2015, Germany, WINE

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Germany's rich, illustrious wine history can stand proudly next to the rest of the world's great regions, but its recent history has been somewhat more checkered. For centuries, the country's nobly sweet Riesling wines were considered the finest on Earth. But by the late 20th and early 21st centuries, this style had long fallen out of favor with the general public, both in Germany and abroad. The dry, or trocken, style now encompasses the majority of German wine production, but the best contemporary winemakers have held fast to tradition and held themselves and their peers to strict quality standards.

The late-ripening Riesling grape is perfectly suited to the sweet style and perfectly suited to Germany's best vineyards, the most northerly in the wine growing world. First, only Pinot Noir can match Riesling's ability to convey such a pure sense of time and place from such highly specific plots of land. Second, the profile of luxurious sugar and fruit allied to bracing acidity is simply inimitable. Many regions have tried. All have failed. The sweet wines, or Prädiktat wines, are legally defined according to must weight and actual alcohol content. Kabinett is the first tier on the pyramid, typically bright and fresh in style with exuberant fruit and racy acid. Spätlese wines are riper in natural sugars and potential alcohol, fuller in body and residual sugar, and longer lived in the cellar. The Auslese tier takes wine to another realm of expression and complexity with intensely ripe fruits married to ultra-fine, filigreed acid. The super-premium tiers of Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, and Eiswein are to the point of defying description. Exceedingly rare and exorbitantly expensive, they are among the wine world's unicorns, and enjoying one is the treat of a lifetime, indeed.

In terms of terroir, Germany's wine identity is defined by the five-mile-long wall of vines in the middle Mosel River Valley. The best plots of vines cling to steep inclines (up to 60% in some places) on beds of weathered slate soils, said to impart the region's trademark "petrol" character to the wines' bouquets. Along the river's snaking course, the best sites enjoy southerly exposures to take full advantage of the day's rays, even late into the season. Many of Germany's greatest wine estates are based in the villages on the Mosel, but its tributaries, Saar and Ruwer, boast their own fair share of iconic vineyards and producers, with the wines generally more elegant and austere than those from the river's main course.

Where the Mosel meets the mighty Rhine river, there begins the rest of Germany's wine mosaic. The Nahe is another of the river's tributaries. Southeast of Mosel, it's more of a patchwork of vineyard sites, on both the main Nahe branch and along some of its tributaries. The wines are generally riper and more unctuous than the Mosel's, but great growers are finding new levels of refinement each year. At an eastward bend in the river, the historically majestic Rheingau's prized, south-facing vineyards produce wines of elegant subtlety and austerity. Where the Rhine turns south again, the Rheinhessen's easterly wall of red slate, known as the Roter Hang produces wines of luxurious sweetness and spicy minerality. Further down the river, the Pfalz is perhaps Germany's most exciting wine region today, as it sits in the lee of the Vosges mountains, far from any major river, making it Germany's driest, sunniest micro-climate. The resulting Rieslings display a honeyed decadence and body with riveting acidity, characteristic Riesling but wholly Pfalz at heart.

Away from this stretch of the Rhein, Germany's lesser-known regions quietly excel with often obscure native varietals and a few transplants. With Germany's most northerly vines, the tiny Ahr river valley grows some of the country's best Pinot Noir, or Spätburgunder, on steep blue and black slate slopes. A few top producers are now making wines to rival the heavyweights from elsewhere, with a meaty, ripe density and firm texture. In addtion to Spätburgunder, Germany's best indigenous red varietals also see great success in Baden, in the country's Bavarian south. Trollinger and Lemberger thrive particularly well around Württemburg. Franken, on the other hand, has a world-class reputation built on a white grape, and it isn't Riesling. The densely compact Silvaner does best here on the limestone soils, and the top wines are as ageworthy as most great Rieslings.

Germany's wine reputation may rise and fall with the fortunes of one varietal, as it should. But that one varietal is unlike any other, and with time the country's upstart mavericks will continue to make waves with the other staple grapes here, as well. Through highs and lows, the heart and soul of Germany's wine scene have stayed strong, and they're only getting stronger.

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94 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): From gray slate, the 2015 Pündericher Marienburg Riesling GG Falkenlay is pure, yet deep, intense and flinty on the nose. On the palate, this is a very intense, round and juicy Riesling, charmingly round and mouth-filling, with lush and intense fruit,… ...

WA 94
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Clemens Busch Riesling Marienburg Falkenlay GG 2015  (#329394)

Riesling from Mosel, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available

93+ points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): The 2015 Ohligsberg GG is an excellent wine in the making, delivering a fine aromatic constellation of white cherries, tart pear, smoky overtones, a superb base of slate minerality, a touch of wild yeasts and a topnote of currant leaf. On the palate the… ...

