The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

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MiranK
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The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#1 Post by MiranK » June 13th, 2020, 7:33 am

Abstract and Summary
There is so much PASSION for Riesling all over the world, yet professional reviews and reporting on this marvellous grape seem to be lacking in attention compared to many other grapes and regions. To the point, I would argue, where most reporting (and hence knowledge and impressions) on Riesling actually comes from passionate consumers, more so than from professional wine publications. Realising I could play a small part to spread the passion for Riesling, I decided to give it a go by starting a little hobby project. By sharing thoughts and impressions on Riesling, not as a competition with the professionals, but as a complement to already established sources of information. The objective being to increase awareness and information about this wonderful grape and the wines derived from it. Hence, The Riesling Report.

Introduction
Finding myself between jobs, got me thinking. About Riesling. (what else? [shrug.gif] ) In many different aspects. How this wonderful grape seems to unite so many people around the world, in our passion for all things Riesling. How the established channels of information and knowledge about Riesling wines look like today. How current obstacles limit us to have an even more comprehensive discussion about Riesling worldwide. And it struck me, that I could actually play a small part in making the conversation about Riesling even more lively. The more, the merrier, as they say. It can't hurt to add an additional source of impressions from the Riesling World. And I'm not talking about the occasional tasting note posted here and in other wine forums, but a more regular contribution to the passion, discussion and impressions related to Riesling.

Background

Does it work? I mean, is it even possible to start a publication or anything similar like it, in the form of a written text that will actually be read by those who share one's passion? Frankly, I honestly don't know. But at the end of the day, why not give it a try? Even at the risk of facing a massive failure in doing so and becoming the laughing stock among fellow wine lovers. Looking back, I find inspiration from people like Neal Martin, who started his Wine Journal and for a time, even had it included within The Wine Advocate. And of course, being a passionate Barolo nerd, I'm also inspired by how Antonio Galloni started his Piedmont Report while working full-time with something completely different and non-wine related. Maybe it was easier to do something like that before and perhaps it's a matter of having the backup of massive investors to pull something similar off today, but again, why not just give it a try? After all, I would only do it if I actually enjoy it myself and as for the result - even if only a handful of Riesling aficionados out there would find my contribution useful, it would be worth the time and effort.

Thoughts on current state of Riesling reviews
Being passionate about Riesling myself and an avid consumer, I've been contemplating from where I get my own information, except for the traditional way I've been adhering to for 20+ years by now. Meaning, gathering impressions and forming my own opinion by simply travelling to the wine regions in person, knocking on producers' doors and politely asking them if it would be possible to taste their wines. If I would sum up my sources of professional opinions on Riesling wines I drink on a regular basis, they form a wide palate. From David Schildknecht's excellent reviews here at Vinous (and back then at TWA), Stephen Reinhardt at The Wine Advocate, Mosel Fine Wines by my friends Jean and David, John Gilman's excellent View from the Cellar, occasionally whoever writes for the Wine Spectator, Stuart Pigott when he was writing for JamesSuckling.com, Julia Harding writing for JancisRobinson.com, and Terry Theise, whenever he published his German Catalogue for Skurnik. They are all very good sources of information for people passionate about Riesling, in particular German Riesling and in my opinion, every effort to spread the knowledge and passion about this lovely grape should be commended. I stress this fact because I don't wish that the announcement of my hobby project is seen as a negative complaint but rather be put into context that there is an opportunity to fill a perceived gap.

Because...I realise that they all seem to have various inherent flaws and drawbacks, to the point where I'm actually getting more up-to-date information on state of Riesling affairs from members on this wine forum - especially the great Riesling ambassador Robert Dentice to name but one source (but there are a lot of current info offered by other members as well), than necessarily from professional reviewers. Wine Spectator never seems to be out on tour, actually visiting winemakers and hence being completely disconnected from the land and the people making the wines; hence just waiting passively at their office to have producers sending them samples. The Jancis Robinson crew seem to form their opinions mostly from large importer tastings and wine fairs in London, as opposed to actually visiting the producers (with some exceptions). Jean and David ARE making the commendable effort to actually visit winemakers and are, to me, an excellent source for the limited (but important) region they cover. Stephan and Stuart are actually living in Germany and should be the ones with the best and easiest access to winemakers but my problem with them is that they seem to be handing out numerical scores as if it's a perpetual Christmas Day (only in my opinion, mind you!). And then we have the American posse, David, John and Terry, who all suffer from one common drawback. They all live across the big, blue pond, limiting their possibilities of visiting Europe on a regular basis. In fact, whenever they do drop us a visit here in the Old World, it's often in the form of a single road trip per year, where they try to squeeze in as many producers as they can in a limited amount of time. This results in various drawbacks, either that only a limited set of reviews are shared or in some cases, a prolonged time before their impressions are actually published. Again, don't get me wrong - even the fact that they are making the effort should be applauded and if anyone thinks it's a picnic in the park, I can tell you that it's real, hard work - having the privilege to follow David S a few days while he was working for TWA, I could witness the work put in with my own eyes. Starting early in the morning, finishing late in the evening and between that driving and tasting, tasting, tasting.

