Monday, March 21, 2005

21 March 2005 - A Great Riesling

Today I tasted six wines from Weingut Robert Weil, Rheingau. Five from the 2003 vintage, and a barrel sample from 2004. The few '03 Rieslings I'd tasted before didn't prepare me for this -- I was expecting soft, juicy, sweet wines; delicious and easy and not worth spending lots of cash to obtain.

The most basic wine of the day, the Estate Riesling Qba Trocken '03, was dry, with mineral/white peach smells and flavors, and as good a QbA as you could imagine from any great estate in any great vintage. As good as the other four wines were, I want to get to the point:

Part of the estate's home vineyard, Kiedricher Grafenberg, is designated "Erstes Gewachs" (a "first growth"). "First growth" is a designation achieved through adherence to all kinds of criteria in the vineyard and the cellar, as well as tasting evaluation by peers. Their '03 Riesling "Erstes Gewachs" is picked at Auslese level of ripeness and vinified dry, leaving about 13% alcohol. It has a phenomenal concentration of mineral/fresh apricot/blossom smells and flavors balanced by great acidity. I've never tasted a dry wine that has such incredible intensity of flavor -- almost painful -- with such exquisite balance. I was, and remain, astounded. I didn't need to be convinced about the greatness of Riesling, but this wine has blown the lid off what I thought was possible to attain with the grape.


Blogger Mitchell Pressman said...

this is just a test to make sure you can actually comment on this blog, blah blah blah...

March 25, 2005 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Mitchell, thanks for your comments on wine here and the weekly tastings at CWC.

I read your latest post, and I ask myself, "What am I doing wrong with rieslings?" I don't think I've ever truly enjoyed one -- to me, they're sickeningly sweet. I never taste the balance or intensity of flavors you describe; I always get this sort of metallic-apricot-sugar that reminds me of cheap wine coolers.

So I've sort of written off rieslings, but then every once in a while I'll read a post like yours and wonder what I'm missing.

March 31, 2005 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger Mitchell Pressman said...

I wonder if you're just tasting the wrong rieslings. If you're a customer at CWC, find me and remind me about this exchange, and I'll find a riesling for you to taste while you're in the store so you don't have to take more chances. After all, you're allowed not to like something.

If the wine arrives in time for it, we'll taste the R. Weil First Estate next Tuesday in the "Great Estates" tasting.

April 5, 2005 at 6:59 PM  

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