German Riesling is one of the wine world’s greatest treasures. Unrivalled in the world of white wine, its famous ageing potential stems from a combination of electrifying cool-climate acidity and balancing, elegant sweetness. Given the right conditions, these stunning traditional wines offer deeply complex, yet utterly joyful, drinking experiences and can be one of the wine lover’s greatest pleasures.
Our buyers have curated a selection of Rieslings that are guaranteed to yield a few epiphanies – a flash of inspiration triggered by the unique sensorial experience that each of these bottles contain.
Riesling Trocken, Ökonomierat Rebholz, 2016
Ökonomierat Rebholz, Pfalz leading estate, represents the region at its most uncompromising, precise and pure. If the Pfalz is often known for producing full-bodied, fruit forward styles, Hansjorg Rebholz’s wines come as a crisp pure breath of fresh air. Never chaptalising or de-acidifying, nor allowing his wines to soften through malolactic fermentation, the Rebholz style aims to be as transparent a translation of vintage and site as possible; the house style is bone dry, crystal clear, pure, and unadulterated.
In this Riesling Trocken, from gravel and sandstone soils, clear expressive notes of grapefruit and pithy citrus, lime leaf and cool stones, are supported by inherently fresh minerality. A charming wine with impressive length for its price.
£10.83/bottle available here
Nierstein, Riesling Trocken, Kuhling Gillot, 2017
Kuhling-Gillot and Battenfeld-Spanier represent two estates, united by marriage, whose wines are produced by a single winemaking team in one cellar. The estate’s history dates back over 200 years, though under different names: the family’s matriarchal side has run the estate for generations. Battenfeld-Spanier is a younger affair, set up by the ambitious Oliver Spanier in 1993. His vineyards are further south, centred around the villages of Hohen-Sulzen, Nieder-Florsheim and Molsheim. Both estates are run under certified biodynamic practices and without the use of fertilisers or pesticides.
The fruit comes from the red slate vineyards of Pettenthal, Hipping and Oldberg, incredible source material for village level wine, shown in the complex array of savoury, spiced mineral, mint and chamomile flavours. A rich dry wine with alluring texture and tension.
£15.83/bottle available here
Lenz Riesling, Emrich Schönleber, 2015
This great Nahe estate was founded by Werner Schönleber in the 1960s with just two hectares. Today, the property comprises 14 hectares, mainly planted to Riesling, on the slate and quartzite soils of Halenberg and Frühlingsplatzchen. Careful vineyard work, spontaneous fermentation in old oak casks and further ageing in stainless steel vats conspire to produce an intense, long-lived Nahe Riesling that combines delicate florality with intense minerality.
Beautiful, fine bitter grapefruit flesh, clear shards of citrus fruit and zest, but no sourness such is the ripeness of the acidity. Superb balance with plenty of inviting fruit, but also restraint and tension. Just outside the boundaries of officially Trocken, and yet seemingly almost dry. Lots going on for a wine of just 11.5% ABV.
£12.17/bottle available here
Brauneberger, Riesling,Kabinett, Fritz Haag, 2017
Weingut Fritz Haag has been in the top tier of quality German wine production for decades, thanks largely to the efforts of the late, legendary Wilhelm Haag, who headed up the Mosel VDP for nigh-on twenty years. With his son Oliver at the helm of the estate since 2005, Fritz Hagg continues to produce some of the most elegant, pure and enticing wines in Germany. Oliver sources hid fruit from the exceptional stony grey and blue slate slope of the Juffer in Brauneberg, the finest part of this being a large parcel surrounding the sun dial (the iconic Sonnenuhr).
At 45 grams of residual sugar/litre this Riesling Kabinett is a touch drier than some recent vintages and yet still displays all the notes of fresh herbs and apples you would expect. With lovely clear fruit, ripe, round acidity, and a touch of cream on the finish, this charming Kabinett is likely to provide great pleasure just a few years out of the blocks.
£10.33/bottle available here
Saarburger Rausch, Riesling Kabinett, Zilliken, 2017
Possibly one of the coldest and most marginal corners of Germany, the Saar can produce some of the world’s great white wine in hot sunny years such as 1990. These are, however, usually outnumbered by cold wet years resulting in over astringent and unripe wines. There is a small group of growers though who have a distinct advantage over the rest in the land they own. A handful of Saar vineyards are steep and exposed enough to ensure a decent level of grape ripening even in poor years. Hanno Zilliken is fortunate enough to have sizeable holdings in one of Saarburg’s greatest vineyards, the steep south-facing Rausch.
Pure herbs and fine citrus notes come together in this filigreed Kabinett produced from bunches that combined perfectly ripe grapes with a small percentage of golden shrivelled material. The result is a wine of lift and finesse, combined with Auslese levels of extract.
£14.67/bottle available here
Maximin Grünhaus, Riesling, Monopol, Von Schubert, 2018
This estate is centred on a former monastic manor house at the foot of the Maximin Grünhaus hill, close to a narrow tributary of the Mosel, the Ruwer. This towering hill is responsible for the world-famous wines of Carl von Schubert, whose sensible attitude to vineyard management, careful selection and yield restriction result in classic examples of Ruwer style wines: bold, racy and mineral. Three of the region’s top vineyards are all situated on this hill.
This cuvée just seems to get better and better, a rare VDP Gütswein produced from a grand cru site. Built on finesse and delicacy, yet with great energy and shape, this delivers enormous refreshment as notes of lime, salt and herbs are presented with crystalline clarity. Very good indeed.