Is dry German riesling an "invasive species"? Terry Thiese vs. Stuart Pigott

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Is dry German riesling an "invasive species"? Terry Thiese vs. Stuart Pigott

Post #1  Postby BTraub » September 13th 2013, 2:30pm

For German wine lovers, there's an interesting dust-up between two of the leading advocates for German wine, Terry Thiese and Stuart Pigott, ostensibly over Terry's characterization of the dry-style of German Riesling as an "invasive species", to which Stuart took umbrage on his blog. The issue goes much deeper than the verbiage, of course, and it is interesting to follow the thinking on both sides, a debate in which David Schildknecht also participates. It's unfolding on Lars Carlberg's site (which I highly recommend for German wine-o-philes), and can be found here (I believe Lars has put this in front of his paywall):

http://www.larscarlberg.com/too-much-heat-not-enough-light-the-pigott-fracas/
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Post #2  Postby Roberto Rogness » September 13th 2013, 2:41pm

Wow...deep stuff there, I may need to re read it a few times. Thanks for posting!
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Post #3  Postby Matcohen » September 13th 2013, 2:44pm

An intelligent PR person would have advised Mr. Thiese to respond as follows:
"Regarding the "invasive species" phrase, my apologies, I misspoke."
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Post #4  Postby Matcohen » September 13th 2013, 2:45pm

Roberto Rogness wrote:Wow...deep stuff there, I may need to re read it a few times. Thanks for posting!

Roberto - please let me know if you can get through it just the once. If you can, my congratulations to you on your near super human powers of concentration.
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Post #5  Postby Roberto Rogness » September 13th 2013, 2:46pm

Seems pretty straightforward, just lots of info and points of view. But then I've been reading Terry and Randall Graham for decades...
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Post #6  Postby Matcohen » September 13th 2013, 3:06pm

Oof - Terry's comments are a primer on why you shouldn't use an abundance of SAT words to try and look smart if you don't understand their usage. Across the world, English teachers are cringing.
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Post #7  Postby John Morris » September 13th 2013, 3:19pm

Matcohen wrote:Across the world, English teachers are cringing.


Not to mention his producers.
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Post #8  Postby Matcohen » September 13th 2013, 3:50pm

“the omnipresence of dry wines within Germany is a dubious example of this country’s temptation to do things in large, implacable blocks”.
Terry Thiese
"I do not, by the way, accept the charge that I have impugned the “German national character.”
Terry Thiese

I'd say the average German would consider it a compliment that they all do things in a giant unthinking herd. How could Terry's statement possibly be offensive to them?
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Post #9  Postby D@vid Bu3ker » September 13th 2013, 4:01pm

Overall people get too freaked out over a couple of words. If one looks for the opportunity and makes the effort to assume the worst it is easy to get offended each and every day. To those who choose to live life that was I am truly sorry for your lot. Terry Theise could say much worse things about dry Riesling, and it would not change the course of the dominant dry wine culture. As usual, David Schildknecht uses many words to ultimately say the most sensible things. It just takes time to absorb the message.
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Post #10  Postby Matcohen » September 13th 2013, 4:17pm

"Overall people get too freaked out over a couple of words."

David - I generally agree with you for average run of the mill people.

If you are a public figure, your words will be evaluated carefully. Especially if, rightly or wrongly, you are considered an authority on a subject. This is the second silly thing that Mr. Thiese has said in a few weeks (or series of silly things). At some point, maybe he should be a tad more careful with what he says particularly when he is speaking to small publications like the New York Times.

I would point out that authorities like Lars Carlberg, Stuart Pigott and David Schildknecht manage to say quite a bit without making these missteps. For some reason we never see embarrassing quotes like this from Rudi Wiest. Given the multiple blog posts on Pigott's blog, Thiese's words will be read by most winemakers in Germany. I don't think that is a good thing for him.
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Post #11  Postby D@vid Bu3ker » September 13th 2013, 4:23pm

The internet has made the term "public figure" much too broad. We're all public figures now because we have the means to put ourselves out there. In this day and age a wine column in even the NYT is an electronic fart in a wind storm.

You are once again looking to fan the flames of outrage, making the concept of outrage weak by over use. I have little doubt that you are taking this much more seriously than any German producer will.
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Post #12  Postby Matcohen » September 13th 2013, 4:56pm

Oh I doubt anyone will find this that outrageous. I certainly don't. It's a tempest in a rather small teapot. Maybe a tempest in an espresso cup.

