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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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

[ 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 rock solid core, bright, seamless acids and stunning length and grip on the very, very elegant and perfectly balanced finish... one of the most beautiful dry Rieslings I tasted on this trip. 2020-2050+. (Mar/Apr 2016) ] 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…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
The 2017 Wagner-Stempel Rosé is a one-third each blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Madelein, and St. Laurent. The nose and palate feature cherry, plum, red currant, raspberry and cassis leading to an elegant, totally dry finish. Perfect for a warm sunny day. The Wagner-Stempel estate dates back to 1845.… ...
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Wagner-Stempel Rose Rheinhessen 2017  (#332623)

Rosé from Rheinhessen, Germany

[ The 2017 Wagner-Stempel Rosé is a one-third each blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Madelein, and St. Laurent. The nose and palate feature cherry, plum, red currant, raspberry and cassis leading to an elegant, totally dry finish. Perfect for a warm sunny day. The Wagner-Stempel estate dates back to 1845. They farm their 20 hectares of vineyards organically and have been certified since 2011. ] The 2017 Wagner-Stempel Rosé is a one-third each blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Madelein, and St. Laurent. The nose and palate feature cherry, plum, red currant, raspberry and cassis leading to an elegant, totally dry finish. Perfect for a warm sunny day…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
92 points James Suckling: An amazing everyday wine that s full of peach, citrus and floral aromas. Juicy and elegant this is beautifully balanced with a ton of character and a long clean finish. Drink now or hold. Made from organic grapes and Fair'n Green certified. Screw cap. (11/29/17) ...
JS 92
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Donnhoff Riesling Trocken Estate 2016  (#330117)

Riesling from Nahe, Germany

[ 92 points James Suckling: An amazing everyday wine that s full of peach, citrus and floral aromas. Juicy and elegant this is beautifully balanced with a ton of character and a long clean finish. Drink now or hold. Made from organic grapes and Fair'n Green certified. Screw cap. (11/29/17) ] 92 points James Suckling: An amazing everyday wine that s full of peach, citrus and floral aromas. Juicy and elegant this is beautifully balanced with a ton of character and a long clean finish. Drink now or hold. Made from organic grapes and Fair'n…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ 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

[ 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, nascently complex and just beautifully balanced, with a fine core, superb focus and grip and a very, very long, classic and refined finish. Just a beautiful wine in the making. 2022-2060. (Mar/Apr 2016) ] 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…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 9 available
JG 94
WA 94
WS 94
NEW ITEM
$69.95
$110.00
Save $40.05 (36%)110.00
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98 points Joel B. Payne (Vinous): Rich golden yellow. Exuberant aromas of caramelized peach, quince preserves and oyster shell on a bed of honeyed botrytis. Incredibly dense on the palate, with its creamy richness perfectly paired with an almost salty tangy quality, this is a breathtaking Riesling.… ...
V 98
JG 98
WA 95
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Keller Riesling Westhofen Morstein Trockenbeerenauslese GK 2013  (#324421)

Riesling from Rheinhessen, Germany

[ 98 points Joel B. Payne (Vinous): Rich golden yellow. Exuberant aromas of caramelized peach, quince preserves and oyster shell on a bed of honeyed botrytis. Incredibly dense on the palate, with its creamy richness perfectly paired with an almost salty tangy quality, this is a breathtaking Riesling. In spite of its depth and weight, this Trockenbeerenauslese is still delicate and elegant. Complex and spicy on the deliriously long finish, this is without any doubt the best noble late harvest offering of the vintage in Germany. Drink: 2020-2050. (Mar 2015) ] 98 points Joel B. Payne (Vinous): Rich golden yellow. Exuberant aromas of caramelized peach, quince preserves and oyster shell on a bed of honeyed botrytis. Incredibly dense on the palate, with its creamy richness perfectly paired with an almost…

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 1 available
$695.00
$1044.00
Save $349.00 (33%)1044.00
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95 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): The 2016 Graacher Himmelreich Spätlese (AP 08 17) is discreet and smoky on the deep, well-defined nose. Juicy-piquant and salty on the well-structured and refreshingly mineral palate, the Himmelreich is tight and expressive, with the sweetness superbly… ...
WA 95
JG 94
MFW 92
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Prum/JJ Riesling Spatlese Graacher Himmelreich 2016  (#330461)

Riesling from Mosel, Germany

[ 95 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): The 2016 Graacher Himmelreich Spätlese (AP 08 17) is discreet and smoky on the deep, well-defined nose. Juicy-piquant and salty on the well-structured and refreshingly mineral palate, the Himmelreich is tight and expressive, with the sweetness superbly balanced by the spicy, grippy phenols/minerals. This is a really complex Spätlese that is highly stimulating today and will still be so in 20 or 30 years. Drink: 2018-2050. (Apr 2018) ] 95 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): The 2016 Graacher Himmelreich Spätlese (AP 08 17) is discreet and smoky on the deep, well-defined nose. Juicy-piquant and salty on the well-structured and refreshingly mineral palate, the Himmelreich is…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
WA 95
JG 94
MFW 92
$35.95
$56.00
Save $20.05 (36%)56.00
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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

[ 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 wine is pure, full-bodied and quite suave on the attack, with lovely elegance to its structural chassis, bright, ripe acids and excellent length and grip on the focused and youthful finish. Really a lovely wine. 2019-2040. (Mar/Apr 2016) ] 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…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 9 available
$44.88
$65.00
Save $20.12 (31%)65.00
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A blend of three different vineyards. The vines are at least 20 years old. Intense fruit. A superb example of what the modern Rheinhessen can do: rich intense fruit, less floral and more stone fruit, nectarine or peach, with a hearty earthiness that gives the wine both power and complexity. Entirely… ...
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Winter Riesling Dittelsheim Rheinhessen 2013  (#326681)

