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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A semi-sparkling rosé wine, the pink Fritz comes from the German red grape varieties Portugieser and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). The pink Fritz refreshes best well chilled or on the rocks. Perfect with a sprig of mint for summer, sand and sunny spirits. Tasting notes: Red fruit aromas such as red… ...

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Fritz Muller Perlwein Rosa Trocken Rheinhessen NV  (#322161)

Non-Vintage Rosé Sparkling Wine from Rheinhessen, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available

97 points James Suckling: The 2016 Hermannshöhle GG from Dönnhoff is once again one of the top dry rieslings of the vintage in Germany thanks to its stunning combination of concentration and finesse. The super-mineral finish tugs at your lapels trying to pull you with it into the distance. Don't… ...

JS 97
WA 96
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Donnhoff Riesling Niederhauser Hermannshohle Grosses Gewachs 2016  (#330123)

Riesling from Nahe, Germany

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 12+ available
PRE-ARRIVAL
$68.95
$85.00
Save $16.05 (19%)85.00
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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

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 1 available
$695.00
$1044.00
Save $349.00 (33%)1044.00
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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

750ml Bottle | In stock, 9 available
$44.88
$65.00
Save $20.12 (31%)65.00
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96+ points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): The 2013 Dönnhoff Brücke Spätlese is pure magic in the making. The brilliantly complex nose soars from the glass in a blaze of pears, white cherries, pink grapefruit, clementines, stunningly complex minerality, perhaps a whisper of petrol, bee pollen… ...

JG 96
WA 93
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Donnhoff Riesling Spatlese Oberhauser Brucke 2013  (#332311)

Riesling from Nahe, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available

91 points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): ...pure and classy nose of apple, lime, a touch of cress, a beautiful base of slate and a gentle topnote of petrol. On the palate the wine is fullish, pure and vibrant, with lovely nascent complexity, bright, zesty acids and outstanding focus and grip on… ...

JG 91
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Muller/Egon Riesling QbA Scharzhof 2015  (#327163)

Riesling from Mosel, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available

93 points Wine Spectator: This textbook Mosel kabinett shows beautiful harmony and finesse, with very pure floral, passion fruit and slate notes that unfold expressively midpalate, all backed by vibrant and well-integrated acidity, echoing on the finish. Drink now through 2026. 500 cases made. (5/31… ...

WS 93
V 93
WA 91
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Prum/JJ Riesling Kabinett Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2016  (#330460)

Riesling from Mosel, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$31.95
$45.00
Save $13.05 (29%)45.00
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95 points Joel B. Payne (Vinous): Rich golden-yellow. Enticing aromas of pineapple, acacia honey and lime waft over a bed of brown spice botrytis. The sweet peach preserve fruit and salty minerality are very well balanced: more elegant than rich and tantalizingly light on the palate. Both delicate… ...

V 95
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Keller Riesling Westhofen Brunnenhauschen BA Abtserde E 2013  (#324422)

Riesling from Rheinhessen, Germany

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 11 available
$249.88
$396.00
Save $146.12 (37%)396.00
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94 points and '100 Most Exciting Wines of 2017 (#19),' Decanter: A harmonious and delightful Riesling with a fruit salad of peach and apricot with lemony intensity. It is slightly sappy with a good dose of minerality and pristine, zesty acidity. A pretty and elegant example. Drink: 2018-2026.… ...

DE 94
JS 94
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Donnhoff Riesling Roxheimer Hollenpfad Trocken 2016  (#330119)

Riesling from Nahe, Germany

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available

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, 11 available
WE 94
JS 93
WA 92
$36.95
$56.00
Save $19.05 (34%)56.00
Save $19.05 (34%)

94+ points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): ...wafting from the glass in a deep, complex and very classy aromatic mix of apple, grapefruit, iris blossoms, wild yeasts, a beautiful base of slate, incipient notes of petrol and citrus peel. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and very suave… ...

JG 94
WA 94
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Donnhoff Riesling Norheimer Dellchen Grosses Gewachs 2013  (#332310)

Riesling from Nahe, Germany

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

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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