Tag Archive: Riesling


Chelsey brought in some fun German wines, to bolster our German portfolio. I tell you, it’s hard to find/hard to sell a German wine that isn’t a Gewurztraminer or a Riesling, though thanks to the swill, Liebfraumilch, it’s even harder to sell a varietally correct Riesling that doesn’t taste like syrup. Below are the following, worthy of note, so here’s hoping we’ll be able to bring the spiffy ones on!

“Armand” Riesling Kabinett 2014 by Reichsrat von Buhl: Amazing for a VDP Gutswein, with excellent white floral notes of freesia and lilies, green apples, ocean marble, green starfruit flesh, and an opening to almost orange cream-sicle and lychee. This would be a crowd-pleaser with such an abundance of fruit.

Wegner Stempel’s Weißburgunder 2014: Interesting to see a pinot blanc made in an almost Gewurztraminer fashion. seemed very gravelly, herbal, and structured with lava pumice rather than fruit. This wine is dry, austere, with popcorn kernels, celery, taragon, and the dusty pumice that threw it forward, like whiplash. I’m not a fan, but people might like it.

Schloß Lieser by Thomas Haag “Feinherb” SL Riesling 2014: Best balance of all the wines present. This wine is precisely what people would expect from a Riesling, with a rich round body, cantaloupe, pears and pineapple acid that has a little barb at the end hidden by green ferns.

Salwey Pinot Noir 2012

I saved the best for last. This Pinot Noir stole the show. I’ve never had a Pinot Noir from Germany, but man, this is wine makes me want to meet the maker. I would happily save to visit this winery, if indeed it were an accurate portrayal (who knows?). It is rich with dusty cherries, and reminds me of a frosty fall morning with bare feet on the wood floors, with a body of strawberries and whiffs of smoked meat. Can I purchase a case on pre-sale????

*Please keep in mind, these are the rough notes that I passed along to the boss. They’re not my standard review, nor did I spend as much time with these wines as I normally would have*

Ziergarten Riesling 2012

Ziergarten Riesling, from the Mosel River vineyards in Germany is one of the most unique Rieslings that I have ever had. I ordered it at Sweet Chili’s Asian Bistro, in Bozeman, to be paired with Pad Thai. Notoriously perfectly paired with spicy, Asian cuisine, the fruit in Rieslings balances it out beautifully for an enhanced meal. Instead of the standard, overly fruity American Rieslings, or kabinett or spatelese Rieslings that are standard for Germany, this Riesling was decorated not in fruit, but in black pepper, herbacious parsley and cilantro. The complexity of the Riesling makes it even better with the complex spices of the food, allowing for a more in-depth pairing. As the meal progressed, the wine opened up with golden pear flavors, vanilla, lillies, and abundant white pepper. The acid balance with the herbaciousness, and the fruit makes this wine, by far, the very best Riesling that I have ever had.

King’s Ridge Riesling:
This wine is pale, daylight bright and clean. The aromas are rich with iced honey, with hints of florals. At first sip, it is honeydew, with slightly sharper edges, like the tart finish on honeydew melon after it’s sat on your tongue for a little time. Eventually, it opens up to apple blossoms, and fresh green apples.

L’Ecole Chenin Blanc
Typically, this grape is from South Africa, but in this case, Washington State. In the glass, it’s brilliant and bright, pale sunlight. Across the nose, it is super ripe cantaloupe and linden blossoms woven together with Raineer Cherries, tempered with pineapple acid. This wine opens to buttery vanilla and becomes delightfully crisp and refreshing.

Champalou Vouvray
This French white wine whispers in your ears with honeydew melon, white stone fruits, fossilized white shells. It’s more reticent than the other two, being more mineral than fruit. It’s more welcoming than the other two, enticing, and stands well on it’s own, immediately. The other two need a few more minutes to open than this one, and would be better with food. The Champalou Vouvray is lovely with and without food, opening to rich caramel, and papaya.

This is a delightful riesling, that I expected to be cloying and sweet, but as it turns out, Italian Rieslings are perfectly balanced. This wine is light, with mild golden pear flavors, delightfully dry, framed with hints of orange citrus, and enough acid to make my mouth water.
This wine is a sample bottle sent to George’s Distributing for tasting, and boy howdy, I wish we carried it. Normally, I’m not a fan of rieslings, because they’ve become too Americanized, made “sweet” for the masses of soda-drinkers. It’s always refreshing to find one that is true to it’s varietal.

Headsnapper Rieslig 2011

This riesling from the Columbia Valley in Washington is a splendid wine that sparkles a little across the palate as it surprises with light white peach flavors, apricot, and nectarines with hints of pineapple. This wine is lighter than most rieslings that I’ve found, and nicely fruity without being cloying. It would be a great pairing with seafood, and Thai food.

Seven Hills Riesling 2011

Seven Hills Riesling 2011 from the Columbia Valley, WA is a delightfully dry riesling. Most rieslings that you find in the states are fruity and sweet to some degree. This dry, racy riesling captures your senses with pineapples and grapefruit at the open, followed by big juicy black and white cherries that fades for a mouth watering finish of ripe, fresh, golden pear.

A note about SWEET: Wines aren’t usually SWEET. They’re usually fruity- or fruit forward.

The way to tell if something is sweet, is to pinch your nose closed, and stick the tip of your tongue into the wine. If you sense sugar on the tip of your tongue, then it’s sweet. Otherwise, it’s just fruit forward. Sugar is sensed usually on the tip of one’s tongue, and this is often the residual sugar that hasn’t been consumed by the yeast in the wine-making process, or the sugar excess of a chaptalized wine.

213901This Riesling from down under presents as pale hay, and brightly golden in the glass. It comes from the Margaret River area in Australia. It’s full of golden delicious and pink lady apple flavors, lemon zest, pear skin, and edges of green minerality. While this is an un-oaked chardonnay, it still has a mildly buttery quality that is eery.

The Leeuwin Estate Riesling is supposedly typical of Australian Rieslings in that it isn’t what we would expect when we hear “Riesling.” Most people tend to think of Rieslings as presenting as “Sweeter” or more “fruit forward” than most wines. This particular Riesling presents like a blend of semmilon, and sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. Feel free to disagree, but that’s what comes to my mind. It’s dry, more open, less fruit forward, and a nifty change of pace.

This Riesling is a golden harlequin behind a mask, with sardonic laughter that only a misplaced Germanic descendant can spell.