Riesling from Rheinhessen, Germany

[ A blend of three different vineyards. The vines are at least 20 years old. Intense fruit. A superb example of what the modern Rheinhessen can do: rich intense fruit, less floral and more stone fruit, nectarine or peach, with a hearty earthiness that gives the wine both power and complexity. Entirely hand picked grapes all fermented in stainless steel. An example of why the Rheinhessen is the most improved and exciting wine region in Germany. ] A blend of three different vineyards. The vines are at least 20 years old. Intense fruit. A superb example of what the modern Rheinhessen can do: rich intense fruit, less floral and more stone fruit, nectarine or peach, with a hearty earthiness that…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
$14.88
$24.50
Save $9.62 (39%)24.50
Save $9.62 (39%)
90 points Wine Enthusiast: This dry light-footed Silvaner offers tangy yellow-apple and lemon flavors elevated by whiffs of blossom, honeycomb and crushed mineral. It's a sprightly lean wine with a crisp finish. Drink now through 2021. Alcohol 12%. (Jun 2018) ...
WE 90
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Hans Wirsching Silvaner Franken Dry 2016  (#330131)

Silvaner/Sylvaner from Franconia, Germany

[ 90 points Wine Enthusiast: This dry light-footed Silvaner offers tangy yellow-apple and lemon flavors elevated by whiffs of blossom, honeycomb and crushed mineral. It's a sprightly lean wine with a crisp finish. Drink now through 2021. Alcohol 12%. (Jun 2018) ] 90 points Wine Enthusiast: This dry light-footed Silvaner offers tangy yellow-apple and lemon flavors elevated by whiffs of blossom, honeycomb and crushed mineral. It's a sprightly lean wine with a crisp finish. Drink now through 2021. Alcohol 12%. …

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available
93 points David Schildknecht (Vinous): Suggestive sweetness of honeysuckle and lily-of-the-valley mingle with scents of fig and white peach on the nose, and a delightful corresponding interplay of luscious fruit and inner-mouth perfume prevails on a buoyant, silken palate. Savory and piquant… ...
V 93
JS 91
WS 91
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Donnhoff Riesling Kabinett Kreuznacher Krotenpfuhl 2016  (#330809)

Riesling from Nahe, Germany

[ 93 points David Schildknecht (Vinous): Suggestive sweetness of honeysuckle and lily-of-the-valley mingle with scents of fig and white peach on the nose, and a delightful corresponding interplay of luscious fruit and inner-mouth perfume prevails on a buoyant, silken palate. Savory and piquant suggestions of sprouted grains, citrus zest and marine minerals contribute to the invigoration and saliva-inducement of a lip-smackingly lingering finish that manages at once to caress, stimulate and refresh... (Apr 2018) ] 93 points David Schildknecht (Vinous): Suggestive sweetness of honeysuckle and lily-of-the-valley mingle with scents of fig and white peach on the nose, and a delightful corresponding interplay of luscious fruit and inner-mouth perfume prevails on a…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 6 available
$21.95
$30.00
Save $8.05 (27%)30.00
Save $8.05 (27%)
94 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): The 2016 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese (AP #10) is one of three Spätlesen that werew selected in 2016. The wine has a very clear and smoky bouquet of perfectly ripe, healthy Riesling berries and yellow-fleshed stone fruits. Round, lush and piquant,… ...
WA 94
JS 94
JG 93
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Schaefer/Willi Riesling Spatlese Graacher Domprobst A.P. #10 2016  (#329521)

Riesling from Mosel, Germany

[ 94 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): The 2016 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese (AP #10) is one of three Spätlesen that werew selected in 2016. The wine has a very clear and smoky bouquet of perfectly ripe, healthy Riesling berries and yellow-fleshed stone fruits. Round, lush and piquant, this is a very elegant and stimulating Spätlese with lingering, mouthwatering salinity. The wine is complex but not all too intellectual. It has a ripe but coolish-elegant character with a long, well-structured finish. Drink: 2018-2050. (Apr 2018) ] 94 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): The 2016 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese (AP #10) is one of three Spätlesen that werew selected in 2016. The wine has a very clear and smoky bouquet of perfectly ripe, healthy Riesling berries and…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
WA 94
JS 94
JG 93
$34.95
$45.00
Save $10.05 (22%)45.00
Save $10.05 (22%)
90-92 points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): In the past there has been versions of the Leistenberg Kabinett under both screwcap and natural cork, but this year, it is all under the screw, and this wine too had only been bottled for a few days prior to my visit. The bouquet is a very stylish… ...
JG 90-92
WA 90
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Donnhoff Riesling Kabinett Oberhauser Leistenberg 2014  (#333298)

Riesling from Nahe, Germany

[ 90-92 points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): In the past there has been versions of the Leistenberg Kabinett under both screwcap and natural cork, but this year, it is all under the screw, and this wine too had only been bottled for a few days prior to my visit. The bouquet is a very stylish blend of apple, pear, slate, lilacs and a touch of wild yeasts in the upper register. On the palate the wine is medium-full, long and succulent, with a good core, beautiful balance, ripe acids and very good length and grip on the finish. This too is a bit unsettled from its recent bottling, but will be very good... 2015-2025. (Mar/Apr 2015) ] 90-92 points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): In the past there has been versions of the Leistenberg Kabinett under both screwcap and natural cork, but this year, it is all under the screw, and this wine too had only been bottled for a few days…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available
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