Niche differentiation

This mixture of my own sources of information, made me realise that despite the many big elephants out there writing about Riesling, there is still a gap in the market, a niche if you will, where a passionate Riesling aficionado like myself could make a contribution, however small and insignificant. Not as a competition with the existing Big Dragons, but as a very small but hopefully valuable complement. For anyone to read or ignore, at their own will - of course! Like the last sentence of Walt Whitman's poem "O me! O life!" as the answer to the question about the meaning of life and our existence: "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse". And as Mr Keating (Robin Williams) asks while looking at his students: "What will your verse be?", my answer is that no matter fail or success, my verse and small contribution will be...The Riesling Report. Focusing mainly on Riesling wines from Germany.

I'm still in the process of figuring out the exact details but so far some core ideas have taken form. To fill that gap where I would occupy a niche not yet taken by the existing sources of Riesling information, I will adhere to these principles:

Regular visits - instead of just doing one big road trip, I intend to travel to Germany on at least eight (8) separate occasions every year, to gather impressions on Riesling. This will allow me to often share impressions far earlier than most professional publications.

Only personal visits to wineries - The very core principle of my project is that I will share impressions only from personal visits to the wineries, sitting there with the winemaker in front of me and tasting wines while asking about the latest development at the estate. In addition, I will offer impressions from wine events such as Mainzer Weinbörse, Mythos Mosel, the VDP auctions, etc and clearly indicate whenever my impressions come from these type of events, given the limitations of actually tasting the wines properly at these kind of huge gatherings.

No samples accepted - If a wine is still in barrel and fermenting and the winemaker deems it too early to taste, I will not accept that any samples be sent later to complement the initial tasting. I might, however, occasionally revisit an estate to taste wines that are bottled later. But again, always on site, so no samples of any sort.

Is and isn't - What this little hobby project isn't, is an attempt to cover all estates from all regions and from every new vintage on a regular basis. I have neither the resources, nor the time to cover everything. What this project is, however, is a fun effort of adding but a tiny fraction of additional Riesling impressions, to complement all the other great sources of information already out there. I will simply report on the wineries I happen to visit, whenever I happen to make a trip. If I don't have time or don't have any money to make a trip - no report. It's as simple as that. In other words, I have no pressure on me to constantly deliver reports on a regular basis. I do it when I have time and because it's fun.

Photos and interviews - Photos. Lots of photos will accompany every report. And every now and then, a more in-depth (than is currently being offered by most publications) interview and report on the background of the estate as well as the current state of affairs, will be offered.

Taking requests - Every now and then I read comments from people who are asking about particular estates that might not be covered in the usual reports. I'm free to do whatever I want so if there are any requests out there to visit a particular producer, by all means, make a suggestions and given the opportunity I'll gravitate over there and check them out. For example, I found my way to Wasenhaus only because Robert Dentice was nagging about their delicious wines on his instagram. And I have personal requests to myself - I just decided with Erni Loosen to do an in-depth interview with him next month. Do you have any other suggestions? Let me know.

Technical details - The Riesling Report will be possible to download from the internet as a pdf file.

Subscription - There is no subscription or any way to register of any kind. I don't want your personal details, e-mails, etc and I will not be able to see how my impressions are being read or spread.

Price of admission - It's very easy. Since there is no subscription, subsequently there is no price of admission. I will pay for the homepage, internet traffic, lodging, rental cars and air fares from my own private pocket. If you feel sorry for me, don't. This is exactly what I have been doing for 20+ years, so nothing is new under the stars (save the additional cost of a homepage). I'll be doing exactly the same as always. The only difference with this tiny, insignificant hobby project is that I will be able to offer my impressions to others, instead of sitting on thousands of tasting notes, photos and hours of taped interviews all by myself.