I find Pigott and Thiese firing broadsides at each other (with Schildknecht and Carlberg getting in the mix) pretty darned funny. I also find Mr. Thiese's propensity for these gaffes rather amusing. I actually think that his errant swipes at Germans are mostly unintentional.

Fwiw, I drink my fair share of Willi Schaefer and Donnhoff and love Jakob Schneider's wines along with Nikolaihof and nothing Mr. Thiese says will change that.
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Post #13  Postby James Wright » September 13th 2013, 6:27pm

see next post—what Mr Cohen wrote really needed to be preserved for posterity, and I had initially failed to quote him in my response.
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Post #14  Postby James Wright » September 13th 2013, 6:39pm

Matcohen wrote:Oh I doubt anyone will find this that outrageous. I certainly don't. It's a tempest in a rather small teapot. Maybe a tempest in an espresso cup.

I find Pigott and Thiese firing broadsides at each other (with Schildknecht and Carlberg getting in the mix) pretty darned funny. I also find Mr. Thiese's propensity for these gaffes rather amusing. I actually think that his errant swipes at Germans are mostly unintentional.

Fwiw, I drink my fair share of Willi Schaefer and Donnhoff and love Jakob Schneider's wines along with Nikolaihof and nothing Mr. Thiese says will change that.



but as much as I admire the Nikolaihof, I must regrettably inform the previous poster that their estate is actually situated in Austria http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austria, not Germany, and eben deswegen probably not really relevant to this discussitude...

and Mr Theise imports them, last I checked...
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Post #15  Postby Keith Levenberg » September 13th 2013, 7:20pm

James Wright wrote:
Matcohen wrote:Oh I doubt anyone will find this that outrageous. I certainly don't. It's a tempest in a rather small teapot. Maybe a tempest in an espresso cup.

I find Pigott and Thiese firing broadsides at each other (with Schildknecht and Carlberg getting in the mix) pretty darned funny. I also find Mr. Thiese's propensity for these gaffes rather amusing. I actually think that his errant swipes at Germans are mostly unintentional.

Fwiw, I drink my fair share of Willi Schaefer and Donnhoff and love Jakob Schneider's wines along with Nikolaihof and nothing Mr. Thiese says will change that.



but as much as I admire the Nikolaihof, I must regrettably inform the previous poster that their estate is actually situated in Austria http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austria, not Germany, and eben deswegen probably not really relevant to this discussitude...

and Mr Theise imports them, last I checked...

I think it's pretty clear that Matt is aware of all that and was simply pointing out that he enjoys many of the wines Terry brings in despite their disagreements.
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Post #16  Postby jcoley3 » September 13th 2013, 7:43pm

Keith Levenberg wrote:
James Wright wrote:
Matcohen wrote:Oh I doubt anyone will find this that outrageous. I certainly don't. It's a tempest in a rather small teapot. Maybe a tempest in an espresso cup.

I find Pigott and Thiese firing broadsides at each other (with Schildknecht and Carlberg getting in the mix) pretty darned funny. I also find Mr. Thiese's propensity for these gaffes rather amusing. I actually think that his errant swipes at Germans are mostly unintentional.

Fwiw, I drink my fair share of Willi Schaefer and Donnhoff and love Jakob Schneider's wines along with Nikolaihof and nothing Mr. Thiese says will change that.



but as much as I admire the Nikolaihof, I must regrettably inform the previous poster that their estate is actually situated in Austria http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austria, not Germany, and eben deswegen probably not really relevant to this discussitude...

and Mr Theise imports them, last I checked...

I think it's pretty clear that Matt is aware of all that and was simply pointing out that he enjoys many of the wines Terry brings in despite their disagreements.


Ooh. Keith spelled Mat's name wrong. He's a dumb head!

Seriously, even if Mat meant something else, and I read his post exactly as Keith did, the thing best preserved by that quote is a bit of pedantic pettiness.
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Post #17  Postby Matcohen » September 13th 2013, 8:45pm

James Wright wrote:
Matcohen wrote:Oh I doubt anyone will find this that outrageous. I certainly don't. It's a tempest in a rather small teapot. Maybe a tempest in an espresso cup.

I find Pigott and Thiese firing broadsides at each other (with Schildknecht and Carlberg getting in the mix) pretty darned funny. I also find Mr. Thiese's propensity for these gaffes rather amusing. I actually think that his errant swipes at Germans are mostly unintentional.

