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Alsace Riesling: panel tasting results

Showcasing the many and varied grands crus of this most complex of wine regions, this tasting reinforced the value of Alsace’s classification system.

Rebecca Palmer, Marcel Orford-Williams and Eric Zwiebel MS tasted 77 wines with 1 Exceptional, 4 Outstanding and 34 Highly Recommended.

Entry criteria: producers and UK agents were invited to submit their dry grand cru Riesling wines from the latest vintage, with availability in the UK and US, and a maximum of three wines per producer and one wine per grand cru site

Alsace Riesling panel tasting scores

77 wines tasted

Exceptional 1

Outstanding 4

Highly recommended 34

Recommended 32

Commended 2

Fair 2

Poor 1

Faulty 1

Riesling is not merely the ‘the King among grape varieties’. It is also the terroir wine par excellence. Alsace has a vast mosaic of sites, each with its unique combination of aspect, altitude and soils. And this tasting demonstrated the extraordinary diversity, and quality, of Riesling in Alsace, from legendary estates as well as lesser-known names.

It also provided a fascinating test-case of Alsace’s classification system as it stands today.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for the top Alsace Riesling wines

The tasting featured 33 of Alsace’s 55 designated grands crus, including the largest, Schlossberg (80.3ha), which fielded several stellar wines, and the smallest, Kanzlerberg (3.23ha), whose single contender was one of the stars of the entire tasting.

Top-scoring wines from the Alsace Riesling tasting

The judges

Rebecca Palmer is associate director and buyer for London-based merchant Corney & Barrow, heading up a team that covers all world regions except Bordeaux. A DWWA judge, she previously worked at Bibendum and for Laithwaites as a buyer.

Marcel Orford-Williams is the DWWA Regional Chair for Alsace. Having joined The Wine Society’s buying department in 1986, he is currently buyer for its Rhône, southern and regional French wines as well as Germany.

Eric Zwiebel MS is executive head sommelier at Summer Lodge Hotel in Dorset and for the Red Carnation hotel group. Born in Alsace, he moved to London and achieved his Master Sommelier qualification in 2001, and was named Best Sommelier in the UK in 2004.

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