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GermanWineEstates uses a ürating system. I have used this for years, and have found it to be simple to understand when looking back through my notes. It is my belief that this is a fair and objective method in determining the quality of a wine.

Note: These tasting notes represent wines that are almost always above average in quality, therefore there will be few wines receiving no ümarks. GWE is dedicated to provide useful reviews on the best wines from Germany. It is not the intention to fill this website with worthless information. Therefore, the tasting notes found here have been carefully selected from a large number of wines tasted.

A wine that is average or worse.
Good wine with nice balance, flavor and charm.
Very good wine, displaying finesse and wonderful balance.
Excellent wine with beautiful character and gorgeous finesse.
Outstanding. A wine of extraordinary proportion and elegance.


Tasting Notes

20 January 2009
This small, family owned wine estate is located in the picturesque wine town of Alzey, considered the wine capital of the Rheinhessen wine district as it sits at the halfway point of the region's famous wine road known as the "Weinstrasse".  

The winery is named after St. Ludwin, a Benedictine bishop of Trier, Germany's oldest city. Before being consecrated a bishop, he founded the abbey of Mettlach in the late 7th century. Located in the delightfully romantic Saar River valley, the setting of Mettlach Abbey is ideal, and is considered one of the foremost tourist attractions in Germany today.

The owner of St. Ludwin has been in the possession of this winery for several generations, and has a reputation as a producer of outstanding regional wines from the Mosel and Rhine wine districts. Excellent personal and business relationships with many of the regions' top small growers have provided long-term contractual arrangements which have solidified St. Ludwin's position as a producer of exceptional wines at reasonable prices.

The wine estate's reputation has been built upon crafting wines which offer finesse, elegance and typicality of flavor, specific to its geographic location and soil type. St. Ludwin is especially proud of its wines produced from vineyards located in the villages of Bernkastel, Piesport alongside the pretty Mosel River, and Nierstein nestled beside the majestic Rhine.

St. Ludwin Bernkasteler Kurfürslay Riesling Kabinett 2007
Beautiful floral hints and lemon zest in bouquet, this light, delicate white wine offers wonderfully crisp flavors of Granny Smith apple and citrus fruit. VALUE WINE. üü

St. Ludwin Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett 2007
Wonderful power and succulence in this beauty from the first-class Goldtröpfchen vineyard, the wine’s flavors offer hints of ginger and smoked mineral which are awash in ripe, brisk acidity. Delicious now, but this lovely Mosel wine will age for another 10 years. VALUE WINE. üü+

St. Ludwin Bernkasteler Kurfürslay Riesling Spätlese 2007
Sleek and refined, this fragrant Riesling offers wonderful fruit flavors of sweet orange and tangerine. VALUE WINE. üü+

St. Ludwin Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese 2007
Blockbuster Spätlese from St. Ludwin, this is the epitome of Mosel refinement and grace. The wine offers a wonderful scent of apple and lemon zest while on the palate, there are hints of ginger, peach skin and apple sauce. Typical of the wines from St. Ludwin, this Spätlese is an unbelievable bargain. VALUE WINE. üüü

St. Ludwin Bernkasteler Kurfürslay Riesling Auslese 2007
St. Ludwin's Bernkasteler Kurfürslay Riesling Auslese 2007 is nothing more than a little regional wine coming from Bernkastel's large "Grosslage",  Kurfürslay, but don't let this dissuade you from enjoying this utterly charming and delicious treat. Pure Mosel character with sleek delicacy, superb fruit notes of lime, apple purée and sun-warmed slate with nicely integrated, firm acidity.

Can it can any better than this??? Hardly. This beauty is simply one of the best bargain Auslesen one will find on the market anywhere, and has more balance and sophistication than some of its brethren at twice the price. Look for this or ANY of the 2007 vintage wines from St. Ludwin. You'll be doing yourself a big favor. VALUE WINE. üü+/üüü

1 January 2009
von Schleinitz Riesling Beerenauslese 2006 - Mosel
Who, in their right mind, would have ever thought to plant grape vines on the precipitously steep mountain hillsides in the village of Kobern-Gondorf, located along the northern part of the Mosel River? The vineyards are amongst the steepest in the world, with some parcels in the Koberner Weisenberg and Uhlen having as much as a 70 degree incline. The wines from this village tend to be richer and more succulent than Mosel wines from further south. The near-vertical hills where vines are planted, trap the warm air along the valley floor, not allowing cool breezes to circulate as efficiently as other parts of the Mosel. This provides beneficial heat throughout the vineyards, contributing to higher levels of fruit extract without losing any grape acidity.

The von Schleinitz Riesling Beerenauslese from the 2006 vintage is a beauty and only 300 half bottles (375ml) were produced. All the fruit was harvested from von Schleinitz's fine parcel of the Koberner Weisenberg. It's a ravishing wine, displaying the dazzling flavors and richness one would expect from grapes that are raisin-like in character. Thick and viscous in the glass, this elixir oozes elements of concentration in texture. Caramel, honey and essence of maple syrup are found both in aroma and flavor, coating the palate with layer upon layer of candied fruit notes. It's delicious now, but this liquid fruit bomb will be as enticing for at least another 10-20 years. üü+/üüü

10 December 2008
Andreas Diehl Gewürztraminer Kabinett 2007- Pfalz
Wonderfully fragrant with a hint of rose petal and citrus. This is an extremely pleasant style of Gewürztraminer which has none of the oily viscosity that some find unappealing in this grape. It's light and elegant with a sweet, juicy flavor that is harmoniously balanced by delightfully crisp and invigorating acidity. VALUE WINE. üü

Andreas Diehl Riesling Medium Dry 2007 - Pfalz
Unbelievable bargain, that’s what this yummy Riesling is. Bright, scintillating character of flavor, this gem is totally irresistible, offering hints of mineral, white pepper and pear, balanced by firm, crisp acidity. VALUE WINE. üüü

Andreas Diehl Dornfelder Dry 2007 - Pfalz
Jancis Robinson calls Dornfelder "Germany's most promising" red grape. It’s a cross between two forgettable and unpronounceable Teutonic hybrids, yielding a wine that easy to drink with its spicy, delicious ripe berry notes. Think of it as a German equivalent to Beaujolais. The Diehl Dornfelder is utterly delicious with its herbal, red fruit flavors and high-toned spiced acidity in the finish. It's a red wine that thinks it's a white: easy drinking and super flavorful. VALUE WINE. üü+

1 November 2008
Eugen Wehrheim Niersteiner Rehbach Riesling Auslese 2006 -Rheinhessen
This wine estate is a find. Tucked away on a back street in the bustling wine village of Nierstein, the Wehrheim winery is a no-frills operation. It's pure and simple just like the people who run it. The Wehrheims are the nicest people you could imagine, with a purity of spirit that makes you love them at first sight and living their lives as simply as possible, dedicating their lives to family, friends and wine. The Wehrheims have soul, and so do their wines.

The master craftsman here is Klaus Wehrheim, a man of tireless energy and a great source of the viticultural history of Nierstein. Klaus loves to drive through the vineyards, providing a descriptive narrative on each of the great sites located in this fabled wine village. It's worth the trip, believe me. His wines taste of place. No two taste alike. Each has its own character, all depending on the site and soil. His wines are delicious, pure and simple.

A 93 point wine from Wine Spectator, and one of the true values of German Auslese on the market today, this is simply a magnificent German Riesling. As one would expect from a beautiful Auslese, this wine shows hints of ripe apricot and peach flavor with beautiful, brisk acidity that gracefully intertwines with these delicious fruit notes. Rheinhessen wines like this have power and substance. This beauty will not let you down. üüü

1 October 2008
Prinz Hallgartener Jungfer Riesling Auslese 2005 - Rheingau
In July, the Prinz Hallgartener Jungfer Riesling Kabinett 2007 was the GermanWineEstates - Wine of the Month. Now it's September and another selection from this small Rheingau producer is the featured wine of the month. Why? Because they are that good. Having recently visited with Fred Prinz at his estate in Hallgarten, I was totally mesmerized by the quality of wines being produced here. Without question, Herr Prinz is crafting some of the regions most seductive wines and it is indeed, a pleasure to select another of Prinz's masterpieces as the GermanWineEstates - Wine of the Month.

The Hallgartener Jungfer Riesling Auslese from the 2005 is simply gorgeous. There is richness to it. The wine unfurls a viscosity that suggests super ripeness, with sugar levels much higher than an Auslese. A declassified Beerenauslese for sure. With a quick swirl of the wine, the glistening light yellow liquid oozes down the sides of the glass, releasing aromas of tropical fruits, hinting of pineapple, peach and apricot, into the air. Rich, ripe, mouth-coating flavors of pineapple, mango and peach embrace the palate, stimulated by the wine's bright and intense acidity, yielding a harmonious balance in the finish. A wine of surreal beauty, this is a masterpiece in the form of liquid art. üüü

1 September 2008
von Schleinitz Pinot Noir Rosé 2007 - Mosel
Ah, the good old summertime. A time when we love to be outdoors, enjoying the beach, barbecues, and picnics. There is nothing more pleasurable, more perfect, than a nice glass of Rosé to enjoy with the cuisine of summer.

This gorgeous, copper, strawberry-hued Rosé from von Schleinitz is one of those beauties that personifies the perfect summer wine. With it's wonderful scent of sun-warmed red fruits and flavors that are filled with strawberry, rhubarb and black cherry, this lovely wine just sings of summer refreshment. Made from Pinot Noir grapes grown on predominantly slate soil, there's a whiff of minerality that accentuates the wine's flavor components, adding more zest and vigor. It's a beauty, and there's no better time to enjoy it than right now. üü

1 August 2008
Prinz Hallgartener Jungfer Riesling Kabinett 2007 - Rheingau
Keep on the lookout for wines from this wine estate. This little gem of a producer is crafting some magnificent wines from its meager 16 acres of vineyards located in the Rheingau village of Hallgarten, yielding a paltry 4,000 cases. Owner, Fred Prinz, has been chief enologist at the Rheingau's largest estate, Kloster Eberbach, but is now devoting all his time to his own winery. The results of his efforts have proven to be worthwhile, yielding wines of precise beauty, elegance and sophistication. Prinz's wines stand taller and shine brighter than many of the big names of the region. A clear example where small is beautiful.

The Hallgartener Jungfer Riesling Kabinett from the 2007 vintage radiates the Prinz style, with its gorgeously scented fragrance hinting of wet stone and ginger. Powerful, yet weightless, it dances across the palate rather than saturate it. This lovely wine just oozes perfection and will just take your breath away in all its beauty. A truly classic Rheingau Kabinett. üü+

1 July 2008
St. Ludwin Bernkasteler Kurfürslay Riesling Auslese 2007 - Mosel
This small, family owned wine estate is located in the picturesque wine town of Alzey, considered the wine capital of the Rheinhessen wine district as it sits at the halfway point of the region's famous wine road known as the "Weinstrasse".  

The winery is named after St. Ludwin, a Benedictine bishop of Trier, Germany's oldest city. Before being consecrated a bishop, he founded the abbey of Mettlach in the late 7th century. Located in the delightfully romantic Saar River valley, the setting of Mettlach Abbey is ideal, and is considered to be one of the foremost tourist attractions in Germany today.

This small, family owned wine estate is located in the picturesque wine town of Alzey, considered the wine capital of the Rheinhessen wine district as it sits at the halfway point of the region's famous wine road known as the "Weinstrasse".  

The winery is named after St. Ludwin, a Benedictine bishop of Trier, Germany's oldest city. Before being consecrated a bishop, he founded the abbey of Mettlach in the late 7th century. Located in the delightfully romantic Saar River valley, the setting of Mettlach Abbey is ideal, and is considered one of the foremost tourist attractions in Germany today.

The owner of St. Ludwin has been in the possession of this winery for several generations, and has a reputation as a producer of outstanding regional wines from the Mosel and Rhine wine districts. Excellent personal and business relationships with many of the regions' top small growers have provided long-term contractual arrangements which have solidified St. Ludwin's position as a producer of exceptional wines at reasonable prices.

The wine estate's reputation has been built upon crafting wines which offer finesse, elegance and typicality of flavor, specific to its geographic location and soil type. St. Ludwin is especially proud of its wines produced from vineyards located in the villages of Bernkastel, Piesport alongside the pretty Mosel River, and Nierstein nestled beside the majestic Rhine.

St. Ludwin's Bernkasteler Kurfürslay Riesling Auslese 2007 is nothing more than a little regional wine coming from Bernkastel's large "Grosslage",  Kurfürslay, but don't let this dissuade you from enjoying this utterly charming and delicious treat. Pure Mosel character with sleek delicacy, superb fruit notes of lime, apple purée and sun-warmed slate with nicely integrated, firm acidity.

Can it can any better than this??? Hardly. This beauty is simply one of the best bargain Auslesen one will find on the market anywhere, and has more balance and sophistication than some of its brethren at twice the price. Look for this or ANY of the 2007 vintage wines from St. Ludwin. You'll be doing yourself a big favor. üü+

1 June 2008
Dönnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Spätlese 2003 - Nahe
The Dönnhoff family has been involved in wine production in the Nahe wine-growing region for at least two hundred years. Helmut Dönnhoff has continued this tradition, having produced his first vintage in 1971, at the age of 22. Today the wine estate is legendary with Weingut Dönnhoff considered to be one of the most highly regarded producers in Germany.
The summer of 2003 yielded hot, unusually warm and sunny conditions to the point where grapes were reaching levels of ultra-ripeness. Too much richness and opulence are not good for delicate German wines because of the potential loss of balanced acidity. Dönnhoff realized the potential hazards with the vintage and strived to make wines that displayed elegance, fine acidity, and expressive minerality, typical of his style of winemaking. The results at the estate were spectacular, with the Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Spätlese being a perfect example of Dönnhoff's brilliant talent.
A hint of peach and pear in the nose with a touch sun-baked stones comes through. On the palate the wine's bright citrusy fruit notes, hinting of orange rind, and spicy richness really come through. This is a beautiful Riesling defines the purity of the Dönnhoff style, powerful yet sleek and breathtakingly beautiful. üü+

1 May 2008
Karthäuserhof Riesling trocken 2005 - Mosel
Simple, dry QbA from the Ruwer Valley? Hah, not in your life. This little gem is as complete and complex as its siblings from the great Karthäuserhof. The 2005 vintage at this distinguished estate was a great one, with wines displaying immense elegance and sophistication which only those from the Saar and Ruwer can display, and only in the best years. The superlatives of both vintage and producer come together here and Karthäuserhof's Riesling trocken is just one of a bevy of outstanding wines made at the estate.
It's interesting to note the color of the wine, displaying absolutely no hint of its age of two and a half years. It still glistens with clear trans-lucence as if it were still an infant, born of the 2007 vintage. The bouquet is as tightly wound as ever: bright lemon rind and hints wet stone. Flavors of slate, ripe lemon and beer hops are soothingly dry which are accentuated by the wine's wonderfully brisk, crunchy acidity. Seductively charming and phenomenally delicious, this beauty is a testament to the brilliance of wines currently being produced at Karthäuserhof. üü+

1 April 2008
von Schleinitz Riesling Brut Sekt 2005 - Mosel
It’s a pity that the U.S. consumer has never come to fully appreciate German sparkling wines (Sekts) made from the Riesling grape. If there is any grape ideally suited to sparkling wine, it’s Riesling. This noble varietal is exceedingly complex in nature, offering aristocratically beautiful fruit flavors and naturally brisk, crispy acidity, two primary elements found great sparkling wines and Champagne. In most circumstances, Champagne producers need to blend three different varietals, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier to yield a synergistically pleasing flavor. Chardonnay provides elegance, finesse and delicacy, Pinot Noir furnishes richness, power and backbone and the Pinot Meunier varietal adds a crispiness and fruitiness to the wine. Not so in Germany. The Germans do it with one. Riesling!

Having said that, here is the perfect way to introduce yourself to the beautiful world of German Sekt, the von Schleinitz Riesling Sekt Brut 2005. This wine estate is located near the northernmost grape growing point on the Mosel before the river merges with the Rhine in the city of Koblenz. The von Schleinitz estate  is perfectly located for growing clean, crispy Riesling, ideally suited for sparkling wine.

Using fruit from the superb 2005 vintage, the wine undergoes the traditional methode Champenoise production process as in all great Champagne houses, and with long-term lees contact, it picks up additional complexity and refinement of flavor. The result yields a wine of immeasurable enjoyment. A combination of a wonderful yeasty nose, an excellent balance of fruit and mineral flavors and a very long, crisp, zingy finish provides a complete and complex sparkling wine. Bone dry, elegant and suave, this gorgeous Sekt is simply delicious. Save yourself $20 or $30 on a bottle of your favorite, yet overpriced Champagne and give this gem a try. You may have found your new favorite sparkler. üüü

1 March 2008
Schloss SchönbornEstate Riesling 2006 - Rheingau
This great Rheingau wine estate has been producing wines of extra-ordinary quality over the past several years, with those from 2006 continuing the trend. In fact, 2006 may be the best of all. It appears that global warming has had a positive affect on Schloss Schönborn and German viticulture overall, with the summer of 2006 providing perfectly ripened Riesling while keeping the grape's fine acid structure firmly in place. This is a vintage of superb richness and balance at Schloss Schönborn, kind of like the 2005's but tweaking it up a notch or two. You don't want to miss them.

