Riesling - the struggle is real.

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Tom G l a s g o w
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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#101 Post by Tom G l a s g o w »

Eric Michels wrote: April 30th, 2021, 12:05 am
John Kight wrote: April 27th, 2021, 2:01 pm Isn't the solution relatively simple? Put it in a Burgundy-style (or Bordeaux-style) bottle and label it as a "White Cuvee" without mentioning Riesling.
I came to post the exact same thought. We opened a bottle of Adam's Riesling tonight based on this thread. I thought it was a nice wine but my wife (who counts Riesling alongside champagne as her favorite wines) turned up her nose as it was not what she thought of as Riesling. I'm with John - while I appreciate the transparency and intent in labeling it Riesling, I think that any problem selling this bottling could be solved by making up a name for it (Project ABC) and letting the wine in the bottle speak for itself. While this would likely require some knowledge of Sabelli-Frisch for someone to purchase Project ABC, it would seem to overcome the "this isn't what I expected" problem. While all varietals can present in a range of styles, it seems that Riesling presents a particular challenge given its wide range of faces.
But what didn’t she like? Reminds me of wine makers battles with typicity and labeling.

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#102 Post by Howard Cooper »

larry schaffer wrote: April 23rd, 2021, 7:57 pm Hey my friend , it could be worse - I make a dry domestic Gewurztraminer . . .
Gewurz should be dry.
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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#103 Post by Howard Cooper »

John Morris wrote: April 24th, 2021, 9:03 am

3. Americans say they like dry, so they shun wines they are warned are sweet.

Many people shun Riesling as too sweet even when the wine is trocken. I have seen this many times - always shocked, but it is impossible for some people to believe the wine is bone dry.

As have a few others, I started in wine with German wines, but at a different level. My father owned a wine store and my mother would only drink sweeter wines - a lot of German Spatlese and Auslese. So, I started with 1971 Spatese and Auslese from the Mosel, much of which was from top vineyards bottled by Sichel.
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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#104 Post by K N Haque »

Howard Cooper wrote: April 30th, 2021, 6:02 am
larry schaffer wrote: April 23rd, 2021, 7:57 pm Hey my friend , it could be worse - I make a dry domestic Gewurztraminer . . .
Gewurz should be dry.
This is as misguided as claiming all Riesling must be dry. Sure, some Gewürztraminer should be dry, not all.
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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#105 Post by Dan Kravitz »

I love Alsace wine but find the typical residual sugar levels puzzling to say the least, and often inappropriate.

Riesling is typically finished dry, I'd say under 0.5% RS. Fine, I like that style, from Alsace, but it confounds a lot of expectations.
Gewurztraminer is mostly finished fairly sweet, up around 1.0% RS. The sweet impression is compounded by very low acidity.
Pinot Blanc is typically finished as dry as Riesling. I love it. The drier the better!
Pinot Gris is usually finished at least as sweet at Gewurz, again accentuated by very low acidity. In general, no thanks!

It's been a long time since I've had a California Gewurztraminer, but I remember some from early days that were highly (but not overly) aromatic, completely dry and as light and lacy as a Mosel Riesling. If anybody reading this makes it in that style, let me know and you will get an order.

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#106 Post by Otto Forsberg »

Dan Kravitz wrote: April 30th, 2021, 2:47 pm I love Alsace wine but find the typical residual sugar levels puzzling to say the least, and often inappropriate.

Riesling is typically finished dry, I'd say under 0.5% RS. Fine, I like that style, from Alsace, but it confounds a lot of expectations.
Gewurztraminer is mostly finished fairly sweet, up around 1.0% RS. The sweet impression is compounded by very low acidity.
Pinot Blanc is typically finished as dry as Riesling. I love it. The drier the better!
Pinot Gris is usually finished at least as sweet at Gewurz, again accentuated by very low acidity. In general, no thanks!