I guess a typical question is what I will get out of this? While not giving it so much thought, my spontaneous answer is that life is too short not to indulge in a passion and see where the path takes you. For anyone who will think what I write is all crap, I hope people could please just move on and not invest too much time and effort on the negatives. After all, it's just fermented grape juice we are talking about here. And for those who appreciate whatever insignificant role I have played in spreading my passion for Riesling to you, please let me know. That alone would make the whole adventure worth it.

Thanks for listening. And stay tuned.
K e g l

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#2 Post by rob klafter » June 13th, 2020, 7:48 am

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”
― William Hutchison Murray
@grossesgewachs

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#3 Post by rob klafter » June 13th, 2020, 7:49 am

best wishes. i'm looking forward to this
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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#4 Post by Steve Costigan » June 13th, 2020, 8:16 am

Best of luck with the endeavor. It sounds great and I’m looking forward to hearing more. While my enthusiasm for most whites has waned, my interest in Riesling has only grown especially after reading Stuart Pigott’s book.

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#5 Post by Travis @llen » June 13th, 2020, 8:21 am

Very cool! I enjoyed meeting you many years ago at hospice du rhone, enjoyed your posts on the old Parker board, and look forward to reading your Riesling reports. I think you should include Austria as well though. Cheers!
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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#6 Post by R. Somerville » June 13th, 2020, 8:25 am

Well, that's providence - you'll be doing my dream vocation! Having spent most of my life in the fine wine world, I'd be more than happy to contribute the odd random thought/tasting note/idea if you would be prepared to consider my humble contribution. A lifelong, insanely passionate, German Riesling aficionado. Good luck! Rich

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#7 Post by G. Curd » June 13th, 2020, 9:00 am

This is exactly what I am looking for! Thanks for starting this. I am personally starting a Riesling collection/cellar myself so this will be extremely valuable to someone like myself. This type information is super valuable and is tough to come by in a organized fashion and one central location. I wish you the absolute best and you definitely already have one reader/fan for sure.

On a related, but separate note, I have noticed that there is an extreme lack of information on Rieslings in video format on large content providers such as youtube. As a 35 year old I am not fully engulfed in the digital world, but I have been spending some time trying to amass as much information as I can on Riesling producers, vintages, tasting notes, etc. One thing I did notice in my "studies" is an extreme lack of video information on youtube, etc. There is a decent amount of content on the extreme basics of Riesling such as the geographical information, basic information regarding the grapes, and general flavors, but there is nearly no information on specific wines/vineyards/producers/tasting notes/etc. I know this is not an avenue you mentioned getting into in your en devour, but I do think there is a huge opportunity for anyone who wanted to specialize in Riesling in terms of video content. When your written content goes extremely well (as I am confident it will) you may want to look into video content if it's something you would be interested in doing. I would be the first in line to watch that content as well as reading your written content on the Riesling Report. But that is a completely separate topic, but I did want to share my recent finding while studying Riesling.
G a v i n

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#8 Post by J. Rock » June 13th, 2020, 10:57 am

I'm looking forward to this! I'm especially interested in what differentiates the different AP Nos. of any given producer and I love the technical details too (Oe, acidity level, etc.), so if you could get that info, I'd be even more excited. Thank you!
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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#9 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » June 13th, 2020, 11:00 am

Posted my response to Miran on Vinous as well, but really looking forward to this.
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2020 contenders for WOTY:
2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
2015 Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc des Blancs Extra Brut Les Grands Crayeres
2001 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#10 Post by Marshall Manning » June 13th, 2020, 11:44 am

I'm not sure if they had a trademark or if there are any issues, but Peter Liem and Kirk Wille published the Riesling Report around 2000-2003, so the name isn't original for a wine publication. Good luck with the project, though...it sounds interesting!
Marshall

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#11 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 13th, 2020, 11:56 am

Good for you, Miran! Should be fun.

Of course, as I was thinking about it, I wondered whether you distinguish yourself with a unique, personal scoring icon.

Thinking out of the blue, perhaps a helicopter. Maybe 1-5, with 5 helicopters being best.

I wonder how many people here remember that.

[berserker.gif] [berserker.gif]

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#12 Post by MiranK » June 13th, 2020, 5:01 pm

To all, thanks for the encouraging words but wait with the hurrahs until you see a report - it might as well be subpar. Or even crap. But I will at least give it my best and trying to make it worthwhile.