The Estate Riesling 2006 is Schönborn's simple little QbA, yet this can hardly be called simple because of its overwhelming complexity and multi-faceted nature. This wine is intense. Laser beam intensity in fact, with its piercing entry on the palate, providing rich minerally flavors of peach, pear and red delicious apple. The bouquet makes one salivate, offering hints of bitter almond and sun-ripened peaches. Long on the finish with its spiced fruit notes, this gorgeous Riesling is a beauty, pure and simple. üüü

1 December 2007
Domdechant Werner Hochheimer Kirchenstück Riesling Spätlese 2005- Rheingau
Dr. Franz Werner Michel, the charming owner of the fine Rheingau wine estate, Domdechant Werner, summed up the 2005 vintage by saying:

"It was really a "Golden October", which we enjoyed in 2005, and I am now happy to report about another blessed Riesling vintage.

The quantity of the yield was smaller than normal, but the quality excellent: Thanks to three weeks of sunny weather with dry eastern wind during October, the must-weight of all grapes were above 90° Öchsle, many over 100° combined with a good balanced acidity. We have hand-picked most vineyards three times to safeguard healthy grapes for clean, fruity must...I am most grateful for this result."

So it is with Domdechant Werner's Hochheimer Kirchenstück Riesling Spätlese that we have a brilliant example of the estate's hugely successful 2005 vintage wines. Beautifully glistening hues of light straw and grapefruit rind in color, this lovely Rheingau wine fills the glass with hints of orange peel, daffodil and sun-baked minerals in the bouquet. Succulent, juicy flavors of peach, tangerine and apple skin meld together exquisitely, yielding a wine of wonderfully rich concentration. Vibrant and youthful, this beauty will maintain its regal charm for a decade or more. üü+

1 November 2007
J.& H.A. Strub Niersteiner Oelberg Riesling Spätlese 20 - Rheinhessen
Walter Strub makes charming wines. They never fail to please the palate, no matter the vintage. The 2003 vintage could have been problematic for Strub with so much ripeness of fruit and lower than normal levels of acidity, yet Walter as always, delivered some winner wines from his estate in the Rheinhessen and the Niersteiner Oelberg Riesling Spätlese is a fine example of his efforts.

The Oelberg is a superb site. It is part of the area known as Roter Hang (red slope), the sweet spot of vineyards in the villages of Nierstein and Nackenheim that are nestled along the Rhine River. It is gently sloped with deep, rich soils that are comprised predominantly of red slate, giving the wines a warm, rich and smoky flavor balanced by wonderful minerality.

Walter hit his stride with this lovely Spätlese. While the wine is now four years old, it shows no signs of age, displaying a bright, lively, light yellow color. Wonderful hints of smoldering wet stones in the bouquet are accentuated by the wine's hint of almond. There are enticing layers of rich flavor here, with peach puree, Damson Plum and wood smoke in the back. Still zesty and youthful, it is absolutely perfect to drink now or over the next 5 years. Simply delicious. üü+

1 October 2007
Weissburgunder Kabinett Dry 2006
Fine full, rich flavor with excellent concentration, this beautiful Pinot Blanc has wonderfully balanced character with lively, crisp acidity. üü

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese Dry 2006
Powerful and concentrated for a Mosel wine with lemon rind and washed mineral hints in flavor. the wine's invigorating acidity really enlivens the balance of this beauty.üü+

Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Medium Dry 2006
Very fine and wonderfully refreshing, this lovely Kabinett is bright and delicate on the palate with loads of lemon/lime flavors. üü+/üüü

Riesling Kabinett 2006
Nice! Mouthwatering flavors that simply delight, this gorgeous wine dances gleefully on the palate, yielding hints of Granny Smith apple and wet stones, enhanced by crisp and firm acidity. üü

Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett 2006
Always a perennial favorite, this vintage doesn't disappoint. This beauty has a superb nose offering hints of spiced apple, and provides ravishing flavors of pungent mineral, vanilla and lime juice. üü+/üüü

Riesling Spätlese 2006
This juicy-rich wine projects loads of yummy fruit flavors hinting of tangerine and vanilla bean. Wonderfully succulent, yet light as a feather, this Spätlese shows fine pedigree. üü

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2006
Superbly vibrant with polished elegance, this beauty captures the essence of the great Sonnenuhr site with its deep and concentrated character of flavor, yet remains as weightless on the palate as droplets of water. Fine presence and excellent dimensions. üü+

Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Auslese 2006
Very nice - succulent nose - makes you salivate just smelling it! Warm and rich in character displaying a wine of fine concentration, it has plenty of stuffing in fine acidity to enhance the exotic fruit notes in flavor. üü+

Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese 2006*
Pungent and smoky in the bouquet, sure signs of a great Mosel wine, this gem of an Auslese radiates lively and ripe berry notes in bouquet and flavor, yet still finds itself awash in minerality. So bright, so lively, so clean. üü+

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese*
We've just turned up the volume now with this gem. Fuller, more weighty and oozing more succulence than the other Auslesen, here is a wine that fills the palate with sun-dried grape flavor and oodles of minerality in the back. Very complete. üüü

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese “Rotlay” 2006
Superb concentration and mesmerizing character in this radiating wine that comes from a special parcel within the Zeltinger Sonnenuhr. Riveting concentration and mouth-seering acidity makes for a wine of the ages, fanning out its regal shades of pungent minerality, exotic ripe fruit notes and essences of tropical vanilla bean. üüü

Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Auslese “Schmitt” 2006
Maybe the wine of the vintage at Selbach-Oster. This monumental achievement exudes magnificence with its sumptuous mouth-filling flavors hinting of mineral-slate, raisinous and exotic fruit notes, encapsulated by layers and layers of ripe acidity which brings the wine to a magnificent crescendo. This is what legends are made of. üüü+

Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Beerenauslese 2006
Rich, viscous and complex, hinting of smoked maple syrup and creamed caramel in nose and flavor, it coats the palate with layers of exotic spice fruits. üüü

1 September 2007
Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese #10 2005 - Mosel
It isn't often that a beautiful wine captivates the heart and soul of a consumer with boundless passion. This happens once in a blue moon. Willi Schaefer from the sleepy village of Graach, nestled along the Mosel River, makes superb wines, some of the most thrilling produced from this region, and his Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese #10 2005 displays this mesmerizing character, offering a profile of flavors that seem to come from the heavens. This ravishing wine graces the palate with such balanced elegance; it appears weightless and fleeting, yet rich and succulently intense. A wine of immortality, it is the nectar of the gods.

In issue # 167 of Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, this spectacular Auslese received a rating of 97 points. David Schildknecht who wrote the review aptly described the wine by saying:

" The 2005 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese A.P. #10 displays sweet florals, nut paste, vanilla, brown spices, and baked apple on the nose, comes onto the palate silky-to-creamy in texture with a ravishing sense of delicacy, refinement and lift even though it is hugely endowed with extract and ripeness. Diverse inner-mouth florality persists all the way through this wine's multi-faceted finish that incorporates fresh and baked apple, grilled pineapple, nut oils, brown spices, and vanilla custard in an effortlessly refined, polished 2005 monument to Mosel Riesling."

Sounds delicious doesn't it? It is. It's what sweet Riesling dreams are made of. üüü+

Wwe. Dr. H. Thanisch-Erben Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spätlese 2004 - Mosel
Having just returned from the German wine country, it is with great pleasure that I relived the experience of some of the wonderful 2004 vintage wines. One of the standout estates on my visit was that of Wwe. Dr. H. Thanisch, owned by the charming Sofia Thanisch. This vintage is a personal favorite of Sofia's, as she feels that the wines are of perfect balance for current drinking. I concur with her whole-heartedly, finding the 2004 Thanisch wines to be supremely graceful, delicate and utterly charming.

The Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spätlese 2004 from Thanisch is a perfect example of the grace and beauty of this vintage, and of the Thanisch wines in particular. A shade darker than the color of water, this illustrates the wine's youthful appearance. The flavors are the same: light, bright and tantalizingly delicious. Wonderful hints of green apple with sun-warmed slate can be found both in the nose and flavor of this delicate beauty, all of which is enwrapped with an overlay of high-toned, minerally acidity. Sleek and so refined, it is impossible to resist. üü+

10 August 2007
Riesling “Classic” 2006
Pretty apple peal and fresh yeast hints in the nose, with a lively and well-balanced flavor of herb and mineral extract, encapsulated by fine, fresh level of ripe acidity. üü

Hochheimer Kirchenstück Riesling "Erstes Gewächs" 2006
A beautiful wine with exceptional vitality and vigor. Vibrant mineral/floral notes in the nose and flavor with lively, high-toned acidity in the finish to meld everything together very nicely. This is a perfect example of the wonderful mineral expression that Riesling from the Kirchenstück can provide. üü

Hochheimer Hölle Riesling Kabinett 2006
Very nice balance in this lovely 2006 Kabinett from Domdechant Werner, displaying hints of ginger and daffodil in the bouquet with fine flavors of Macintosh apple and spiced ginger, with firm acidity to boot. üü+

Hochheimer Domdechaney Riesling Spätlese 2006
Juicy and clean with a hint of cantaloupe in the bouquet. The firm, yet ripe flavors provide a wine with an amplitude of succulent fruit notes aligned with excellent staying power derived from the ripe acidity. This is a fine Spätlese which epitomizes the Rheingau style with its balance and filigree. üü

1 July 2007
Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Auslese 2005
The village of Monzingen is a quaint place, no more than two streets making up the major thoroughfare through town. Sleepy, relaxed and quiet are appropriate words to define this little village which is nestled not far from the ambling Nahe River.

This tranquil environment seems to be the perfect setting for the Schönleber family, owners of the Emrich-Schönleber wine estate.   The Schönlebers are as relaxed as the village, as Werner and Frank, father and son quietly going about their business, tending the vines and making the wines in this wonderfully pastoral setting.

The scene changes now, because of a storm brewing in the air. No, not the summer thunderstorm as we know it, pounding the quaint little village with raindrops and lightning bolts, instead it's tasting the electrical current radiating from a glass of wine from this high voltage wine estate, Emrich-Schönleber. There's lightning packed in every bottle. Pop the cork and see for yourself. Just taste the Schönlebers' Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Auslese 2005 and you'll see what I'm talking about. It's like a fireworks display exploding in your mouth. As the vibrant flavors of vanilla, honey and exotic fruits burst on the palate, the electricity is further enlivened by the wine's mouth-searing acidity. Spicy, vibrant, and pulsating, this wine simply sparkles, defining the greatness of Emrich-Schönleber, as Werner and Frank quietly go about their business making some of Germany's most captivating wines. üüü+

1 June 2007
Wwe. Dr. H Thanisch-Erben Thanisch Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Spätlese 2005 - Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
The 2005 vintage was one of the miracles of nature, providing conditions that were as ideal as one could imagine. This was a summer of The Long Growing Season, perfect for the vineyards located in Northern Europe. Long, sunny days with temperatures that were ideally warm, not overbearingly hot, allowed the grapes to ripen evenly over the course of the unusually lengthy growing season. There was some rainfall in the latter part of the growing season, but as the harvest drew near, there was little to no rain to saturate the sun-ripened grapes with water which would have resulted in rot infestation or diluted flavor. Instead, record sugar levels in these incredibly healthy, sweet, juicy grapes had been recorded in Germany, yet still with bounteous levels of ripe acidity.

The magnificence of the The Long Growing Season of 2005 yielded wines of supreme balance and elegance. The wines have power and structure with wonderfully bright, brisk acid levels. These are complex wines that will reward those who have the patience to age these gems, yet for anyone who can't wait to pop the cork or unscrew the cap, it will provide thrilling experience of immeasurable deliciousness.

The Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Spätlese from Dr. Thanisch really defines the purity and structure of the superb 2005 vintage as well as the stunning quality of wines from this fabled producer. This may well be one of the finest collections of wines ever produced from this wine estate and the Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Spätlese exemplifies the high level of quality perfectly. In my tasting notes of 1 September 2006, I said of this wine;

"Bursting with the vanilla-citrus flavors that meld brilliantly with red fruit notes, this wonderfully complex wine has mouth-filling texture on the palate, being full of fine fruit extract and ripe acidity."

Well, nine months later, this description still holds true, yet poss-essing even more complexity and depth of flavor. And added dimension of pungent slate, mineral essence can be found in the nose and more tangerine hints have unfolded in the already citrus fruit notes in flavor. The finish is everlasting with an abundance of the fine fruit extract and ripe acidity as before, yet now appears more complete. This is a stunning wine, worthy of the greatness of the Doctor vineyard. This is Thanisch at its best. üüü

1 April 2007
Schloss Schönborn Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg Riesling Auslese*** 2004 - Rheingau
How quickly we forget. With all the wonderful press the fabulous 2005 vintage is getting, those glorious wines of 2004 seem to be only a distant memory. Not for me. I love this vintage. The Germans call 2004 a classic. Harmony is the perfect word to use in describing 2004, with wines that epitomize the delicate balance of ripe, juicy fruit aligned with fresh and invigorating acidity. It's a vintage that accentuates all that is correct in German wine, providing elegance, balance, delicacy and deliciousness.

Schloss Schönborn's Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg Riesling Auslese*** 2004 is simply a marvelous treat. A declassified Beerenauslese, this beauty is filled with oodles of ripe, candied fruit notes in bouquet hinting of dried apricot and pineapple. This liquid treasure coats the palate with layers of sweet, syrupy flavors of peach, tangerine and apricot, all of which are smothered by brilliant levels of ripe acidity. This is no late-harvest behemoth, rather a refined, delicate model of perfection. 2004 at its best. üüü

1 February 2007
The 2005 vintage was an unusual one for the Ruwer valley and Karthäuserhof in particular. While growing conditions appeared to favorable from the start, a disastrous hail storm which occurred on 22 June, reeked havoc at Karthäuserhof, resulting in a loss of 45% of the crop. The remaining fruit at harvest, however, was magnificent, with wonderfully rich and succulent grapes, high in extract and ripe acidity. Overall, Karthäuserhof`s 2005 vintage wines are glorious, with remarkable finesse, balance and elegance that define the greatness of this wine estate. All wines listed below are worthy additions to any German wine connoisseur's collection.

Weissburgunder trocken 2004
This is Pinot Blanc at its finest. Simply a beautiful nose hinting of sun-baked slate, this beautifully dry Pinot Blanc displays a high level of ripe extract which embellishes the fine flavor of mineral, vanilla bean and pear. The long, juicy finish really adds to the overall enjoyment of this radiantly delicate wine. A wine for drinking in its youth, so enjoy now or within the next 3-5 years. üü

Riesling trocken 2005
Similar to the Weissburgunder trocken, yet displays more minerality on the nose and slightly less opulent on the palate. Charming and intense with wonderfully dry lemon zest hints in flavor, this sleek beauty really shines all the way through. üü+

Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Kabinett 2005
While many rave of the dry wines produced at Karthäuserhof, it is often the fruitier-styled wines like this Kabinett where this wine estate really shines. This beautiful wine exemplifies the precision and delicate beauty found in the great wines of Karthäuserhof.  Light on the palate, weightless in fact, the spicy lemon-lime rind notes in flavor just glide across the taste buds, leaving a whisper of its graceful elegance. Highly refined and utterly delicious. üüü

Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Spätlese 2005
Wonderfully floral on the nose, this stunning Spätlese just oozes of concentrated apple crisp and slate flavors. Loads of brisk acidity adds to the complexity, yielding a wine of immense character. Very youthful now, look for this wine to radiate even more exciting nuances in 5 or more years.üü+

Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Auslese 2005
Another impressive achievement from this remarkable producer. Hints of Sultana raisins and coconut in the bouquet, this ripe, wonderfully concentrated Auslese really shines with its deeply powerful exotic fruit notes in flavor hinting of pear, apricot and candy corn. Extraordinary levels of crisp acidity really accentuate the character of this simply delicious wine. üüü/üüü+

1 December 2006
Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) trocken 2005
The fruit of this wine comes from the Wehlener Klosterberg, Zeltinger Himmelreich and Zeltinger Schlossberg vineyards, each offering its own unique signature to the flavor of this lovely little gem. Spicy minerally notes in the nose with dry, rich flavors of sun-baked slate, this beauty has wonderful presence on the palate, being slightly weightier that its Riesling counterparts from the same soils, yet displays sleek refinement and tangy acidity, typical of true Mosel character. This Pinot Blanc is hard to resist. üü