Fwiw, I drink my fair share of Willi Schaefer and Donnhoff and love Jakob Schneider's wines along with Nikolaihof and nothing Mr. Thiese says will change that.



but as much as I admire the Nikolaihof, I must regrettably inform the previous poster that their estate is actually situated in Austria http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austria, not Germany, and eben deswegen probably not really relevant to this discussitude...

and Mr Theise imports them, last I checked...


Yes James - I was talking about Mr. Thiese's portfolio. ALL the wines are from his portfolio.
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Post #18  Postby Jim Brennan » September 14th 2013, 12:16pm

Mat:

Since Stuart's input is limited, I'd love to hear more about why you disagree with David and Terry. The insult song and dance seems mostly like an attempt to distract from what they say.

And I will also say up front that the whole "the market has spoken" approach to be rather self-serving and often disingenuous in the same way that Parker used that line as a validation of his support for high octane wines.
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Post #19  Postby Alan Rath » September 14th 2013, 1:44pm

Agree in large part a tempest in a teapot. And I dearly wish Terry would bring in a few more Trocken wines, other than the GG bottlings. Though counting through his catalog, there are about 30 different Trocken wines on the list, maybe 10% of the total? The one I really miss is Donnhoff's Felsenberg Trocken, which just isn't available anywhere in the U.S. recently. What obviously matters is what sells here in the U.S., and Terry clearly knows that better than any of us writing here.
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Post #20  Postby Matcohen » September 14th 2013, 3:08pm

Jim Brennan wrote:Mat:
Since Stuart's input is limited, I'd love to hear more about why you disagree with David and Terry. The insult song and dance seems mostly like an attempt to distract from what they say.
And I will also say up front that the whole "the market has spoken" approach to be rather self-serving and often disingenuous in the same way that Parker used that line as a validation of his support for high octane wines.


I didn't and don't disagree with the meat of their argument. The meat of their argument is that Riesling can be great across the range of the RS scale (I'd even add sparkling if you want to talk about that category). It's somewhat sad that sales of non-dry German wines are collapsing in Germany as an interesting and wonderful category of wines will ultimately lose some diversity.

That is the glass is half full view. I would add that we are getting so many new incredible German dry Rieslings that I think that on balance we are way better off. Over 95% of the wine I drink is dry. Most people that I taste with enjoy the occasional sweet wine but also drink mostly dry wine. I've noted here and elsewhere that I think that most foods that I eat pair better with dry or off dry wines. Dry German Riesling is still an incredible bargain even at traditional retail.

I also love the off dry category (Steinmetz, Immich, Lauer, Schaefer Frohlich, etc.). I don't have a viewpoint as to how these off dry wines will fare market-wise in the US.

I would also point out that if we go from 10 Tier 1 and 50 Tier 2 German sweet wine producers to 10 and 20 it won't really be a disaster for everyone other than a small cadre of sweet Riesling lovers. JJ Prum, Willi, Donnhoff, Schloss Lieser, etc. are going to continue to make sweet wines.

What I disagree with and what Stuart disagrees with is the tone of Terry's comments.
1) Calling dry wine an "invasive species."
2) The statement that “the omnipresence of dry wines within Germany is a dubious example of this country’s temptation to do things in large, implacable blocks.”

I would also point out that I really don't argue with people about the category of wine that they drink. If you want fruity red wines, there are very well made fruity wines in the Rhone and elsewhere. If you want minerally austere white wines there are plenty of those. The same goes for dry and sweet white wines. I would argue that 16% pinot noir is not a wine I would recommend to someone wanting a dry red wine. There is a difference between selecting a category and drinking poorly made wines in that category.

A final point is that one must recall the interest of the winemakers. Most winemakers are not wealthy people living in castles. They live harvest to harvest and struggle to make ends meet. We can all sit here and debate how it would be great if more sweet German wine were drunk in the US. That's great. But sweet/dessert wine is a miniscule portion of the US wine market (I saw 2% recently). These growers need to sell wine to pay their bills. It's a lot harder to grow the sweet wine category than it is to take market share from dry wines, which make up the majority of the consumption of wine in the US.

