A pile of riesling (53 Mumm TBA, 04 CSH, 91/98 Donnhoff, 64 Piesporter, etc.)


Vietnamese food from Hai Yen, some fellow acidophiles, and a pile of riesling make for a great evening.

  • 1998 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel Auction - Germany, Nahe
    Whoops, missed the AP number on this one in all my excitement. Holy crap is this a dense bottle of Auslese. It’s seriously BA-level. Incredibly thick and almost syrupy, but with that kaleidoscopic fruit, mineral cut, and racy green acidity, all balanced on the point of a pin the way all the best Dönnhoff wines are. Incredibly silly levels of botrytis too, but it’s pristine and clean. A monumental wine. (98 pts.)
  • 2004 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune - France, Alsace
    So apparently, there are some dry rieslings that I like. This is one of them. Very dry, with some clear mineral precision. There’s none of that oily waxy Alsace thing going on here – this is linear and precise, with ample fruit stuffing. Despite all that, this has tons of extract and no alcoholic heat at all. Air seemed to focus that precision even more… it’s like one of those green laser pointers. (93 pts.)
  • 1964 Bischofliches Konvikt Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling feine Auslese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
    No AP number here to record. This showed very similar to the last time I had it. It’s certainly cut from a much drier cloth, and any sugar that this once had has caramelized into much more complex flavours. There’s a huge ton of gasoline on the nose, with a bit of oily texture on the palate, presumably due to the ripeness that’s still cut very nicely with some fresh acidity. Mostly dried and stewed fruit now, but that’s all taking a backseat to that tasty, tasty petrol. (93 pts.)
  • 1953 G.H. von Mumm Johannisberger Mäuerchen Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese - Germany, Rheingau
    Ludwig Balz collection. Insane. Absolutely insane. The colour of motor oil, but this is so fresh and alive it’s stunning. Certainly a fair bit of that caramelized maple flavour here, but it’s the freshness that is so amazing. On top of that, there’s this crazy streak of acidity that runs through this, and gives cut to what is still a very, very sweet (and old) bottle of riesling. Perhaps once-in-a-lifetime, but ever so worth it. (98 pts.)
  • 2005 Weingut Keller Riesling von der Fels - Germany, Rheinhessen
    #18-06, 12% abv. Perhaps you’re supposed to age these. They certainly taste a helluva lot better with age on them. It rounds out a lot of the rough edges. But don’t get confused: there’s still plenty of raciness here, and perhaps even a tinge of green. Very zippy, I quite like the mineral freshness here. (90 pts.)
  • 2001 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile 375eme Anniversaire - France, Alsace
    This is again, quite a good wine for a dry riesling. There’s plenty of ripe fruit and a fair bit of spice on the nose, with the same on the palate. I do pick up a slight bit more oiliness here, and the acidic cut doesn’t come off as cleanly as the 2004 Clos Ste. Hune. The stone fruit is quite prominent here and tasty, too, but it seems to be marred by a touch of rot. The finish also comes off bitter. (88 pts.)
  • 2002 Ruinart Champagne Dom Ruinart Brut Rosé - France, Champagne
    A very nice little interlude into Champagne. This is very bright and well-integrated already, though it displays a bit more steeliness, despite the rounder vintage. In fact it reminds me a little bit of the 2004 DP Rose. In any case, this is definitely accented with tart red fruits (cranberries?) and some really nice chalkiness too. I really don’t drink enough Ruinart. (93 pts.)
  • 2005 Rudolf Fürst Centgrafenberg Riesling Spätlese trocken - Germany, Franken
    #05-06, 12.5% abv. First time I’ve had a bottle of riesling from a Bocksbeutel. In any case, this is a somewhat green expression of riesling, showing lots and lots of racy grassiness and almost gooseberry flavours. The palate’s got tons of acidity and despite the relatively higher alcohol level, it doesn’t show it at all. A very crisp, if not too complex, wine. (88 pts.)
  • 2008 A.J. Adam Hofberg Riesling Kabinett - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
    #03-09. Certainly on the dry end of the Kabinett spectrum, this has tons of slatey minerality and just a hint of white fruits. There’s some pronounced pineapple here, this seems to be just a little bit advanced (I didn’t get to this until later in the evening and it had warmed up some), since it didn’t seem to have quite as much tension as I expected. It’s certainly got tons of acidity, but that white hot focus isn’t really here. (90 pts.)