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese trocken 2005
Deep, rich and profound with wonderful concentration, this dry Riesling displays hints of herbal essences, crushed stone and apple rind. Powerful for a Mosel wine, yet totally in balance, it really shows some beautiful synergy of character, displaying harmonious levels of dry extract, fruit and acidity. ü+

Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett halbtrocken 2005
Wonderfully refreshing with its lime zest and green apple hints in flavor, this deliciously dry Riesling has some nice richness to it, adding a full and succulent texture on the palate. Yummy. üü

Riesling Kabinett 2005
Lovely wine here with absolutely first-class flavor, this little treasure has superb structure with its warm, supple character, enhanced by the spiced fruit notes on the long, clean and crisp finish. Charming and delicious, you'll beg for another glass. üü

Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2005
Sleek and slender, almost delicate, with fine clove and slaty character, this is a beautifully made wine with exceptional refinement. A wine with outstanding balance and elegance, it defines the greatness of the Riesling grape with all its purity and clarity of flavor. üü+

Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Spätlese 2005
Very fine Mosel wine, suggesting strawberry and vanilla in the bouquet and flavor, enwrapped with a dollop of brilliantly ripe acidity in the finish. This is a beauty. üü+

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2005
Wow, wow, wow, this is superb to say the least. Very lively, spicy intensity of flavor awash with gobs of dynamic spiced fruit notes, it really finishes with a blast of electrifying acidity, giving one's palate a real jolt. üüü

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese* 2005
This is without a doubt the best Spätlese that Selbach-Oster has so brilliantly crafted in 2005. In fact, it is one of the finest of all wines that the estate produced in this glorious vintage. Superb concentration with a richness all its own, this outrageously multi-dimensional wine is filled with a panorama of sun-ripened fruits, finished off with a dash of vanilla bean. The flavors simply adhere to one's mouth, leaving these pleasing fruit notes lingering on the palate for 3 minutes! There is simply no end to the magnificence of this liquid treasure. üüü+

Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese 2005
Etched stone in the nose, derived from the Domprobst's gray Devon slate soil, there are wonderful hints of candy-corn and spiced lime in the flavor of this lovely Auslese, displaying outstanding elegance and filigree. üüü

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese "Rotlay" 2005
Shining brilliance in character here with a wonderfully rich concentration of flavor that is filled with a smorgasbord of exotic fruit notes. The superb length of flavor on the palate is enhanced by the high-toned level of ripe acidity which adds to the complexity of this beauty. üüü

Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Auslese "Schmitt" 2005
This Auslese summarizes the absolute precision and breathtaking quality of wine being produced at Selbach-Oster today. What we see here with the Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Auslese "Schmitt" is the unfathomable level of complexity, sophistication, brilliance and elegance all wrapped up in one little bottle. An so it is with Selbach-Oster that we see the same level of complexity, sophistication, brilliance and elegance all wrapped up in one guiding light, Johannes Selbach. His commitment to his craft and dedication to the soil is simply exemplary, and we are all the beneficiaries of this man's gift to the world of wine making.

Mineral sizzle to the max! While concentrated and viscous as one would expect from a wine that has the same level of ripeness as Beerenauslese, it seems defy this richness, appearing almost weightless on the palate with its ethereal grace and delicacy. With its razor edge level of sharply crisp acidity, this monumental elixir just oozes greatness. üüü+

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese *** 2005
Very ripe fruit notes both in the nose and flavor of this gorgeous Auslese. There are definite signs of botrytis here as the smell of honey and caramel can be found in the wine's fragrant bouquet. Satisfyingly rich and succulent flavors of vanilla icing and butterscotch pleasingly coat the palate. The very lively finish rounds out the overall finesse of this deliciously flavorful wine. üüü+

Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Beerenauslese 2005
It gets a little tedious to taste through Johannes Selbach's wines, simply because ALL the wines are so well crafted that it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to find one that is just average. And so it is with this wine, Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Beerenauslese, that yet again one must SUFFER through another stellar review from one of Johannes's bevy of superlative wines.

And what a wine it is! Rich but not thick, powerful but not overtly muscular, this beauty is all about grace and sinew - a dancer, a racehorse. Flavors that are filled with hints of vanilla cream and Crème Brûlée with a strong backbone of high-toned minerality, this delicious wine just glides along the palate. Simply outstanding. üüü+/üüüü

1 December 2006
Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett 2005
Wonderful ginger and spice notes in the lively bouquet that sneaks into the flavor of the wine. Crisp and zingy acidity in the background really accentuates the elegance, leading to a wine of immeasurable pleasure. üü+

Scharzhofberger Riesling Spätlese 2005
Rather full-bodied for a Saar wine, certainly indicative of the ripeness of fruit due to the wonderful growing season in 2005, yet the wine loses nothing in precision. Delightful hints of pear, spice and mineral nicely coat the palate, and with excellent levels of juicy acidity, the wine's balance is totally in sync. A wine that is irresistibly delicious. üüü

Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese 2005
Fine. Powerful yet filigree, this Auslese picks up where the Spätlese leaves off. Bigger, bolder with richer character of flavor. Hints of apple pie with a dash of wet stone provide an enticing taste that is ever so lively and succulent. üüü

Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese* 2005
This powerhouse defines the greatness of the Scharfhofberg vineyard with its lively intensity of flavor hinting of apricot and orange marmalade predominantly derived from botrytised grapes. Mouth-ripping acidity adds to the majesty of this treat, which provides additional complexity. Brilliant wine! üüü+

Scharzhofberger Riesling Beerenauslese 2005
Nectar of the gods, this wine is!  Outrageously sublime with oodles of noble rot providing the essence of honeyed popcorn and apple custard in the nose. Super-ripe flavors of peach, apricot, citrus and herbal-mineral essence captivate the palate, leaving a sensationally long aftertaste. Von Hövel at its best. üüü+/üüüü

Erben Thanisch
1 September 2006
Estate Riesling 2004
Wonderful wine with powerful minerality. Lemon zest and smoked minerals both in the bouquet and flavor, the wine displays an off-dry character which is crisp and zippy with a lovely amount of fresh acidity in the finish. üü

Estate Riesling 2005
Wow! How refreshing is this? Bright and effervescent this lovely wine just sings of beautiful, sweet orange and lemon zest flavor. The crunchy minerality in the finish adds to the complexity of this off-dry wine. üü

Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett 2004
Slate stone essence in the nose with hints of ginger and lemon rind in flavor, it finishes with a dollop of brisk acidity which adds to the balance this charming wine. üü+

Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett 2005
Refreshingly crisp and invigorating, this beautiful Kabinett titillates the palate with its mandarin orange, lemon and mineral notes. Fine balance and wonderfully sophisticated. üü+

Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Kabinett 2004
The crowning glory of the Bernkastel's vineyards is the great Berncasteler Doctor. Perfectly situated to the sun's radiant heat, with glorious stony, slate soil which adds and maintains heat to the ripening grapes, this regal site has it all. And to see the ravishing sophistication and surreal complexity that this site has to offer, one has to look no further than the Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Kabinett 2004 from Thanisch. This is a beauty, clearly in the ranks of a great wine. It displays a crystal clear hue, hinting of the absolute purity of the wine, with wonderful spice and mineral notes in the bouquet. The flavors of Granny Smith apple combined with lemon peel essence are surrounded by the wine's mineral edges. Weightless in its transparent character, yet full of power and intensity, this is radiant wine just glistens on the palate. üüü

Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Kabinett 2005
What a superb nose this wine has with its pungent, smoked slate essence. Great concentration and succulent malted wheat and lime flavors are enhanced by the firm, crisp acidity in the finish. üü+

Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spätlese 2005
Bright and bursting with slate and Granny Smith apple essence, this lovely Mosel wine is light in viscosity yet full of ripe concentration in flavor. üü

Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Spätlese 2004
Quite simply a breathtaking nose with its smoked apple note, this elegant beauty is filled with flavors of crushed mineral and vanilla bean. Slim yet muscular, it's like a greyhound, racing across the palate with weightless grace. üüü

Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Spätlese 2005
Bursting with the vanilla-citrus flavors that meld brilliantly with red fruit notes, this wonderfully complex wine has mouth-filling texture on the palate, being full of fine fruit extract and ripe acidity. üü+
Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Auslese 2004

Here is truly an dynamic wine which appears to be light and delicate, yet oozes subtle power and concentration. Intense levels of etched stone and ripe citrus flavors glide across the palate until reaching an explosion of mouth-filling acidity. So clean, so long, so refined. üüü+

Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Auslese 2005
Wonderful! Hints of botrytis in the nose with a slightly honeyed note, this is a powerful Mosel wine, displaying intense slaty minerality with juicy-rich flavors of an orange/lemon/lime compote covered with vanilla sugar. üüü+

Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Eiswein 2004
How beautiful is this wine? Words cannot accurately describe this liquid treasure with its smorgasbord of fruit notes both bouquet and flavor. With hints of maple syrup, vanilla and orange blossom honey in the nose the wine fills the palate with immense flavors of lemon drop candy and honey-coated orange slices, all of which is enhanced by the intoxicatingly high level of ripe acidity. A wine for the ages, this beauty will reward those who cellar it for decades. üüü+/üüüü

1 August 2006
Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese “Rotlay” 2004-M-S-R
As Terry Theise, the incredibly effervescent, delightfuly amusing and most significant German wine importer in the United States, said of the Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese “Rotlay” 2004 from Selbach-Oster:

"The Auslese of the vintage in this collection. Because it is a dead-ringer for the finest and most beloved of all Mosel vintages, 1975. “It‘s a wholesome wine,” says Johannes, from an en bloc picking (i.e. no selecting) from the primo parcel in the Sonenuhr. It is serene yet urgent, with sublime fruit, mealiness and a fine malty weaving of per-fect botrytis; splendid acidity, and a long slatey farewell—the prodigal son of `75, home at last. THIS IS MOSEL."

This vintage is the first time that this parcel from the Zeltinger Sonn-enuhr has ever been bottled separately, and what a premiere. One may consider this beauty to be the diamond amongst the gems in the treasure trove of Auslesen from Selbach-Oster. As if the Schmitt was not enough. Deeply concentrated with hints of fine ripe botrytis, this elixir seriously coats the palate with its dried-fruit flavors and mouth-searing acidity. Just layers and layers of depth of flavor, this beauty has it all. üüü+

1 July 2006
Spätburgunder trocken (Pinot Noir Dry) 2004
This charming red wine made from Pinot Noir grapes comes from one of the Northernmost wine producing villages along the Mosel River. The von Schleinitz wine estate has crafted a beauty from the 2004 vintage, with its lovely ruby-red hue and bouquet of spiced black cherries. This delightful, medium-bodied wine offers delicate Pinot flavors, hinting of ripe cranberry, cherry and smoked herbs, all of which are bound by soft tannins and firm acidity. This is a brilliantly flavored wine, filled with charm and subtle sophistication. üü+

Slatestone Riesling - Dry 2004
Bright and fragrant like spring flowers, this delightfully fresh, invigoratingly dry wine has a charming flavor of bitter apple and  freshly squeezed lime juice. The zippy, crisp finish adds to the structure of the wine, making it well-balanced and utterly delicious. üü+

Slatestone Riesling - Off-Dry 2004
Yummy! With a bouquet of sweet and juicy Macoun apples, this little gem offers flavors of lemon drop candy and orange rind. Nicely balanced with a dash of fine, ripe acidity, this is hard to resist. A perfect summer thirst quencher. üü

Koberner Weisenberg Riesling Auslese 2003
The von Schleinitz wine estate comes from the quaint little village of Kobern-Gondorf, which is nestled along the lovely Mosel River. The vineyards of Kobern-Gondorf along with the neighboring village, Winningen, are amongst the steepest in the world, with some parcels having as much as a 70 degree pitch. So steep in fact, that there are no more than 4 rows of vines on certain terraced parcels. The wines from this village tend to be richer and more succulent than the Mosel wines from further south. The precipitously steep hills where the vines are planted, trap the warm air in the valley floor and do not allow the cool breezes to circulate as efficiently as other parts of the Mosel. This provides beneficial heat throughout the vineyards, contributing to higher levels of fruit extract, without losing any grape acidity.

The 2003 vintage was kind to von Schleinitz, providing wines of wonderfully rich and spicy flavor, yet maintaining fine levels of ripe acidity. The Koberner Weisenberg Riesling Auslese is a perfect example of the success at this estate, with a scintillating hint of ripe peach and smoked mineral in the aroma and a flavor of ripe summer fruits. Well-balanced and simply delicious, this Auslese is wonderful to drink now, but will age gracefully for 10 or more years. üüü

1 May 2006
Karthäuserhof Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Spätlese 2004-Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
The legendary Ruwer wine estate, Karthäuserhof, dates back to the 1335, where the land was a gift from Prince Balduin from Luxembourg to the monastic order, Karthaeusermoenchen, for the use of agriculture and viticulture. Today Karthäuserhof is owned and operated by Christoph Tyrell, who represents the sixth generation of his family to carry on the tradition.

The Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg covers approximately 48 acres, 90% of which are planted with Riesling and the remaining 10%, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc). It is a steep vineyard, inclining as much as 55 degrees in some locations, and is comprised predominantly of weathered slate with minor amounts of loam found at the base of the precipitous hill. The vineyard faces south/southwest, providing excellent exposure to the sun's rays, especially important here in the Ruwer Valley where so often there is insufficient heat in the summer months to achieve optimal levels of ripeness in the grapes.

The 2004 vintage at Karthäuserhof was superb. With a wonderfully long and warm growing season, the levels of sugar found in the grapes were excellent, allowing for wines of extraordinary balance and finesse at all quality categories. The Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Spätlese is a stunning example of the success at the estate in 2004. A wine of crystal-clear color, as transparent as water, it yields a scintillating bouquet of ripe citrus fruits and crushed slate. It is delicate on the palate, yet forceful in flavor with hints of tangerine and ripe apple. Lovely at the finish with a fine level of juicy acidity, this is a superbly balanced and wonderfully enticing Spätlese. üüü

1 April 2006
Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Spätlese 2003- Nahe
The great Nahe wine estate, Emrich-Schönleber, continues to produce wines that express the absolute purity and refinement of great Riesling. Emrich-Schönleber captures the essence of terroir and expression pure varietal character with genius. The Schönlebers craft wines as an artist paints a beautiful portrait, simply captivating the mind and palate. These are wines of absolute beauty. It is no wonder that the Gault Millau Wine Guide Germany 2006 selected Werner Schönleber, owner, as "Producer of the Year".

The Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Spätlese 2003 is a perfect example of the majesty produced at Emrich-Schönleber. This is a wine of absolute balance and elegance, coating the palate with layers of enticingly delicious flavors. With a hue of light, bright, lemon yellow, the wine's bouquet sings of sweet, ripe, juicy pineapple with hints of sun-ripened mango. Notes of vanilla bean, tangerine and orange marmalade are found in the flavor of the wine, which is encapsulated by a dash of invigoratingly crisp acidity. Absolutely delicious now, this beauty will continue to enthrall for years to come. üüü

1 February 2006
Bernkasteler Alte Badstube am Doctorberg Riesling Spätlese 2002
The Bernkasteler Alte Badstube am Doctorberg, is a monopole vineyard, owned exclusively by Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler. It is a great site, nestling just to the east of the Bernkastel's most famous vineyard, the Doctor. Stefan Pauly has beautifully described this famous vineyard on the winery's website by writing:

Dr. Pauly's pride and joy, this 4.6 acre vineyard facing directly south yields some of the greatest wine from the Moselle valley, year after year. It is the neighboring vineyard of the Bernkasteler Doctor and is only planted with Riesling vines which are more then 35 years old. It is a full-bodied wine, rich, complex, with great depth and charm as it ages. The Bernkasteler alte Badstube am Doctorberg wines have always had a very long potential and mature even better as their age increases."

The 2002 vintage of the Bernkasteler Alte Badstube am Doctorberg Riesling Spätlese shines as brightly as the North Star, with its incandescent brilliance of flavor. Hints of tangerine and pulverized slate are found in the nose, while the exhilarating flavors offer a panorama of citrus notes and vanilla. This gorgeous wine is highlighted by crisp, minerally acidity which enhances the complexity by providing an extra lift in the finish. Still as youthful as ever, this beauty is capable of aging for a decade or more. Simply lovely. üüü

1 January 2006
Estate Riesling 2004
With all fruit being produced from the wine estate's superb vineyard sites, this delightful wine has a rich and off-dry character, expressing a spicy and minerally note with a hint of peach in flavor. The finish is attractively long, with a deft touch of citrus rid in the back. Very nice wine.üü

Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Kabinett 2004
The legendary Schloss Schönborn is one of the oldest family-owned wine estates in the world, with the von Schönborn family maintaining ownership in the Rheingau wine district since 1349. This aristocratic wine producer owns approximately 125 acres some of the region's most outstanding vineyards, including 7 acres of the great Erbacher Marcobrunn. The wine estate also owns parcels in other superb sites including: Hattenheimer Nussbrunnen, Hochheimer Domdechaney, Rauenthaler Baiken, Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg and Johannisberger Klaus.