My humble opinion is that German wine importers (and their winemaker partners) are better served using their efforts to increase the sale of dry German wines rather than endlessly bemoaning stagnant sales of sweet wines.
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Post #21  Postby Matcohen » September 14th 2013, 3:17pm

Alan Rath wrote:Agree in large part a tempest in a teapot. And I dearly wish Terry would bring in a few more Trocken wines, other than the GG bottlings. Though counting through his catalog, there are about 30 different Trocken wines on the list, maybe 10% of the total? The one I really miss is Donnhoff's Felsenberg Trocken, which just isn't available anywhere in the U.S. recently. What obviously matters is what sells here in the U.S., and Terry clearly knows that better than any of us writing here.


I will tell you from empirical data that you can sell a lot of German dry wine right here in America. Anecdotally, I have seen an increasing number of bottlings of dry German wines (mostly non Terry Thiese) at the stores where I shop (Chambers, Crush, etc.) over the past decade or so.

Of course, that does not mean that Terry Thiese should focus on that as a part of his business model any more than it means that he should enter the market for wines from the Canary Islands. No business can be all things to all people and if Mr. Thiese chooses to focus on sweet wines in his German portfolio than that is his decision. Rudi Wiest, Louis Dressner and others have excellent portfolios of German dry wines so American consumers (who are willing to ship wines) will not go thirsty.

Rudi Wiest has invested tons of money trying to expand the market for German Dry wines in the US with his German Dry Wine Tours and aggressive sales efforts. My guess is that he has the highest market share of these wines as a result. I would assume that Mr. Thiese has been very successful with Grower Champagne. Businesses have to focus to succeed.
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Post #22  Postby Matthew Brown » September 14th 2013, 3:26pm

I recall Terry has/had been using the term 'raped into dryness' in his catalog for what seems like a decade now. Changing the phrase to 'invasive species' is probably more sensitive to most readers.
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Post #23  Postby D@vid Bu3ker » September 14th 2013, 5:37pm

Mat,

Take a look at Terry's catalog in depth. He offers a large number of dry wines. If they are not on shelves it is because the shops are not ordering them, not because they were not offered.
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Post #24  Postby Matthew Brown » September 14th 2013, 5:53pm

I've been a fan of reading Terry's yearly volumes for over a decade now. He pulls the trigger on the dry Rieslings when he really likes them. I think what gets wedged in his craw is when a winery feels forced to make something Trocken to bend to convention, when even a Halbtrocken would have been more flavorful. I brought it up more to note that it wasn't a recent stance Terry chose to adopt, but an opinion he has been behind for many years now.

BTW: I'm the Matt with 2 t's. Or Matty in some circles. We're hard to keep straight.

EDIT: Good chance you weren't referring to me anyway. My bad.
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Post #25  Postby Jay Miller » September 14th 2013, 5:54pm

Taking offense at what Terry wrote seems a bit ridiculously oversensitive.
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Post #26  Postby Matcohen » September 14th 2013, 6:54pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Mat,

Take a look at Terry's catalog in depth. He offers a large number of dry wines. If they are not on shelves it is because the shops are not ordering them, not because they were not offered.


I'm very familiar with his catalog. His best dry producer (Wagner Stempel) left him because the dry wines, which are great, weren't selling.

There is more to selling a product than putting it in a catalog. Rudi spends more time and effort selling dry wines and it shows.

That's fine, Terry sells a ton of other things (e.g. champagne) quite well.
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Post #27  Postby D@vid Bu3ker » September 14th 2013, 7:14pm

Hmph...never liked the Wagner Stempel wines.

As for the Wiest portfolio of dry wines-$$$$$$.
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Post #28  Postby Alan Rath » September 14th 2013, 8:21pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Hmph...never liked the Wagner Stempel wines.

No accounting for taste, but I have liked the several bottles of Porphyr I've drunk over the years, particularly a bunch of 2004 I got at closeout pricing :)
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Post #29  Postby jcoley3 » September 14th 2013, 9:10pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Hmph...never liked the Wagner Stempel wines.

As for the Wiest portfolio of dry wines-$$$$$$.


Hmm. The 08 and 09 Wagner-Stempel dry wines were what really changed my mind about the potential of dry German wines. I still love German wines with RS, but I no longer subscribe to the notion that one should assume the dry wines are somehow guilty before proven innocent.

However, I really have to disagree with Mat Cohen's statement above that we would somehow be better off with fewer 2nd tier wineries producing Kabineett or Spatlese with RS. That frankly seems short-sighted to me.

While the initial Rudi dry offerings were undoubtedly expensive, there are now more affordable wines.
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Post #30  Postby Matcohen » September 15th 2013, 1:37am

jcoley3 wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:Hmph...never liked the Wagner Stempel wines.
However, I really have to disagree with Mat Cohen's statement above that we would somehow be better off with fewer 2nd tier wineries producing Kabineett or Spatlese with RS. That frankly seems short-sighted to me.


I said that it would not be that great a loss to lose half or so of the 50 or so 2nd tier producers, not that we would be better off. Losing choice is never a good thing for a consumer.
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Post #31  Postby Matcohen » September 15th 2013, 1:39am

Alan Rath wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:Hmph...never liked the Wagner Stempel wines.

No accounting for taste, but I have liked the several bottles of Porphyr I've drunk over the years, particularly a bunch of 2004 I got at closeout pricing :)


The 04 was insane. My group had a bunch of it and everyone loved it.
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Post #32  Postby D@vid Bu3ker » September 15th 2013, 6:13am

I'm a regular buyer and fan of dry German wines, and in no way view them as guilty before tasting. I actually relish the opportunity to taste dry German wines, but have a hard time paying for some of the reputed top bottlings (e.g. Rebholz, Keller, Schafer-Frohlich...) when I can get dry Riesling from Alzinger, Trimbach (CFE), Schloss Gobelsburg, etc that is at the same level for much less money. Even Nikolaihof's Steiner Hund is cheaper than many of the touted GGs.

As for losing the 2nd tier - I would challenge anyone to name the 50 producers that would not be missed. I have no idea where Mat is going, and so will not hazard a guess, but the "2nd tier" makes some fabulous wines. Heck, nased on some comments above, it might very well be that Mat considers Selbach-Oster to be 2nd tier. I cannot imagine a world without Selbach-Oster wines.
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Post #33  Postby Robert Panzer » September 15th 2013, 8:53am

Fwiw, I sell Rudi GGs, $29-69.
For their quality on the world stage, reasonable tariffs IMHO.
Don't you regularly buy Donnhoff GGs, David? About as pricey as it gets....
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Post #34  Postby James Wright » September 15th 2013, 9:39am

well, I have known Terry for a long time...

he has a great gift for the language.

it has perhaps on occasion run away with him just a little; I remember him once trying to tell me that Alan Holdsworth was the greatest improvising musician alive—at a juncture when not only Sonny Rollins but also Max Roach was still on the planet...

I would suggest that for an importer who has contributed in such an extraordinary way to the contemporary scene in the USA (in three different facets, even) there should be a certain level of tolerance extended—as long as his professed attitudes do not lean toward racism and his behaviour remains free of child-abuse.

whereas Terry is in the business of selling, David—whom I have known even longer and know far better—has a different sort of gift for the language, and a propensity to utilise it as telescope/microscope/engine, but in way that seeks a more abstract sort of clarity than Terry's English does, even as it seeks to assert its own ideas and prevail in arguments.

Stuart I have met a couple times, but not for a while; I like the way he writes—seems currently to be adjusting his style a bit to meet the currents of social media—but he has devoted himself to the subject in a way that few have, and has been in more constant contact with the culture in question and its evolution than the other partners to the discussion.

on occasions when I've been a retail buyer, Terry was ever willing to bring in as many of the drier styles as I wanted to take a reasonable position on—even when that meant, like with Strub or Neckerauer once upon a time—a separate bottling before the Süßreserve went in...

these questions of winegrowing/winemaking will always and unfailingly be addressed within the parameters of the parent-culture—and these Germans, like us in the US, do not lack the usual admixture of implacable blockheads...
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Post #35  Postby D@vid Bu3ker » September 15th 2013, 10:20am

Robert-I can regularly get the Donnhoff GGs for a similar price to Alzinger and Trimbach CFE.
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Post #36  Postby Matcohen » September 15th 2013, 11:01am

David M. Bueker wrote:As for losing the 2nd tier - I would challenge anyone to name the 50 producers that would not be missed. I have no idea where Mat is going, and so will not hazard a guess, but the "2nd tier" makes some fabulous wines. Heck, nased on some comments above, it might very well be that Mat considers Selbach-Oster to be 2nd tier. I cannot imagine a world without Selbach-Oster wines.


"it won't really be a disaster for everyone other than a small cadre of sweet Riesling lovers."

David - I consider you the leader of the cadre :-)

And I'd agree that the second tier folk make some fabulous wines. But unless you are drinking over 70 bottles a year of sweet German wine, you'll have quite a selection with 10 Tier 1 and 20 Tier 2 in any given year. As we all know many producers makes multiple wines in each pradikat. There are a ton of wines to drink. Not that many people will really notice if the Tier 2 Producer numbers drop in aggregate.
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Post #37  Postby Matcohen » September 15th 2013, 11:12am

David M. Bueker wrote:I'm a regular buyer and fan of dry German wines, and in no way view them as guilty before tasting. I actually relish the opportunity to taste dry German wines, but have a hard time paying for some of the reputed top bottlings (e.g. Rebholz, Keller, Schafer-Frohlich...) when I can get dry Riesling from Alzinger, Trimbach (CFE), Schloss Gobelsburg, etc that is at the same level for much less money. Even Nikolaihof's Steiner Hund is cheaper than many of the touted GGs.


We've done blind tastings of Dry German vs Austrian. Steiner Hund is profoundly gorgeous. Some of Keller's and Schafer-Frohlich's offerings I think have more force in the palate. Bockenauer Felseneck is simply like drinking an unyielding wall of flavor. If you haven't had it, spend the rent money and try it. G-Max is the same (the one vintage I had - not suggesting you drop $350 to try that bottling).

As for the prices, I think that the wines are worth it, which isn't to say that I would rather pay less for top Tier GG's. The wines are actually quite affordable in Germany. If you don't have a religious devotion to the 3 tier system and are willing to buy from a gray marketer or direct retailer/importer, the prices are way lower (I've seen under $50 for a top tier GG).
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Post #38  Postby D@vid Bu3ker » September 15th 2013, 11:55am

I've been tasting and drinking the Schafer-Frohlich dry wines since the 2002 vintage. You know, those spatlese trocken things that were so confusing to the marketplace, and even reasonably priced?

Wall of flavor? Force in the palate? If that is what you prize then we have zero common ground for discussion. Nuance, clarity and elegance are the virtues I seek in dry Riesling. Unyielding is frankly a distasteful idea, and having drunk the Felseneck I am not at all sure what it was you drank.
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Post #39  Postby Matcohen » September 15th 2013, 11:58am

David M. Bueker wrote:I've been tasting and drinking the Schafer-Frohlich dry wines since the 2002 vintage. You know, those spatlese trocken things that were so confusing to the marketplace, and even reasonably priced?

Wall of flavor? Force in the palate? If that is what you prize then we have zero common ground for discussion. Nuance, clarity and elegance are the virtues I seek in dry Riesling. Unyielding is frankly a distasteful idea, and having drunk the Felseneck I am not at all sure what it was you drank.


Schafer-Frohlich has a range of GGs. The Felseneck is the most powerful imho. Some years are, of course, more powerful than others and the wines do close so depending on when you drink them, they are more or less powerful .
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Post #40  Postby D@vid Bu3ker » September 15th 2013, 12:26pm

Thanks again for more info I already knew.
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Post #41  Postby Scott Silton » September 15th 2013, 1:04pm

Somebody needs a time out. [cheers.gif]

The Donnhoff Spatlese (07 NH) we had with dinner last night was simultaneously powerful and sublime, super complex and delicious, surprisingly light but not as elegant as it could be. Maybe I'll take to the dry ones down the road, but for now, almost my ideal Riesling. I regret the lack of elegant/racy Kabinett in the market but I don't know if that's because dry wine production crowded it out, or what.
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Post #42  Postby D@vid Bu3ker » September 15th 2013, 1:37pm

I'm going to open a sweet kabinett from a second tier producer now.
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Post #43  Postby Jim Brennan » September 15th 2013, 3:23pm

Mat:

I appreciate you summarizing your view.

I think the umbrage you take with Thiese's comments is overwrought, and really an opportunity to make some noise (which is fine, as that's also what Terry is doing in his own way). However, crocodile tears aside, it seems to me what you're really criticizing him for is that he doesn't do more to promote dry wines in the US.

Rather than bemoaning his lack of promotion for dry wines in the US (which indirectly means that you have to work harder to promote the many dry wines Fass Selections brings in), I'd suggest that this is an opportunity for you and Lyle to make your names in this space.

