Summertime calls for refreshing white wine. There are plenty of candidates to choose from: Albariño, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino — the list goes on. All are worthy to grace our table, but if I had to confine myself to just one variety, I’d give the nod to Riesling. Though Riesling is successfully grown around the world (most notably in Australia) the variety is native to Germany, where it finds its most nuanced expression.

 

In any serious discussion Riesling has to be considered a leading contender for the title of World’s Best White Wine. Nonetheless, it has always been a hard sell, because it can successfully span the gamut from lightly sweet aperitif, to dry table wine, to sweet dessert wine. You can match the wine to meet your needs, but Riesling’s very versatility and breadth of style leaves most consumers scratching their heads. What exactly are you going to find in the bottle? It helps to know a bit about the specific wine before putting your money on the counter.

 

With that in mind, I recently tasted more than fifty German Rieslings presented by Northwest Wines Ltd. The following eleven stood out from the rest:

 

 

RHEINHESSEN

Georg Albrecht Schneider

The wines of Georg Albrecht Schneider

Georg Albrecht Schneider 2013 Niersteiner Hipping Riesling Spätlese:

Vibrant, slightly sweet, with juicy apple and honey overtones and a crisp finish. $18.00. 91 points

 

NAHE

Paul Anhauser wines

Paul Anhauser wines

 

Paul Anheuser 2012 Schlossböckelheimer Konigfels Riesling Kabinett:

This is a low alcohol wine with just 9.6% alcohol. It displays a sweet/sour tension on the palate with a slight balancing bitterness, with slate and orange pith overtones, and a long, interesting finish. $15.50. 90 points

 

Paul Anheuser 2002 Schlossböckelheimer Konigfels Riesling Kabinett:

The same vineyard as above, but ten years older and still available in very limited supply. The 2002 is sweeter, and fuller bodied, with orange pith overtones. $13.00 90 points

 

Paul Anheuser 1983 Kreuznacher Krötenpful Riesling Eiswein:

Wow! If you have an appreciation for rare dessert wines, this is a real treasure. Thirty-two years old. Copper colored with a nose of persimmons and honey. Super sweet on the palate, yet bright, lively and fresh, with golden raisin overtones. $90.00/half bottle. 96 points

 

 

MOSEL-SAAR-RUWVER

 

Karp Schreiber

Karp Schreiber wines

Karp-Schreiber 2013 Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett:

Off dry, honey crisp apples with a touch of orange pith, juicy and balanced on the mid-palate, followed by a floral finish. Terrific bargain. $16.50. 90 points

 

Karp-Schreiber 2011 Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese:

Complex nose of sisal rope, honey and vanilla. Sweet on the mid-palate, crisp and racy with honey and Anjou pear flavors. Long, mouthwatering finish. $26.00. 94 points

 

Von Kesselstatt

Von Kesselstatt Rieslings

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt 2013 Scharzhofberger Riesling Spätlese, VDP Grosse Lage:

Sweet and mouthwatering, medium-light body, with flavors reminiscent of ripe honey crisp apples, honey and ginger. Extraordinarily long finish. $38.00. 93 points

 

Christoph von Nell 2013 Kaseler Kehrnagel Riesling:Cristoph von Nell Riesling

Peppery apple-citrus. Sweet but balanced by crisp acidity and a slight bitter note in the wet-leaf finish. $17.00. 90 points

 

Christoph von Nell 1994 Dominikanerberg Riesling Auslese:

Copper-straw color, silky and sweet, but perfectly balanced, with butter, pear and Bosc pear flavors and a mouthwatering, extra long finish. $25.65. 92 points

 

Dr. Fischer 2012 Ockfener Bockstein Riesling:

Cilantro – celery nose, medium body, just off-dry, vibrant acidity and a long, slightly bitter finish. Very good value. $14.50. 89-90 points

 

The Rieslings of Thanisch and Dr. Fischer

Dr. Thanisch 2013 Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett:

Vibrant acidity and slight spritz balance the palate of this sweet (6.5% residual sugar) wine that serves up flavors ripe white peach with a citrus edge, and a honeyed finish. $22.00. 91 points

 

 

 

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