It's been a long time since I've had a California Gewurztraminer, but I remember some from early days that were highly (but not overly) aromatic, completely dry and as light and lacy as a Mosel Riesling. If anybody reading this makes it in that style, let me know and you will get an order.

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I think Pinot Blanc is the only one those four varieties that is consistently vinified dry.

While the traditional Alsatian Riesling is bone-dry, there seems to be quite a bit of variation nowadays. Most are finished dry or just off-dry, but it's not that rare to see Rieslings that are medium-sweet, even at Grand Cru level.

Gewurztraminer seems to be the polar opposite of Riesling: as Riesling is often but not always finished dry, Gewurz is often but not always finished medium-dry or medium-sweet. Often that seems to be for the best, actually, as I feel that bone-dry Alsatian Gewurztraminers can be quite awkward: the can be heady and perfumed in the nose, rich, lush and full-bodied on the palate, yet have surprisingly little in the way of fruit, while the exotic spice notes seem to tend towards pronounced bitterness - a characteristic which seems to be rounded out with a little bit of residual sugar.

Pinot Gris is the real minefield. You can get wines that are bone-dry with surprisingly high acidity to wines which are medium-sweet, flabby and low in acidity - and everything in-between. The worst thing is that the quality and RS do not go hand in hand. Just as you can have a flabby and excessively sweet PG, you can have a simple, linear and one-dimensional PG that is bone-dry. However, at the same time Alsace makes some of the most stunning Pinot Gris wines in the world and I've yet to find a place where one can get Pinot Gris wines more impressive than Alsace. While most of the best Alsatian Pinot Gris wines I've had have been dry or just off-dry, there are some PGs from the sweeter end that have been equally impressive and impressive.

My biggest problem isn't sweetness per se - I love Alsatian whites at all levels of sweetness - but quite often it's impossible to tell from the label whether the wine is going to be sweet, dry or somewhere in-between. It is much easier to get oriented to an off-dry wine if you know you are going to have one!
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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#107 Post by ChrisJames »

Dan Kravitz wrote: April 30th, 2021, 2:47 pm I love Alsace wine but find the typical residual sugar levels puzzling to say the least, and often inappropriate.

Riesling is typically finished dry, I'd say under 0.5% RS. Fine, I like that style, from Alsace, but it confounds a lot of expectations.
Gewurztraminer is mostly finished fairly sweet, up around 1.0% RS. The sweet impression is compounded by very low acidity.
Pinot Blanc is typically finished as dry as Riesling. I love it. The drier the better!
Pinot Gris is usually finished at least as sweet at Gewurz, again accentuated by very low acidity. In general, no thanks!

It's been a long time since I've had a California Gewurztraminer, but I remember some from early days that were highly (but not overly) aromatic, completely dry and as light and lacy as a Mosel Riesling. If anybody reading this makes it in that style, let me know and you will get an order.

Dan Kravitz
Dan,

I can't recall ever having a Ca Gewurz, but I am a big fan of Oregon producer Ovum. I mentioned their Riesling earlier in this thread, but they also make a Gewurztraminer that might appeal to you. It is definitely aromatic, dry (not sure on the level of RS, but I don't consider it a sweet wine), and light and lacy (though I am unable to compare it to Mosel). It has really good acidity. I've bought it in the last three vintages and been fully satisfied, so I am confident in it.

https://ovumwines.vinespring.com/purcha ... rztraminer

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#108 Post by larry schaffer »

Dan,

You can always give mine a try - I call it the Outlier

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#109 Post by Siun o'Connell »

Outlier is a very pleasurable wine ... highly recommend!

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#110 Post by Dan Kravitz »

larry schaffer wrote: April 25th, 2021, 12:26 pm
Adam Frisch wrote: April 25th, 2021, 11:49 am Against all better judgement, I've signed 2 more contracts for Riesling this year [pwn.gif] . But, I can report that simply finding Riesling growers is hard in CA. Now the growing statistics say it's planted to a pretty decent acreage, but this fruit doesn't seem to show up on the open market - I'm thinking this mainly goes into Bronco/Franzia boxed wines or white blends and such.
Nope - that's Gewurztraminer . . .