  • 2004 Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
    Missed the AP on this one too (I’m getting sloppy). There’s a lot of spritz on this bottle, but the reduction wasn’t as prominent as on the 2004 WS Spätlese that I had two days ago. White fruited, this is quite restrained and demure at the moment, it seems to be coiled very tightly at the moment. It’s still got some crazy acids and just the right amount of sweetness for balance. At the end of the day, there’s definitely a lot of good material, but I’d give this some time. (93 pts.)
  • 1989 Freiherr Langwerth von Simmern Kiedricher Sandgrub Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Rheingau
    Surprisingly very, very reductive when first opened, and to be honest, it never really went away. This is definitely a solid riesling, showing a bit of dried and stewed stone fruit, and just a slight, slight touch of sweetness. There’s some waxiness on the palate, and this is more of a hefty wine than one driven by its acidity. (88 pts.)
  • 1971 Schloss Johannisberg Riesling Rosalack Auslese - Germany, Rheingau
    The cork fell right in the moment it was touched. Soy bomb. NR (flawed)
  • 2003 Dönnhoff Schloßböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Nahe
    #18-04, 9% abv. Certainly a bit of a riper Spätlese from the Weingut, but this is still clearly identifiable as such. The ripeness here is handled deftly, with the fruit neatly terminating into a fair amount of acid. You’d expect that there would be a lot more fat fruit here, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, the fruit doesn’t show too ripe at all, and the sugar levels aren’t outrageous either. A very good example in a difficult vintage. (90 pts.)
  • 1991 Dönnhoff Grauburgunder Eiswein - Germany, Nahe
    #27-92, 8.5% abv. From half bottle. Ridiculously dark colour that was concerning, but then we all tasted it and all was right with the world. A really fun bottle of Dönnhoff, and certainly a very rare one. There’s a very, very strong note of apples on this, as well as a white grape flavour. Raisin juice? Very sweet, but ample acidity to keep it from getting cloying. (95 pts.)
  • 1993 Weingut Robert Weil Kiedricher Gräfenberg Riesling Auslese - Germany, Rheingau
    #15-94, 8.5% abv. From half bottle. I haven’t had too many 1993s and it’s my impression it’s not that strong of a vintage (whatever that means). This bottle, however, was definitely strong. Put simply, this is a botrytis bomb. There’s so much honey and orange and botrytis spice here it’s incredible. Very sweet, to the point that the acid can’t quite keep up with it; there’s a bit of mineral extract that helps with that. (93 pts.)
  • 2001 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Rangen de Thann Clos St. Urbain - France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru
    This shows a huge amount of spice and smokiness, and there’s a slight chance I could have mixed this up with a gewürztraminer if tasting this blind. It shows many of the things that you’d find in a riesling though – the fruit, a touch of gasoline, and a fair bit of acidity. The texture comes off a bit waxy, and without the sugar, I feel that the finish is a bit exposed and short, and a touch bitter. (88 pts.)



Wow. A 98 A So rating. That’s the equivalent of a Robert Parker 963, or a James Suckling 119 out of Lalique 100 glasses. champagne.gif

Acid overload this morning. Great notes on a fun evening!

Excessive, indeed! Sounds wonderful. Dave Yates and I have two 1953 TBAs in our Santa Barbara cellar and now we are looking forward even more to opening them.

I do have a question, though: when you describe the aroma and taste of gasoline, I, as a former auto mechanic, must beg to differ (I got to smell, and even occasionally taste, quite a lot of it over the years). To me, that characteristic of aged Riesling reminds me of kerosene or jet fuel (which is similar in composition to kerosene, I beleive).

Does anyone else get kerosene rather than gasoline?

Ok…really missing Chicago right now.

I was starting to think that Andrian went to my old alma mater, Emory, which had a grading scale that capped at 93. True. Never understood why. But now I see Andrian can drop 95s and 98s with aplomb. One Emory professor did score me a 97 on a published seminar paper, so that’s 100+ in my book. It’s a Suckling grade.

As always, Mr. So, wonderful drinks and notes. I do not think I’ve ever had a dinner or tasting, wine focused, that was only white. Eventually I need to toss in some reds!

Lawrence, remember, sugar is involved here for Adrian :wink: