German lovers - make me a mixed case

I had a friend do me a favor. She enjoys rieslings. I like them, but certainly do not follow them.

I would like to give her a gift. Mixed case, $350.00

She’s a ‘newb’ to wine so let’s make most of it inexpensive stuff but find between 2-5 bottles that are a step above.

have at it kids.

My ultimate riesling mixed case:

Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Spatlese
Fritz Haag Brauneberger-Juffer-Sonnenuhr Spatlese
AJ Adam Hofberg
Peter Lauer “Senior”
Schafer-Frohlich Bockenauer Felseneck Spatlese
Alzinger Steinertal
Hirtzberger Singerriedel
Hirsch Heiligenstein
Hirsch Gaisberg
Prager Wachstum Bodenstein
Knoll Loibenberg
Grosset Polish Hill

Leitz Dragonstone. It’s fairly inexpensive, and I think it’s a great QPR.

What’s your physical location? [City?]

Are you going to try to purchase locally, or are you willing to mail order over the internet?

KL - was the omission of Donnhoff intentional?

I’d put Donnhoff’s basic QbA Estate Riesling near the top of any list of must-buys.

In fact, increasingly, it seems to be my favorite from his portfolio.

For a dirty, terroir-driven wine, get something inexpensive from Max Ferd. Richter.

And, at the other extreme, for a hyper-clean Riesling, something from Selbach-Oster.

Also, the wines of St Urbans-Hof are showing up in a number of different markets now, and they often provide a multi-layered, multi-dimensional mouthfeel at a relatively reasonable price.

PS: The Austrians [especially the Singerriedel] are going to smash a budget of $350 pretty quickly.

[Which is not meant to imply that I would turn down the opportunity to sip on a Singerriedel…]

Hexamer Meddersheimer Rheingrafenberg Riesling Quartzit
Leitz Rudesheimer Magdalenenkreuz Kabinett or Spatlese (still pretty good price and usually better than the Dragonstone)
Something from Keller
JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese
JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese
Schafer Frohlich Bockenauer Felseneck Spatlese
Selbach Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese “Rotlay”
Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Spatlese
Some Rieslaner Spatlese from Muller-Catoir
Gunderloch Nackenheimer Rothenberg Auslese
Schaeffer Graacher Domprobst Kabinett or Spatlese

and then, to finish, nonGerman but an absolutely great riesling
Trimbach Cuvee Frederick Emile.

PM sent.

In our market, NEW vintages of the WS Auslese now go for $100.

Aged vintages of the WS Auslese would easily break the $350 limit.

Having said that, I recently had the opportunity [serendipitously and completely out of the blue] to try the 1993 WS Auslese, and it is pretty much a perfect bottle of wine.

Easily 98-100 points, without even hesitating.

Chris, can you possibly give us a link or two to stores you are able and willing to shop at? that would really help give direction w/r/t what selection we have to choose from.


I have two suggestions for you. The first is to call Howard’s Wine Cellar and have him put together a case for you. Not only will the selection be excellent and varied, but most of the wines will still be available all in one place if your friend likes any enough to go buy them.

Second is the following case, put together from Flickinger, HDH, and Binny’s. I think young Auslese (and above) is pretty difficult for most beginning wine drinkers to enjoy. The sweetness factor is just too high and it’s easy to find them cloying. So I went mostly with lower predicates that will be drinking well young. A few older things thrown too in so she can see what’s out there.

2002 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Kabinett
2007 Franz Künstler Hochheimer Kirchenstück Spätlese
2007 JJ Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett
2001 JJ Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spätlese
2007 Hermann Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Leistenberg Kabinett
2007 Keller Von Der Fels Trocken
2004 Gunderloch Nackenheimer Rothenberg Spätlese
2001 Müller-Catoir Haardter Bürgergarten Spätlese
2007 Schäfer-Fröhlich Halbtrocken
2008 Schäfer-Fröhlich Bockenauer Felseneck Spätlese
2007 St Urbans Hof Ockfener Bockstein Kabinett
2008 Leitz Rüdesheimer Magdalenenkreuz Spätlese

I can’t recommend Von Hovel highly enough. Any Spat will do; great value, and more cut than many producers will offer.