Cheers
From the Central Valley, cropped at 10 tons per acre? That's a question / comment for both Riesling and Gewurz. Does anybody know?

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#111 Post by Dan Kravitz »

Otto, you wrote:

"While the traditional Alsatian Riesling is bone-dry, there seems to be quite a bit of variation nowadays. Most are finished dry or just off-dry, but it's not that rare to see Rieslings that are medium-sweet, even at Grand Cru level."

Make that ESPECIALLY at the Grand Cru level.

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#112 Post by Eric White »

I dunno if this contributes to the conversation, but I've recent dug out my offsite and I'm working through my 2000-2006 Weinbach and Z-H, many of which are Rieslings. I am quite enjoying them, even if they are starting to get a tad oxidized in some cases. There is certainly some level of sweetness to most of them, and I haven't even dug in to the VTs and SGNs yet.

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#113 Post by Jayson Cohen »

It’s interesting how prices and interest ebb and flow from regions. I was able to buy an interesting ZH auction lot last summer that illustrates some of the issues with IDing sweetness in Alsatian wines.

1991 Pinot Gris, Clos Jebsal, SGN, Domaine Zind Humbrecht (clearly dessert level sweetness)

1992 Riesling, Herrenweg, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Zind Humbrecht (who knows?)

1992 Riesling, Rangen, Clos St. Urbain, Domaine Zind Humbrecht (who knows?)

1994 Riesling, Rangen, St. Urbain, Domaine Zind Humbrecht (quite dry based on experience)

Although I am a fan of Riesling at all sweetness levels, I really bought this lot for the ‘94s, and the rest were a nice bonus. Based on my last outing with the 1994 Rangen, it’s hard for me to imagine even a strictly dry wine drinker not thinking this one is a spine-tingling dry wine.

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#114 Post by Rodrigo B »

Jayson Cohen wrote: May 1st, 2021, 8:06 pm It’s interesting how prices and interest ebb and flow from regions. I was able to buy an interesting ZH auction lot last summer that illustrates some of the issues with IDing sweetness in Alsatian wines.

1991 Pinot Gris, Clos Jebsal, SGN, Domaine Zind Humbrecht (clearly dessert level sweetness)

1992 Riesling, Herrenweg, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Zind Humbrecht (who knows?)

1992 Riesling, Rangen, Clos St. Urbain, Domaine Zind Humbrecht (who knows?)

1994 Riesling, Rangen, St. Urbain, Domaine Zind Humbrecht (quite dry based on experience)

Although I am a fan of Riesling at all sweetness levels, I really bought this lot for the ‘94s, and the rest were a nice bonus. Based on my last outing with the 1994 Rangen, it’s hard for me to imagine even a strictly dry wine drinker not thinking this one is a spine-tingling dry wine.
Zind-Humbrecht is an interesting producer as if memory serves correctly Olivier effectively vinifies the wines in very consistent manner vintage to vintage to showcase the vintage characteristics in full rather than having his winemaking dictate the end results of the wines. They thus end up varying wildly vintage to vintage. To the domaine’s credit, starting with the 2001 vintage they include a sweetness index from 1-5 on all of their labels.
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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#115 Post by Todd Hamina »

Ten years ago I reached out to Olivier Humbrecht with a question about dryness and full malo in Riesling, and he wrote back. Pretty much the guy lets it rip, and since that fit in with the BHC program, I did too. The Z-H wines stop where they stop in terms of rs, and I think that goes along with what Rodrigo just said.