JG 93
WA 93
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Haart/Reinhold Riesling Wintricher Ohligsberg Grosses Gewachs 2015  (#327959)

Riesling from Mosel, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 9 available
$44.88
$65.00
Save $20.12 (31%)65.00
Save $20.12 (31%)

94 points and 'Cellar Selection,' Wine Enthusiast: Initial whiffs of smoke and struck flint fade into pretty pineapple and blossom on the nose of this full-bodied, dry Riesling. Mango and tangerine flavors are riper and heftier on the palate than in many of the Mosel's 2015 Grosses Gewächs wines,… ...

WE 94
JS 93
WA 92
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Haag/Fritz Riesling Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Grosses Gewachs 2015  (#329079)

Riesling from Mosel, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12 available
WE 94
JS 93
WA 92
$36.95
$56.00
Save $19.05 (34%)56.00
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A wonderfully light, juicy Riesling for everyday drinking. Its varietally-typical acid, paired with a pleasant finish, gives this wine a unique energy and drinkability. ...

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Metzger Riesling Trocken 2015  (#330717)

Riesling from Pfalz, Germany

1L Magnum | In stock, 12+ available

Not yet reviewed; 2015 vintage rated 91+ points by Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): The 2015 (Uhlbacher) Götzenberg Riesling GG comes from Schilfsandstein (sandstone) and opens clear, fresh, crystalline and aromatic on the nose like a Rheingau Riesling. The wine is intense but lean and elegant on… ...

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Schnaitmann Riesling Gotzenberg Grosses Gewachs 2015  (#331082)

Riesling from Württemberg, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available

93 points Wine & Spirits: Werner Näkel, whose work with pinot noir brought Germany s Ahr region to prominence, is now joined in the winery by his daughters, Dörte and Meike. Their basic Spätburgunder in 2015 excels in its grace and energy: The flavors come across as breezy--tart, tangy fruit scented… ...

W&S 93
WE 92
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Meyer-Nakel Spatburgunder Ahr 2015  (#327672)

Pinot Noir from Ahr, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 8 available
$29.95
$39.00
Save $9.05 (23%)39.00
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93+ points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): The 2015 Juffer Kabinett is also a superb wine and another beautifully filigreed example. The fine nose wafts from the glass in a mélange of pear, gentle smoky tones, a nice touch of cress, slate, lime zest and a bit of petrol in the upper register. On… ...

JG 93
WA 90
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Schloss Lieser (Haag) Riesling Kabinett Brauneberger Juffer 2015  (#328848)

Riesling from Mosel, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 9 available

WHWC Staff Notes: Gerhard's Schützenhaus Spätlese Trocken falls on the more powerful end of the spectrum. The wine is ripe as evidenced by the deep aromas of green apple, nectarine, and orange blossom, but site specificity is also present in the briny, mineral core. The palate is dense and viscous,… ...

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Gerhard/S Riesling Spatlese Trocken Hattenheimer Schutzenhaus 2015  (#327944)

Riesling from Rheingau, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 10 available
$21.88
$30.00
Save $8.12 (27%)30.00
Save $8.12 (27%)

88 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): Made exclusively for Skurnik wines, the medium-dry 2015 Riesling Winnings opens lovely, clear and aromatic. It delivers a classic flinty/citrusy Buntsandstein aroma. The wine is charmingly round and elegant on the palate, piquant and juicy, as well as… ...

WA 88
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von Winning Riesling Winnings 2015  (#327585)

Riesling from Pfalz, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available

94 points Stuart Pigott (JamesSuckling.com): The Centrafenberg Riesling from Paul Fürst is one of the most sought after German GGs because of the wine s crystalline purity, racy acidity, and complex herbal and berry aromas. This is one of the best vintages, packed with flavor and blessed with an… ...

JS 94
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Furst/Rudolf Riesling Burgstadter Centgrafenberg Grosses Gewachs 2015  (#329078)

Riesling from Franconia, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available

95 points John Gilman: ...The bouquet... is stunning, soaring from the glass in a fine blend of pink grapefruit, a hint of gooseberry, plenty of smokiness, gorgeous minerality, wild yeasts, a hint of mossiness and a topnote of lime peel... pure, full-bodied and beautifully light on its feet, with a… ...

JG 95
WA 94
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Emrich-Schonleber Riesling Monzinger Fruhlingsplatzchen GG 2015  (#329907)

Riesling from Nahe, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 5 available

94+ points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): ...The wine comes in at around 12.5% alcohol and offers up a refined and very classy bouquet of grapefruit, white cherries, wild yeasts, dried flowers, a lovely base of minerality, petrol and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied,… ...

JG 94
WA 94
WS 94
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Schafer-Frohlich Riesling Nahe Felsenberg Grosses Gewachs 2015  (#328695)

Riesling from Nahe, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JG 94
WA 94
WS 94
NEW ITEM
$69.95
$110.00
Save $40.05 (36%)110.00
Save $40.05 (36%)
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