This is a cross-post from Vinous so I'll mix in my answers to the various questions and comments from both sites.

Brian, to answer your question at Vinous - that's the beauty of it all, there are no "must-do's" so I'll simply publish whenever I get around to it. In addition, you hit the nail on the head with the word "stories". I won't pretend to be running around trying to catch up with the professionals by publishing zillions of tasting notes because I really meant what I said, that all means will come from my own pocket and being a teacher in Sweden these funds are rather...limited. As anyone in the same profession here in this country can attest to. But what I can offer, in addition to some personal observations and subjective tasting impressions, are the many stories behind the wines. There are indeed so many untold stories to be shared. Like the wit and the incredible warm-hearted kindness of Willi Schaefer and his family, the fun stories about Manfred Prüm, quotes from the incomparable Reinhard Löwenstein, the time-warp bubble surrounding Rolf and Alfred Merkelbach, gossip about the eternal teenager of the Mosel, Wilhelm Haag, and the stories of his two sons (Oliver and Thomas), who are now at the helm at Fritz Haag and Schloss Lieser, respectively), unforgettable visits to lovely Carl and Maximin von Schubert, or highly personal stories like when Hanno Zilliken stumbled out of his door at home in Saarburg after several hours of tasting - which he prolonged by constantly running down to the cellar to fetch new unmarked bottles - gave me a big hug and visibly exhausted greeted me farewell with a wish that I never loose my enthusiastic Geist, my ongoing skirmish with Caroline Diel regarding the uprooting of her Scheurebe vines, the boundless generosity, true kindness and unprecented passion of Klaus-Peter Keller and his lovely wife Julia (now that alone would easily fill a complete book), or stories about Helmut Dönnhoff that just need to be told. Like when many, many years ago, I told him that "Helmut, one day in the future I'm going to ask a personal favour of you". And he just looked at me, nodded and said yes, after which there wasn't any further discussion on the topic, until ten years later, when I asked him "Do you remember I once told you I will ask a favour of you?" and he just - again - nodded and asked what it was. I told him. He listened carefully. And the next day he delivered. Stories. So many stories... It would be a privilege to share some of them in more in-depth reports as a compliment to all the quick tasting notes I know Riesling aficionados around the world are also looking for. I will try to both look back in time but also report on the current situation at wineries and their plans for the future.

And to Klaus-Peter, don't give me too much credit - I still need to work full-time as a teacher because bills have to be paid (the bank has rejected my suggestion that I provide them with tasting notes :-) but indeed, it would be a dream to have this as a part-time job and combine it with what I have been doing the past ten years - teaching math, chemistry and biology), so for now, I'll do this in my spare time and visit Germany on school holidays and even weekends, as I have been doing all these years. In addition, I will also take a leave of absence without pay some extra days, to make this a serious project.

Regarding your comments, I would say you are exactly right. Writing tasting notes is one thing but I would like to share more; the very feeling of Riesling by trying to convey the personalities of the incredibly diversity of winemakers. The only way, in my opinion, to achieve this objective is the classic expression "boots on the ground". You need to be close to the winemakers, taste with them, pick their brains, and trying to soak in the Gefühl of the land and the people working the vines. I'm 100% certain that I will not achieve this difficult objective everywhere, with everyone but I'm positively sure that I will capture the essence of Riesling at some estates. Above all, I'm eager to also share my impressions through another passion of mine - photography. I have no space restrictions for my pdf files so I will make good use of all my personal photos. Passion... It's a rare thing. And I will do my best to share at least some of mine.

Rob, thanks for the quote - loved it.

Travis, likewise! Wine brings people together...

Gavin, the fun part about Riesling and starting a collection is that you don't need to rob your bank to actually put together a rather decent collection already from the beginning. In my humble opinion, German Risling Kabinett are some of the true treasures in the wine world and some of the best bargains.

Jordan, I will try to help you with the AP numbers (they DO make a difference!) and I will publish as much information as I can, although I cannot promise you many pages of techical details.

Marshall, yes I'm aware of that and was actually a reader once they were active and there's even an MW that has the domaine name but otherwise seems inactive - but no worries, mine will be different in both name and content.

Robert, that old story again... Funny, but even today I'm greeted by unknown people who see me at some wine fair, approach me to shake hands and ask me - "Ahh, so you are that guy!?". Maybe I'll just do something simliar to Suckling. "I'm three helicopters on that."