- to summarize he said that 90% of the time the wines go through 100% malolactic, but the trick was not to rack too soon after malo to avoid capturing those aromas.
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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#116 Post by John Oglesby »

larry schaffer wrote: April 25th, 2021, 7:18 pm I dislike the concept of having different shaped bottles for different varieties. I use a claret shaped bottle for everything - including my dry Gewurztraminer. And when I bottle my inaugural pinots in early 2022, I will bottle them in the same shaped bottle.

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#117 Post by Uli K. »

Brian Glas wrote: April 24th, 2021, 9:27 am I just wish our numerous Thai restaurants would get more serious about wine. Most of them when I ask for a wine list they just say that have the Ste. Michelle Riesling. It would be a nice to have a few more selections as Riesling is a great pairing with spicy Thai food. We used to go (PreCovid) to Wild Ginger in Downtown Seattle not for the food (it was ok but nothing special) but for the 20 page list of German Rieslings they would sell at reasonable prices and the staff there treated us like VIPs.
Agreed... Lotus of Siam is famous for it, but for many others it’s an afterthought. Things starting to improve, Kin Khao in SF has a nice list (still closed I think, but I had a Spätlese by the glass recently at their fast casual outpost): https://www3.hilton.com/resources/media ... v-2016.pdf
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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#118 Post by Dan Kravitz »

A coincidence: The current offering on Last Bottle is 2018 Empire Estate Riesling, Finger Lakes. $11, free shipping on 6. I don't remember ever seeing a NY Riesling on Last Bottle.

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#119 Post by Matt K »

That seems like a hell of a deal, but I'm not familiar with the producer at all. It looks like they only produce Riesling and exclusively wholesale it.

A couple years ago I got a deal on a case of Ravines dry Riesling for like $13/bottle and free shipping and I've been hoping to find that deal again ever since. Great value.
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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#120 Post by Adam Frisch »

Malo on Riesling is very interesting. Seems to shift the taste quite considerably away from the classic markers.
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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#121 Post by Jayson Cohen »

Adam Frisch wrote: May 4th, 2021, 3:47 pm Malo on Riesling is very interesting. Seems to shift the taste quite considerably away from the classic markers.
Yes. IIRC a number of the Austrian growers occasionally have issues with wines that go through malo or partial malo. Nikholaihof? Maybe Brundlmyer? Makes for some funky wines.

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#122 Post by Luca Giupponi »

Dan Kravitz wrote: May 4th, 2021, 2:29 pm A coincidence: The current offering on Last Bottle is 2018 Empire Estate Riesling, Finger Lakes. $11, free shipping on 6. I don't remember ever seeing a NY Riesling on Last Bottle.

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Garagiste had that a few days ago as well for less that $9. One CT comment hints at possible premox issues, hence the blowout. But who knows!

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#123 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

Jayson Cohen wrote: May 4th, 2021, 4:07 pm
Adam Frisch wrote: May 4th, 2021, 3:47 pm Malo on Riesling is very interesting. Seems to shift the taste quite considerably away from the classic markers.
Yes. IIRC a number of the Austrian growers occasionally have issues with wines that go through malo or partial malo. Nikholaihof? Maybe Brundlmyer? Makes for some funky wines.
Specific wines please? I have been drinking from both producers since 1995, and never run across that.
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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#124 Post by Doug Schulman »

Jayson Cohen wrote: May 4th, 2021, 4:07 pm
Adam Frisch wrote: May 4th, 2021, 3:47 pm Malo on Riesling is very interesting. Seems to shift the taste quite considerably away from the classic markers.
Yes. IIRC a number of the Austrian growers occasionally have issues with wines that go through malo or partial malo. Nikholaihof? Maybe Brundlmyer? Makes for some funky wines.
Considering that Todd pointed out Zind-Humbrecht's use of it on most of their Rieslings (seems to be backed up by Kobrand and several other sites), I think it's safe to say MLF doesn't always obscure classic Riesling markers or make the wines funky. I have read that most producers try to avoid it, though.