Suggesting that Terry abandon a core premise that he's held for years, which is that there is beauty in the entire range of German wines (and especially including those delicate wines with between 10 and 40gm of RS), seems disingenuous particularly when you indicate:

* That 95% of the wines you drink are dry
* That dozens of "2nd Tier" wineries that make styles with notable RS could simply disappear without any real loss
* You're part of an import business trying to build a market for dryer styled wines

My suggestion: Tell us why Dry Wines are beautiful, not why there are too many wines with rs, or why Terry is wrong. Diversity of wine styles is a good thing, and arguments about the LACK of diversity in Parker's palate led (in part) to Lyle getting tossed from the Parker forum (my point being that I think of Lyle as an advocate for diversity, not the opposite). Don't let the challenge of building a successful business lead you and Lyle to argue that diversity of wine styles is a bad thing. Make the case instead for a more diverse US market (which, of course, means that more diversity in Germany is arguably also a good thing).
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Post #44  Postby Charles Weiss » September 15th 2013, 4:20pm

[quote="Jim Brennan"]

Very well stated. Had been itching to respond but couldn't think of a way that wasn't snarky.
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Post #45  Postby Matcohen » September 15th 2013, 4:39pm

Jim Brennan wrote:Mat:
I think the umbrage you take with Thiese's comments is overwrought, and really an opportunity to make some noise (which is fine, as that's also what Terry is doing in his own way). However, crocodile tears aside, it seems to me what you're really criticizing him for is that he doesn't do more to promote dry wines in the US.


Look I didn't start this thread - were this an isolated incident, I wouldn't have commented. I think his comments are mildly offensive and silly, that's it.

As I've noted twice in this thread, I don't really care what Mr. Thiese chooses to promote. It's his business and my guess is that he sells so much grower champagne that none of this matters from a TT business standpoint.
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Post #46  Postby Matcohen » September 15th 2013, 4:41pm

Jim Brennan wrote:Mat:
Suggesting that Terry abandon a core premise that he's held for years, which is that there is beauty in the entire range of German wines (and especially including those delicate wines with between 10 and 40gm of RS), seems disingenuous:


I didn't suggest that he abandon it. In fact, I explicitly said that I AGREED with the premise earlier in the thread (and even added sparkling Riesling to the mix).
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Post #47  Postby Matcohen » September 15th 2013, 4:42pm

Post #20 Postby Matcohen » Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:08 pm

I didn't and don't disagree with the meat of their argument. The meat of their argument is that Riesling can be great across the range of the RS scale (I'd even add sparkling if you want to talk about that category). It's somewhat sad that sales of non-dry German wines are collapsing in Germany as an interesting and wonderful category of wines will ultimately lose some diversity.
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Post #48  Postby Matcohen » September 15th 2013, 4:52pm

"* You're part of an import business trying to build a market for dryer styled wines"

Lyle generally tries to sell excellent wines at good prices in most categories. He won't sell wines in categories he really doesn't like (e.g. Amarone).

Lyle likes pretty much every category of Riesling (other than high oak wines, if that is a category). He has certainly offered sweeter Rieslings including aged ones. If people buy more sweet Riesling, he'll increase the number that he offers. If they don't want dry Riesling, he'll cut back on those offers.

Again, it's my personal observation that, having nothing to do with me or Lyle, people drink more dry wines. Industry statistics support this. I personally believe that dry German Rieslings are world class and excellent values. Having said that, if people prefer Chablis, I'm not going to try and force Grosses Gewachs down anyone's throat.
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Post #49  Postby Matcohen » September 15th 2013, 4:57pm

Scott Silton wrote:Somebody needs a time out. [cheers.gif]

The Donnhoff Spatlese (07 NH) we had with dinner last night was simultaneously powerful and sublime, super complex and delicious, surprisingly light but not as elegant as it could be. Maybe I'll take to the dry ones down the road, but for now, almost my ideal Riesling. I regret the lack of elegant/racy Kabinett in the market but I don't know if that's because dry wine production crowded it out, or what.


With warmer temperatures, many kabinett have become sweeter. Have you tried Weiser Kunstler? I'm not sure I would call it racy but I would go with elegant (Lyle doesn't sell it at FS). Steinmetz feinberb is on the racy side as well (Lyle doesn't sell it at FS).
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Post #50  Postby D@vid Bu3ker » September 15th 2013, 4:59pm

He repeats himself when under stress...
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