Schloss Schönborn is making some of the finest wines in the Rheingau today, with Günter Thies, the estate's wine director, providing outstanding expertise in utilizing the winery's vast resources in making wines of extreme balance and harmony while keeping the best attributes of the Rheingau firmly in place.

Slim but not scrawny, powerful but not sweet, this lovely Kabinett plays wonderful balancing act between weightless elegance and muscular sinew like classical sculpture. Stony mineral hints are aligned with orange rind and pear juice both in nose and flavor, both of which are enhanced by the firm and vigorously intense acidity. The wine's chiseled features are graceful, refined and classically beautiful. üü+

1 December  2005
Riesling "Classic" 2004
A silver medal winner in the annual Rheingau Wine Contest, this dry wine shows outstanding flavor and balance with loads and loads of Riesling character. Notes of mineral and dried apple essence in the bouquet, with mouth-filling flavors of slate, apple rind and lemon zest, this Rheingau Riesling packs a dollop of fresh and crunchy acidity in the finish. For the fan of dry Riesling, don't miss this. üü+

Hochheimer Kirchenstück Riesling Spätlese trocken 2004
Exceedingly youthful at present with hints of leesy yeast in the nose, this wine needs time to develop before it shows its full potential. Notwithstanding its immature character, this Spätlese trocken displays excellent breed and elegance with its powerfully intense minerality in flavor and bracing acidity. As it further develops, the ingredients will meld together, making for a superbly enticing dry wine. ü+

Hochheimer Domdechaney Riesling "ERSTES GEWÄCHS" 2003
From the superb 2003 vintage comes this absolutely first-rate Riesling. Domdechnat Werner's 2003's were stunning examples of the vintage, and here we have one of the wine estate's crown jewels. Powerful and rich in structure, yet harmonious and elegant in flavor, this beauty dances on the palate with its flavors of maple-walnut granola and spiced apricot fruits. Sounds yummy and it is. üü+

Hochheimer Hölle Riesling Kabinett 2004
Year in and year out, the Hochheimer Hölle Riesling Kabinett from Domdechant Werner captivates my heart with its charm and sophistication. The 2004 vintage is no exception. Here is a wine with a marvelous scent of Bing cherries and fresh apricots, offering enticing flavors of "Juicy Fruit" gum and sun-ripened peaches. Balanced by its firm structure in the finish, this beauty, again, captures my heart and soul with its grace and charm. üü+/üüü

Hochheimer Domdechaney Riesling Spätlese 2004
A  fine wine, indeed, this Spätlese is all about intensity. Tightly wound, ready to spring, this gem jumps from glass to mouth with ferociously crisp, intense and razor-sharp flavor and dashing acidity. Typical of the 2004 vintage from Domdechant Werner, there is a wonderfully harmonious balance of fruit to acidity in this wine,  it captures all the classic refinement and majesty of great Rheingau Riesling. üüü

1 November 2005
The wines from the 2004 vintage at Selbach-Oster represent a palate of superbly crafted beauties which display all the best attributes of the Mittelmosel wine region. Johannes Selbach has once again achieved a level of winemaking which makes his wines true standouts amongst a bevy of other fine producers'. His ability to etch out the purest example of microclimatic expression provides the backbone to the greatness of these wines. The 2004 vintage wines from Selbach-Oster are Mosel classics, displaying the refined purity and sleek elegance which make those from this region so magical.

Estate Riesling Kabinett 2004
Fine flavors which are full and powerful, this wine is wonderfully refreshing with its off-dry style which hints of mineral-laden citrus fruits. Excellent as always.üü+

Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett 2004
Minerally, peach-yielding fruit flavor with a core of wet stone etched in the finish, this complex Kabinett is appears almost weightless, yet fills the palate with high-toned, crispy and bright acidity. üü+/üüü

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2004
Broader shouldered than the Schlossberg Kabinett, this scintillating wine suggests ripe apples in the nose and entices the palate with hints of apple rind, lime and vanilla flavors, encapsulated with a fine structure of ripe acidity. üü+

Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Spätlese 2004
Sleek and racy with its zippy slaty character, this charmer sings out “mineral to the max”. This gorgeous Mosel wine has a wonderful mid-palate presence, finishing off with a refined and elegant nature. üüü

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2004
Wow! What a great nose. Here we have aromas of baked apples with an overlay of pulverized slate stones. Concentrated without being ponderous in character, this beauty offers outstanding fruit definition, hinting of citrus and honeydew melon. üüü

Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Auslese “Schmitt” 2004
From the best part of the Schlossberg vineyard comes this utterly ravishing Riesling. No hints of botrytis can be found in either the bouquet or flavor in this wine, which suggests the pinnacle of purity in ripe fruit flavor from this noble varietal. Intense concentration of flavor, yet weightless on the palate, this stunning wine screams of high-toned minerality, sweet vanilla bean and sun-ripened tangerine hints. This is Selbach-Oster par excellence, displaying the wine estate's uncanny ability to capture the essence of pure microclimatic expression. üüü+

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese “Rotlay” 2004
This vintage is the first time that this parcel from the Zeltinger Sonnenuhr has ever been bottled separately, and what a premiere. One may consider this beauty to be the diamond amongst the gems in the treasure trove of Auslesen from Selbach-Oster. As if the Schmitt was not enough. Deeply concentrated with hints of fine ripe botrytis, this elixir seriously coats the palate with its dried-fruit flavors and mouth-searing acidity. Just layers and layers of depth of flavor, this beauty has it all. üüü+

Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Eiswein 2004
The 2004 vintage in the Mittelmosel can be summarized perfectly by this wine, simply because this is the purest expression of Riesling that one is likely to encounter from any producer in this region. Words hardly do justice to this wine, as it is more of an otherworldly experience than a tasting pleasure. Monumental to the core, this raisinous liquid treasure oozes power, succulence, complexity and sophistication while always maintaining the essence refined elegance. Supreme. üüü+/üüüü

1 October 2005
Georg Mosbacher Riesling Kabinett trocken 2004 - Pfalz
The wine estate of Georg Mosbacher is located in the picturesque village of Forst, a town of significant importance viticulturally. The wines from Forst, along with those of its neighbors, Deidesheim, Ruppertsberg and Wachenheim are considered to be some of the most powerful, well-structured and sophisticated in the entire Pfalz wine district. The strength of Weingut Mosbacher is its Riesling wines which develop a unique and characteristic taste and flavour of the top vineyard sites in Forst. Mosbacher's philosophy is well summarized in the following statement made by the wine estate:

"Aware of the fact that the foundation for high-quality wines lies in the vineyard itself, we limit the yields by reduced pruning in spring. Intense canopy management, thinning out in summer and selective grape picking by hand result in the best-possible harvest. The careful processing of the wines in the cellars preserves the typical character which the soil has given to our grapes. The results are fine wines with an unmistakable fruitiness and a fresh and lively character."

The 2004 vintage was extremely kind to Mosbacher as evidenced by the scintillating Riesling Kabinett trocken. The healthy, sweet and juicy grapes were sourced from prized parcels of the wine estate's own vineyards. Fermented to a bone-dry state, this Kabinett offers a tantalizing hint of wet-stone and peach essence, both in bouquet and taste. The peach pit character is accentuated by the racy acidity found in this powerful, yet extremely well-balanced wine. This beauty is a fabulous food wine, and is a perfect match with shell fish. Drink now or enjoy this lovely wine over the next 5 to 7 years. üü+

1 September 2005
Fitz-Ritter Gewürztraminer Spätlese 2003 - Pfalz
The following description from the lovely Pfalz wine estate, Fitz-Ritter, accur-ately describes this delicious Gewürztraminer from the outstanding 2003 vintage.

"This could well be called a Fitz-Ritter "Signature" wine . As all Gewürz-traminer fans know, finding a really fine one is rare, the reasons for this being that many vintners shy away from it as it is often quirky with low and irregular yields. This makes it especially difficult to supply an export market. And Gewürztraminer is a grape variety which chooses you, your soil and your cellars -- you don't choose it. To achieve the perfect balance of spicy, rose-petal and lychee nut aromas, without becoming overwhelmly perfumed, the soil has to be just right, the climate too -- and then the wine has to feel good in your cellar. Fitz-Ritter is located a mere 1/2 hour drive from the Alsacian border and Gewürztraminer growing on our estate is a tradition which matches the Alsacian one, dating back hundreds of years. Although we make dry Gewürztraminer as well -- our single best selling bottle of wine in the US is the sweeter Gewürztraminer Spätlese. Try it with Fusion, Thai, Chinese and all other Asian foods -- anything with spices and fruits and tangy flavors. It is truly a favorite."

