. Highly Recommended.
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1976 Balbach Niersteiner Klostergarten Optima Trockenbeerenauslese

Age shows through the color, which is very dark, like a tawny port. On the nose it smells a little oxidized, a bit like port there, too. But on the palate, oh on the palate!, it was a whole other story. It was sweet, with honey and maple syrup running strongly under all the other flavors. Floating above the mouth-filling sweetness was a whole collection of flavors, from white flowers to toffee, all with a very light background of lemon, tart and acidic. The finish lasts absolutely forever, with all the flavors eventually fading but one, leaving a taste, even the sensation, of a patiently-sucked Werther's Origina Caramell. Drink it with me. Foie gras would work too, but I'd rather you drink it with me. Very highly recommended.