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#125 Post by Jayson Cohen »

Based on David B’s reply above, and my distrust of my memory in this instance, I consulted a different source of info. I emailed David Schildknecht about malo in Austrian Riesling. He was fine with me sharing his response. So I won’t paraphrase:

It's very common for Austrian Riesling to undergo malo. At Nikolaihof it is pretty much routine.

Just how widespread is routine-malo and whether there are any growers who take measures to routinely block it are questions I ought to be able to answer but cannot.

I can say with confidence that at many addresses the situation is that sometimes the Rieslings do and sometimes they do not undergo malo-lactic transformation.

With Grüner Veltliner the situation is similar, except that to the extent most wineries have at least one or two less-expensive bottlings designed to be fresh and bright - and which are likely to be products of earlier-picked, perforce higher-malate grapes - those typically try to keep those from undergoing malo.

I imagine you have probably noticed - as I have been mentioning quite often in my reports - that increasingly many German growers are becoming laissez-faire about malolactic transformation in their dry Rieslings, and justifiably so, I think.

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#126 Post by K N Haque »

Jayson Cohen wrote: May 4th, 2021, 4:07 pm
Adam Frisch wrote: May 4th, 2021, 3:47 pm Malo on Riesling is very interesting. Seems to shift the taste quite considerably away from the classic markers.
Yes. IIRC a number of the Austrian growers occasionally have issues with wines that go through malo or partial malo. Nikholaihof? Maybe Brundlmyer? Makes for some funky wines.
I, of course, can't know what you've tasted, but many people do report on some sort of funk from the Nikolaihof wines. This may be aldehydes, something in the old casks or something else and seems to be most prominent in the releases that have spent the most time in cask. At any rate, what it isn't is malo.
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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#127 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

Well I knew this would happen as soon as Jayson brought it up.
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#128 Post by Jayson Cohen »

I actually meant funky in a different sense than Kamaal so maybe a poor word choice on my part. Not literally funk in the pejorative spoilage or wine-flaw sense. I’m not really interested personally in discussing issues some folks have with Nikolaihof wines. I’ve just noticed those with and without malo have a different structure and textural effect when drinking. If I could nail the malo down to specific wines, I would.

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Re: Riesling - the struggle is real.

#129 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

Jayson Cohen wrote: May 5th, 2021, 6:42 pm I actually meant funky in a different sense than Kamaal so maybe a poor word choice on my part. Not literally funk in the pejorative spoilage or wine-flaw sense. I’m not really interested personally in discussing issues some folks have with Nikolaihof wines. I’ve just noticed those with and without malo have a different structure and textural effect when drinking. If I could nail the malo down to specific wines, I would.
I have had enough Nikolaihof wines to know what is going on with them, and figured that any discussion would be divisive, and not productive.
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#130 Post by K N Haque »

Jayson Cohen wrote: May 5th, 2021, 6:42 pm I actually meant funky in a different sense than Kamaal so maybe a poor word choice on my part. Not literally funk in the pejorative spoilage or wine-flaw sense. I’m not really interested personally in discussing issues some folks have with Nikolaihof wines. I’ve just noticed those with and without malo have a different structure and textural effect when drinking. If I could nail the malo down to specific wines, I would.
Fair enough. I think we were thinking of different things with "funky."
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#131 Post by Otto Forsberg »

K N Haque wrote: May 5th, 2021, 6:02 pm I, of course, can't know what you've tasted, but many people do report on some sort of funk from the Nikolaihof wines. This may be aldehydes, something in the old casks or something else and seems to be most prominent in the releases that have spent the most time in cask. At any rate, what it isn't is malo.
I don't know what it is, but some Nikolaihof wines are definitely funky. In the sense of very weird for what they are. Weird like Riesling that smells like raw potato weird.

And some are just pure and beautiful and have no funk whatsoever. I really have no idea what is going on there. But definitely interesting wines.
IG: force.berry / CT: forceberry

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