Wow. That is really expensive. Where do you live - Siberia? You really need to find a new place to buy wine. Bassins here has the 07 for $55. And Wine Searcher shows it as low as $45." onclick=";return false; Now I understand why you cannot find a Burgundy for under $100.

I tried to do a combination of prices and pradicat levels. Most of the wines should be between $20 and $30 or so, except the Hexamer and maybe the Leitz would be cheaper and some of the Ausleses and the Trimbach would be higher. Some of the Ausleses are available in half bottles to keep the cost down. I cannot see learning about German wines without trying a couple of Auslesen and the Trimbach is, well, special.

What’s your thinking?

Are you in the “Donnhoffs can’t age” camp?

Tentatively. I put together a disastrous Hermannshohle vertical last year, and all the old ones were bad and most of the young ones too sweet. Excuses were made, excuses that wouldn’t have been made for others. I’m willing to be convinced otherwise but can’t discount what I’ve experienced to date. To be sure, I have had had a number of excellent Donnhoff experiences, but certainly nothing that justifies the worship they get relative to other German producers; even within the Nahe I prefer Schafer-Frohlich and Schlossgut Diel.

I can shop extensively in Chicago as well as via mail order.
I’m also confident that even though the asswipes of Illinois like to make shipping here difficult, I’ll happily take possession of “olive oil” from our ITB friends.

Thanks for the suggestions so far.

Maybe I missed it but no love for Willi Schaefer? It’s so great that you can assemble a killer case for $350. Not many regions where that’s still possible.


Yeah, I’ve been noticing that his spatlesen in recent vintages have been soft, bordering on flabby.

And that Felsenturmchen - which everyone was going ga-ga over - was a sloppy mess.

Lately I am enjoying Donnhoff in the lower pradikats [Kabinett and especially the QbA Estate] and in the colder vintages [like 2004].

Hot vintages + higher pradikats seems to be a problem.

Okay - this is just Chicago and the suburbs.

I did only Riesling - no Scheurebe or anything else.

Also, only Germany - no Austria [I noticed that there are some really nice Gruner Veltliners at Hart Davis Hart in the general vicinity of $30; also, plenty of Alois Kracher stickies of various varietals throughout Chicago - Scheurebe, Welchriesling, Chardonnay, etc].

The list is a little thin on Kabinett & QbA, but I just couldn’t find anything else which really rang my bell.

As a result, the list is a little top-heavy with Spatlese.

And there is only one Auslese, but it looks like a real doozy [either Rovani or Schildknecht gave it 99 points - frankly, I wouldn’t mind owning some myself].

So here goes:

Halbtrocken/Half-Dry/Medium Dry

$19.99" onclick=“;return false;” onclick=";return false;

2007 - Schafer Frohlich Riesling Medium Dry
$19.99" onclick=";return false;


2006 Donnhoff Riesling
$20.99" onclick=";return false;


2007 - St Urbans Hof Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett
$15.99" onclick=";return false;

2007 Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett, Joh. Jos. Prüm
$25.00" onclick=";return false;


2007 St Urbans-Hof Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Spatlese
$24.99" onclick=“;return false;
$25.96” onclick=";return false;

2005 Donnhoff Schlossbockelheim Felsenberg Riesling Spatlese
$29.95" onclick=“;return false;
$29.99” onclick=";return false;

2007 - Joh Jos Christoffel Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spatlese
$29.99" onclick=";return false;

2008 - Schafer Frohlich Bockenauer Felseneck Riesling Spatlese
$31.99" onclick=";return false;

$32.99" onclick=“;return false;” onclick=";return false;

JJ Prum 2001 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese
$48" onclick=";return false;


2006 Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Auslese Goldkapsule (375 ML)
$44.99" onclick=";return false;

TOTAL: $344.86

If you want to try some Scheurebe, here are a few that I noticed [the Kracher is from Austria and the Muller-Catoirs are from Germany]:

1998 Muller-Catoir Haardter Mandelring Scheurebe Spatlese
$35" onclick=";return false;

2004 Scheurebe Trockenbeerenauslese Zwischen den Seen No. 10 (Kracher) (375ml)
$51.50" onclick=";return false;

2001 Haardter Mandelring Scheurebe Spätlese, Müller-Catoir
$55.00" onclick=";return false;

All three of those should be dynamite wines - really world class juice.