One particular thread in a wine forum reminded me how starved we Riesling aficinados really are for timely wine reviews. There's a discussion (and even reviews for some wines from certain publications) about Bordeaux 2019. Despite it being a red wine that still needs years of storage in oak barrels. Riesling 2019, on the other hand, is sold and can be consumed already the next year after harvest. Yet it's almost impossible to find any professional wine reviews from the latest vintage. That got me thinking because I realised that I could have published reports from many of the most important estates already in the beginning of March this year. Hence, my observation that there indeed seems to be a small niche in the timely dissemination of Riesling information, that still is waiting to be claimed. Sure, Bordeaux is a much larger and more important market but that doesn't help us Riesling aficionados worldwide. :-) Hopefully I can play a small part in speeding up the publishing of Riesling reviews.

[bye2.gif]
K e g l

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#13 Post by Jan Janas » June 13th, 2020, 6:50 pm

Hi Mirank,

First of all, let me say that I admire your passion, dedication, and commitment to a project of such scale. I can sense the love you have for Riesling and I am already looking forward to reading your reports.

I like your approach and the way you are going into this, and can confirm that, as a reader, I would be strongly interested in hearing stories about the great domaines of Riesling. A storytelling-driven approach is somewhat lacking in wine journalism/criticism, and you're right that you would be filling a niche in offering insights, interviews, and videos. It looks like you are sitting on an awful lot of content - can't wait to read/watch some of it.

As far as differentiation goes, however, I would take another approach/mindset. You say:
MiranK wrote:
June 13th, 2020, 7:33 am

Niche differentiation

(...)

I'm still in the process of figuring out the exact details but so far some core ideas have taken form. To fill that gap where I would occupy a niche not yet taken by the existing sources of Riesling information, I will adhere to these principles:
I wouldn't focus too hard on trying to differentiate or fill a gap "not yet taken by others" in your strategy. It sounds too negative (defining vs. others). This is your personal project and passion. Think about your core values - personal worldview and how it connects with the topic at hand and how you can transmit it to your audience. From reading you, it seems you place great value in humanising wine: retracing the story from the bottle to the producer; from a tasting note, to a personal identity and story, like an origin story. This is only one way of looking at your values and how they fit with the project and the "Riesling reports market". I'd recommend focusing more about yourself and transmit it into your work, rather than trying to work back a set of principles because they fit a market niche. You will find your market niche organically. More truthfully, it doesn't really matter if there's overlap between your report and others, because your values will stand out if well defined and create a brand differential.

I wish you the best of luck with your endeavour, and if you'd like any sort of help with branding/marketing feel free to reach out to me at any time.

Jan

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#14 Post by R. Somerville » June 14th, 2020, 3:39 am

Hello Mirank,

This is exactly what those of us who are passionate about Riesling need - how about German Riesling tours, to the great estates at some point, guided by you? The crazy thing is I've spent a lifetime in wine but have yet to visit Germany and see the people behind the wines on their turf. Had a memorable meeting with Manfred & Katarina Prum many moons ago in London, amongst other great German producers, but have yet to set foot in their wineries. It's crazy for someone who adores Riesling not to!

Anyway, I'm jumping ahead but the outline of your project is very exciting. Keep up the momentum!

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#15 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » June 14th, 2020, 8:27 am

R. Somerville wrote:
June 14th, 2020, 3:39 am
Hello Mirank,

This is exactly what those of us who are passionate about Riesling need - how about German Riesling tours, to the great estates at some point, guided by you? The crazy thing is I've spent a lifetime in wine but have yet to visit Germany and see the people behind the wines on their turf. Had a memorable meeting with Manfred & Katarina Prum many moons ago in London, amongst other great German producers, but have yet to set foot in their wineries. It's crazy for someone who adores Riesling not to!

Anyway, I'm jumping ahead but the outline of your project is very exciting. Keep up the momentum!
Book a trip. My wife and I are going to plan another visit when COVID stuff is over.
CT: InZinity

2020 contenders for WOTY:
2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
2015 Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc des Blancs Extra Brut Les Grands Crayeres
2001 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#16 Post by Kelly Walker » June 14th, 2020, 8:50 am

Congratulations Miran. Having read your posts over the years your passion jumps out of the screen. I really look forward to your first report.

Rob, that Murray quote is awesome! I am going to get a lot of mileage out of that one.
I want to be known by my indulgences.

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#17 Post by MiranK » June 14th, 2020, 12:32 pm

Hi Jan!

Thanks for your kind advice. I think, however I see it, that it will nevertheless be compared to what is available today, because in fact, it's one of the reasons I embark on this journey. Not just becase of my passion alone, but because I would also like to change how things are done by the professionals. So at the end of the day, a comparison will be inevitable. But it doesn't scare me - constructive criticism can lead to something good. But I see your point. Regarding marketing and branding, as you see, I have nothing to sell. So I won't make any efforts to market the report other than encourage people to share it among fellow Riesling aficionados.

Rich, don't tease me with thoughts like that - it would be a wonderful dream to combine teaching with doing trips to the wine country. Wine-photography-travels are three great passions of mine. If you met manfred, what was your impression of him? Talking to him is, to me, always a rare treat and highlight.

Kelly,

Thanks for your encouraging words! I promise you that my reports will leave few readers indifferent. Dismissive or supportive yes, but probably never indifferent. :) And that Murray quote is indeed priceless.
K e g l

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#18 Post by Rob Michaels » June 14th, 2020, 1:48 pm

Cannot wait to give the first one a read. Sounds like an outstanding addition to the information on Riesling currently available.
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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#19 Post by R. Somerville » June 14th, 2020, 5:03 pm

Rich, don't tease me with thoughts like that - it would be a wonderful dream to combine teaching with doing trips to the wine country. Wine-photography-travels are three great passions of mine. If you met manfred, what was your impression of him? Talking to him is, to me, always a rare treat and highlight.
It was a fascinating discussion, my part being, mainly in praise of his spectacular, stellar, yet sublime creations! - Manfred was quietly humble yet deeply passionate about what he was doing in vineyard and winery. Katrina had already taken over from her father in the day to day running of the winery and I could sense her determination, drive and ability to continue the finest Prum traditions.

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#20 Post by adam caldwell » June 15th, 2020, 9:54 am

Miran, great idea. So excited for this. Cheers to you and hoping for your great success.

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#21 Post by Paul Flynn » June 15th, 2020, 10:09 am

Paul

“I have to have the most expensive thing, not because it’s the most expensive but because it costs more”

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#22 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » June 15th, 2020, 10:52 am

Paul Flynn wrote:
June 15th, 2020, 10:09 am
http://www.therieslingreport.com/
I think Miran knew about this, and wasn’t necessarily going to use the exact name.

That being said, this site has been up for 3 years and is still “coming soon”?
CT: InZinity

2020 contenders for WOTY:
2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
2015 Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc des Blancs Extra Brut Les Grands Crayeres
2001 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#23 Post by G. Curd » June 15th, 2020, 11:12 am

I’m signed up! I’m excited do you and your adventures. Best of luck Miran!
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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#24 Post by MiranK » June 15th, 2020, 11:25 am

Sorry Paul and Gavin, but...

You can't sign up or subscribe to my Riesling publication. That link not my page. It's from an MW that seems to be taking his time to start something. :) My Riesling reports will be possible to download from a different page. I have another wicked hobby project of mine starting soon...

[bye2.gif]
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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#25 Post by Paul Flynn » June 15th, 2020, 1:27 pm

I was aware of that website because I believe it was active at one time but then ceased operation.

I added the link just to make Miran aware in case there were any issues with rights to the name or even if Miran wanted to use that specific URL.
Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
June 15th, 2020, 10:52 am
Paul Flynn wrote:
June 15th, 2020, 10:09 am
http://www.therieslingreport.com/
I think Miran knew about this, and wasn’t necessarily going to use the exact name.

That being said, this site has been up for 3 years and is still “coming soon”?
Paul

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Cordelia Chase

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#26 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » June 15th, 2020, 1:34 pm

Paul Flynn wrote:
June 15th, 2020, 1:27 pm
I was aware of that website because I believe it was active at one time but then ceased operation.

I added the link just to make Miran aware in case there were any issues with rights to the name or even if Miran wanted to use that specific URL.
Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
June 15th, 2020, 10:52 am
Paul Flynn wrote:
June 15th, 2020, 10:09 am
http://www.therieslingreport.com/
I think Miran knew about this, and wasn’t necessarily going to use the exact name.

That being said, this site has been up for 3 years and is still “coming soon”?
Of course. Not to put words in his mouth, but I think Miran was using “Riesling Report” as a play-on to Galloni’s Piedmont Report.
CT: InZinity

2020 contenders for WOTY:
2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
2015 Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc des Blancs Extra Brut Les Grands Crayeres
2001 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#27 Post by Markus S » June 15th, 2020, 3:33 pm

Cool.
I'm not the biggest consumer of riesling out there, but it's what I cut my teeth on and appreciate a good one. Looking forward to this :)
$ _ € ® e . k @

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#28 Post by Jim Brennan » June 15th, 2020, 5:35 pm

Looking forward to this.

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#29 Post by MiranK » June 17th, 2020, 9:18 am

Thanks for the encouraging words, Jim and Markus! I hope it will worthwhile - but it can also be a fiasco. Time will tell... A question to you both or actually to all - do you have any favourite German producer from whom you would like to have a report on from the 2019 vintage? I can't promise anything but depending on the logistics, I will try my best.

Also a question to all - more of a technical one - is it still necessary to have photos stored in a place like photobucket to have them published here, or is there a way where you could just upload a photo(file) from your computer? Instead of going through the hassle of having the photos stored at another place simultaneously...
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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#30 Post by Len Stevens » June 17th, 2020, 10:38 am

Good luck Miran! I was lucky enough to get to know David Schildknecht (sp?) when he was a wholeseller in Cincinnati. Great guy and insanely knowledgeable!

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#31 Post by billnanson » June 17th, 2020, 10:44 am

http://www.moselfinewines.com/
There is, of course, this too - but with a more laser-like focus to the name...
Burgundy Report - online since 2002...

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#32 Post by MiranK » June 23rd, 2020, 6:02 am

Bill,

My friends David and Jean are absolutely fabulous and an incredible source of information for the area they cover. Highly recommended.

So looks like I'm getting some requests of winemakers to visit - many seem to be asking about Egon Müller - I have sent them an inquiry, so lets hope for the best. I will also try to visit Julian, Hofgut Falkenstein and a bunch of others along the Mosel valley. Robert Dentice is nagging about Ulli Stein, so he will be visited. :)) And I will also make my way to some producers in Nahe and Rheinhessen.

But...I will first start with Franconia. How come people so seldom talk about wines from this region? Is it because they are not good enough or because they are simply under the radar for most consumers outside of Germany?
K e g l

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#33 Post by Robert Dentice » June 23rd, 2020, 7:34 am

MiranK wrote:
June 23rd, 2020, 6:02 am
Bill,

My friends David and Jean are absolutely fabulous and an incredible source of information for the area they cover. Highly recommended.

So looks like I'm getting some requests of winemakers to visit - many seem to be asking about Egon Müller - I have sent them an inquiry, so lets hope for the best. I will also try to visit Julian, Hofgut Falkenstein and a bunch of others along the Mosel valley. Robert Dentice is nagging about Ulli Stein, so he will be visited. :)) And I will also make my way to some producers in Nahe and Rheinhessen.

But...I will first start with Franconia. How come people so seldom talk about wines from this region? Is it because they are not good enough or because they are simply under the radar for most consumers outside of Germany?
You can also visit with Clemens Busch who is also close to Ulli.

I too am excited about Franconia.

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#34 Post by David Glasser » June 24th, 2020, 3:08 am

Good luck, Miran, your irrepressible enthusiasm will serve you well in this project. I don’t think you’ll need helicopters to get it off the ground. I look forward to reading your reports. Especially the winemaker stories.

One question: could you elaborate on what sounds like an aversion to tasting samples? What do you see as the drawbacks? Is it the number of wines/time availability, potential shipping effects, lack of ability to discuss with the winemaker while tasting, something else?

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#35 Post by T Klonoski » June 24th, 2020, 4:50 am

Miran, you should rate bottles on a scale from 1 to 4 helicopters.
[wow.gif]
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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#36 Post by Alan Foo » June 25th, 2020, 11:57 pm

All the best Miran, will be looking forward to your post.

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#37 Post by joz€f p1nxten » June 26th, 2020, 12:13 am

MiranK wrote:
June 23rd, 2020, 6:02 am
Bill,

My friends David and Jean are absolutely fabulous and an incredible source of information for the area they cover. Highly recommended.