A charming wine with wonderfully intense Gewürztraminer character, it offers hints of mineral, floral and lemon peel aromas. This medium-bodied wine tastes of sweet white peach and lemon juice, enhanced by a dash of invigoratingly crisp acidity. A very likable style of  Gewürz, this spicy Spätlese really dances on the palate. üüü

Graf von Schönborn Schloss Hallburg Hallburger Schlossberg Silvaner Kabinett trocken 2003 - Franken
The wine estate of Schloss Hallburg, located just south of the village of Volkrach, has been owned by the von Schönborn family since 1806. It is an historic property in Franken (Franconia), with the foundation of the castle tower dating back to the year 1000. It is a beautifully romantic setting, with lovely gardens and vineyards surrounding the ancient castle.

With the climate in Franken being diametrically opposed to the great Riesling regions of Germany, Silvaner is an important varietal here. The summers are long and hot with winters being fiercely cold, making this varietal perfectly suited to the growing conditions of this region. The wines from Franken have a certain charm all their own. These are powerful wines with abundant body and structure, yielding complex and intense flavors which are dry and earthy.

The Hallburger Schlossberg Silvaner Kabinett trocken 2003 is a beauty from this wine estate with its wonderfully firm dry flavor. The wine offers a fabulous bouquet, hinting of wet stone and chalk, slightly reminiscent of a lovely Sancerre. With a brilliant level of brisk acidity, enhancing its polished character, this deliciously dry wine is filled with enticing personality. For the fan of a crisp dry white wine with a sparkling glean of peppery, spicy flavor, this is a perfect choice. ü+

Dr. H. Thanisch-Erben Thanisch- Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Spätlese 2003 -Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
The vineyards of Bernkastel rise majestically behind this fairytale village which is nestled along the banks of the serene Mosel River. It is a romantic scene, with half-timbered buildings in various hues of color so quaintly dotting the cobblestone streets, with the steep, slate-covered vineyards providing a thrilling background for this medieval setting. The wines are equally as charming, with delicate features all their own. Bernkastel wines are special, having sublime delicacy, sophisticated refinement and superb intensity of flavor, making them some of the most captivatingly beautiful white wines on this planet.

The Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Spätlese 2003 from Dr. H. Thanisch-Erben Thanisch is yet another winner from this fabled estate. This gorgeous Spätlese epitomizes the Bernkastel style, brimming with elegance and finesse with its bright, spritzy, crisp flavor which hints of lemon candy drops and penetrating crushed mineral notes.  Firmly structured, yet delicate, almost weightless, this beauty coats the palate with razor-like acidity, adding to the complexity of this beautiful wine. So complete, so brilliant this gem will reward those who have the patience to age this beauty for 5-10 years. üüü

23 June 2005
Riesling Sekt Brut 2003
Von Schleinitz is famous for the sparkling wines that it produces, and after tasting this beauty, one can see what all the fuss is about. Made from 100% Riesling, this sparkler just oozes flavor with just the right amount of dry fruit notes combined with its yeasty essence, derived from long-term lees contact. This delicious sparking wine from the Mosel tastes better and has better balance than most Champagnes at twice the price. üüü

Spätburgunder Weissherbst (Pinot Noir Rosé) 2004
What a wonderful summer thirst quencher! Anytime is the right time for this delightfully delicious dry Rosé made from Pinot Noir grapes produced from the von Schleinitz vineyards which are located in the quaint, sleepy village of Kobern-Gondorf, one of the northernmost wine communities along the Mosel River.

As Konrad Hähn, the charming owner of Weingut von Schelinitz, describes the production of this wine, "My Spätburgunder vineyards are a mix of 20% light, stony slate and 80% earthy, stony soil. It is important is to reduce the yield, as Spätburgunder produces large quantities of sprouts. A single vine shouldn't have more than 15 grapes in total. Before the harvest, we remove some leaves on the vines, allowing more air to ventilate the grapes. The healthiness of the grapes is important for the color in red wine, therefore sorting through our harvest is most important for both red and Weissherbst (Rosé) production. The grapes for the Weissherbst will be put immediately into the press and after a few hours of skin contact will be pressed, extracting just the right amount of color. The Weissherbst will go through malolactic fermentation which reduces the fruit acidity. As opposed to Riesling,  Pinot Noir doesn't need as much fruit acidity for a harmonious taste. After the fermentation is complete, the wine is aged in stainless steel tanks, keeping the freshness and fruitiness of the wine."

I love Rosé wines, and I especially love this one. With a color of pink grapefruit, this just sings of bright, juicy Pinot flavor, balanced by dry, soft tannins. This charmer deserves just a slight chill to perk up the fresh, and invigorating deep, strawberry fruit notes, making the perfect wine for a summer picnic. Hard to resist, you'll beg for another glass. üüü

Spätburgunder trocken (Pinot Noir Dry) 2003
A Pinot Noir from the Mosel, hard to believe but true. A superb one at that, with a deep red color, which displays excellent concentrated viscosity, indicative of the unusually warm 2003 vintage. With a bouquet of sun-warmed black cherries with hints of gun smoke, this medium-bodied wine offers enticing flavors of “new world” Pinot, showing juicy cherry, mineral and smoked herb notes. The soft tannins in the finish allow the wine to envelop the palate gracefully, offering inviting charm and character in this lovely red. üü+

Slatestone Riesling - Dry 2002
For the fan of dry Riesling, this is the one for you. A wine of sleek minerally essences in the nose, it displays hints of crushed rock, lemon zest and green apple. Racy flavors of lemon and lime juice combined with Granny Smith apple rind make for a briskly flavorful drink that sings in the finish with its captivatingly crisp finish. Without a doubt this is one of the best values on the market for a dry, refreshing Riesling. üüü

Slatestone Riesling - Off Dry 2003
A superbly concentrated Riesling which smacks the palate right where it belongs - all over! Bright delicious fruit flavors of candied lemon drops combined with crisp sun-baked wet stones, this beauty finishes with a bang with its crunchy, brisk acid structure. Simply delicious. üü+

1 May 2005
Dr. H. Thanisch - Erben Thanisch - Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett 2003 -M-S-R
The picturesque town of Bernkastel, nestled along the banks of the serene Mosel River, sits below some of the most distinguished vineyards in all of Germany. The wines from this charming village radiate in beauty, with delicate features all their own, having the grace and dignity that only Mosel wines can provide. These are wines which capture that heart and soul of Mosel Riesling, projecting the purity of flavor and crisp crunchi-ness of mineral acidity.

The Bernkasteler wines are epitomized by the great wine estate of Dr. H. Thanisch - Erben Thanisch, owned by the charming Sofia Thanisch-Spier, whose 2003's are majestic beauties. The Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett is a perfect example of the superb quality from this fabled estate. Gorgeous flavor of lemon-lime gum drop with a dash of mineral elements in the back. Sleek and refined, this beauty glides along the palate with well-balanced grace and elegance. Absolutely delicious. Lovely to drink now, but with a few more years in the cellar, this wine will radiate even more charm and graceful complexity. üü+

Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Beerenauslese 2003
The 2003 vintage at Emrich-Schönleber was another brilliant achievement at this heralded wine estate. The summer's extreme heat provided opportunities in the vineyards never seen before, with ripeness levels in the grapes reaching all time highs. While some producers may have experienced lower levels of naturally crisp acidity in 2003, this was not a problem at Emrich-Schönleber, where both malic and tartaric acids shine as brightly as the summer sun. Like the 2002 vintage wines from this estate, each and every wine is impeccable, and some as the Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Beerenauslese 2003, reach levels of finesse, power and concentration which are breathtaking achievements in winemaking.

The Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Beerenauslese 2003 from Emrich-Schönleber is one of the brightest stars in a constellation of fine wines from this remarkable vintage. This is simply a great wine with an intoxicating bouquet of Sultana raisins and vanilla pudding. Notes of honey, sun-dried apricot and powdered sugar captivate the palate, finishing off with breathtaking levels of ripe acidity. A monumental achievement from this esteemed producer, this powerfully exotic wine needs years of aging before all its majesty is fully unwrapped. A winemaking tour de force. üüü+/üüüü