So looks like I'm getting some requests of winemakers to visit - many seem to be asking about Egon Müller - I have sent them an inquiry, so lets hope for the best. I will also try to visit Julian, Hofgut Falkenstein and a bunch of others along the Mosel valley. Robert Dentice is nagging about Ulli Stein, so he will be visited. :)) And I will also make my way to some producers in Nahe and Rheinhessen.

But...I will first start with Franconia. How come people so seldom talk about wines from this region? Is it because they are not good enough or because they are simply under the radar for most consumers outside of Germany?
Let me know if you are staying in Trier, Miran - that's only or 40 min drive from Luxembourg. And Falkenstein was also on my list to visit - was in contact with Lars Carlberg who works there, but then covid happened.
Jozef

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#38 Post by MiranK » June 27th, 2020, 5:41 am

Time for some updates. The Riesling Report will come online soon but I realise that one things is missing... Perhaps I should also consider to actually pay for and create a domaine! And then just quickly edit some type of rudimentary homepage so that those interested in reading my impressions can actually download pdf-files. [blush2.gif] One of the darwa-backs of not being professional with the possibility of working with this full-time, instead of just grabbing a few moments here and there from your normal obligations.

For now, just some quick comments.

Len, couldn't agree more! David Schildknecht is a class-act. A true gentleman and an incredible source of knowledge. And passion!

Robert, I will try to make it to Clemens as well, since they are so close to Ulli Stein.

David, that's actually an important objective to me. I'll try to explain. With "samples" I don't mean the samples or fassprobe I get to taste when visiting the winemakers early in the season, when the wines are still in tank or barrel. That's when they just take some wine from the top of the cask, so the wine is at that point still unfiltered and on its lees. Whenever I taste like this, I will clearly indicate it by using a score range in brackets, to emphasize that it's an unfinished wine. By "samples" I mean finished/bottled wines - I basically don't want the winemakers to spend any money by sending me bottles of their wines. I'll come to them and I'll be happy to taste whatever wine they have already opened or are willing to open because of my personal visit. The reason is part of an ulterior motive I have with The Riesling Report - to show the professional publications, who will argue that this form of work is too expensive and takes too much time, that it CAN be done. If an amateur, who needs to work full-time in a different profession, can do it, certainly the full-time professionals should be able to do it. If I show that it can be done, and if some professional publications copy me by following suite or at least increase their physical presence in the wine region they are covering, then I feel I have ackomplished something. A small change to the better. Only in my opinion, of course.

What I don't like is the current situation where most winemakers are forced to send samples to various wine critics who just passively are waiting at their office to receive cases and even pallets of wine from all over the region they are supposed to cover. I have seen too many photos that show tables with tens if not hundreds of bottles - how will the winemaker even know in what condition they were tasted for a review? Was the temperature optimal? What type of glass was used? And more importantly - were their wines tasted as a few wines out of 20 different samples that day? Or were they just some of a 100 different wines tasted side by side that day? Palate fatigue is difficult to escape, even with loads of water and bread in-between, so if the wine critic is tasting your wine as number 114, 115 and 116 that same day, they sure won't get the same impression as tasting fewer wines at the estate. I hope that better explains my stance.

T.K. (what's your name?), I'm puzzled... Why only 1-4 helicopters? [scratch.gif] Then surely 1 to 5 is better? :-)

Thanks Alan! And Jozef, I'll stay all over the place since I will be constantly moving from region to region.
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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#39 Post by Robert Dentice » June 27th, 2020, 7:47 am

MiranK wrote:
June 27th, 2020, 5:41 am

Thanks Alan! And Jozef, I'll stay all over the place since I will be constantly moving from region to region.
I just assumed you slept in Schubertslay?

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#40 Post by David Glasser » June 28th, 2020, 3:30 pm

Thanks for explaining your sample philosophy Miran. I’m rooting for your success. I look forward to your reports.

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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#41 Post by MiranK » June 30th, 2020, 11:55 am

So...I realise some passion is needed to fuel this endeavour. First drove 680 km this morning to the very southern tip of Sweden to catch the ferry to Germany. 10 hours later I’m on German soil and now some 600 km of driving left for tomorrow’s appointment at Horst Sauer in Franken. Let the madness begin...

9A8C871E-F872-4A50-9521-3650B08EBE83.jpeg
No need for filters... It actually looked like this. :-)
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Re: The Riesling Report - announcing a wicked little hobby project

#42 Post by adam caldwell » June 30th, 2020, 1:40 pm

Exciting times, can't wait for the reports and pictures. Best of luck and travel safely.

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