June 13, 2017 Terry Theise Tasting Impressions

Quick thoughts on the 2016 Terry Theise German/Austrian portfolio tasting from yesterday:

First off, it was a blisteringly hot day in NYC, but the air conditioning at Tribeca kept up, so the tasting conditions were quite good. Overall I enjoyed the 2016 wines, though I was not bowled over by many of them. The ones that did set fly above the generally very good level had that extra bit of expansiveness on the palate. There were also a number of other vintages on show (2015 dry wines, and some 2014s).

These are impressions from about 4 hours of concentrated tasting. I cut down on the number of wines I tried this year, and retasted several listed below to confirm my initial impressions. It was still fast work, and so subject to the limitations of the format.

My favorites of the tasting were:

3 stars (my sweet and dry wines of the event):
2016 Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Auslese
2015 Kunstler Berg Schlossberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs

2 stars, particular standouts:
2015 Kruger-Rumpf Im Pittersberg Riesling Kabinett
2016 Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Dautenpflanzer Riesling Spatlese
2016 Hexamer Meddersheimer Rheingrafenberg Riesling Spatlese
2016 von Winning Ungeheuer Riesling Grosses Gewachs
2016 von Winning Pechstein Riesling Grosses Gewachs
2016 Donnhoff Hermannshohle Riesling Grosses Gewachs
2016 Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Spatlese
2016 Kunstler Domdechaney Riesling Trocken Erste Lage
2015 Kunstler Weiß Erd Riesling Grosses Gewachs
2016 Meulenhof Erdener Treppchen Alte Reben Riesling Kabinett
2016 Meulenhof Erdener Pralat Riesling Spatlese
2016 Loewen Maximiner Klosterlay Riesling Erste Lage
2016 Loewen Maximin Herrenberg 1896 Riesling Feinherb
2016 Vols Wiltinger Braunfels ‘Vols I’ Riesling Spatlese
2016 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Uralte Reben Riesling Spatlese Feinherb
2016 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese
2016 Strub Niersteiner Oelberg ‘Roter Schiefer’ Riesling Feinherb
2016 Strub Niersteiner Bruckchen ‘Herzstuck’ Riesling Kabinett
2016 Strub Niersteiner Hipping ‘Flachenhahl Riesling Spatlese
2015 Brundlmayer Gelber Muskateller
2015 Hiedler Ried Gaisberg Riesling Erste Lage
2015 Schloss Gobelsburg Ried Renner Gruner Veltliner Erste Lage
2016 Ecker Gelber Muskateller

It’s worth noting that there is not one but two Gelber Muskatellers listed above. People need to drink the stuff. Bone dry wine that has a beautiful aroma is a wonderful thing, and needs an audience. Gelber Muskateller is NOT Moscato!

There were a number of other wines that I thought were very good (as in worth buying and drinking!!), but they did not make the next level for me. I sadly did not get to the tables for Goldatzel or Nikolaihof, as every time I was near their areas they were busy pouring for other attendees.

Producers who had a strong set of wines, despite not being on my listing above:

Darting – year in and year out value champion! The entire lineup was solid!
Glatzer – another producer for great value. The Gruner Veltliners and Blaufrankisch were really good. I really want the Blaufrankisch to just quaff over the next year or two.
Alzinger – shocking I know…Muhlpoint Gruner Veltliner and Loibenberg Riesling very good.
Merkelbach – only tasted a couple of wines, but both lots of fun.
Willi Schaefer – also a small number of wines. I really liked the Himmelreich Spatlese.

Overall I found 2016 to be an enjoyable vintage. It does not have the power of 2015, and so perhaps pales through no fault of its own. That being said, it’s got a bunch of really good wines that are worth having in the cellar or just drinking straight off the boat. It’s not a garish vintage, and is in fact very well balanced.

I lost count of how many times I noted the good balance in a wine. It became a given. On the long train ride headed for home it had me thinking about how vintages have been judged. Without something sticking out (“what power!”, “crazy acidity!”), the vintages tend to fly under the radar and get ignored. Vintages get ranked, and more often than not drinkability gets zero points. People lose the value of a glass of wine on the patio with a friend or loved one, or how a wine might complement, rather than dominate, a meal.

I know it sounds like I am making apologies for 2016, but I am not. I am focused on the pleasure of the wines, rather than the attention grabbing features of a given wine. I have an overstuffed wine cellar, and so have to be very selective. If I did not, I would be happy to have a bunch of 2016 wines in the cellar, and buy through the range, from dry to feinherb to sweet.

I would agree with a lot of that - though perhaps with a touch more caution. Having tasted at the bowler tasting last week in addition to this I would add a few more names.

From the Theise - AJ. Adam stood out to me. Overall and in the kabinet/ spat specifically. They have that vitality and wow factor most were missing.

From Bowler: Lieser was again excellent. Even more now with a fuller comparison. As was the schaefer-frohlich lineup.

Another raised hand for Darting. The spatlese could stand up to most others present that day and at a quarter of the price. Drinkable …gulpable…absolutely pleasurable wines from simply some of the sweetest people. Oh and their muskateller and scheu… yum.

Thanks for the detailed comments.

I’ve ordered without tasting again, mostly at the Kab level with a few sweet wines.

I’ll taste in September.

Sadly there was not much left at the Adam table by the time I got there. I should have noted that.

I could be very happy drinking Darting wines (white and red by the way) most of the time.

There is a place in this world for wine that is cheap and delicious (e.g. Darting). It does not need to be scrutinized against Clos Ste. Hune or G-Max. It stands on its own.

For lack of a better descriptor, Adam’s wine tend to seem just a bit heavy to me. (I tend to prefer a more graceful style) Were the wines more light-bodied or did they have more acid to counterbalance the weight or…?

Is it fair to describe this as more of a dry/off-dry vintage than a vintage for the sweet wines? I know that’s an oversimplification, but it seems like the vintage profile might be more useful for the dryish wines rather than the residually sweet.

btw my favs list from the two tastings

Lineups - as mentioned:
Aj Adam

Lieser Graacher Himm. kabinet
Lieser W.S. Auslese
Lieser Niederberg Helden Spat

Sch-Froh Vulkangestein
Sch-Froh Shiefergestein
Sch-Froh Felsneck spat

Spreitzer Hendelberg Alte Reben Trocken
Spreitzer 101 Trocken (insane qpr)
Spreitzer O.L. “303” spatlese

Donnhoff Dellchen GG
Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Spat

Darting (QPR alert of unknown magnitude)
Darting Muskateller Trocken
Darting Durkheimer Hochbenn Kabi
Darting Ungsteiner Herrenberg Spatlese

Lowen Maximin Herrenberg 1896 Trocken
Lowen Maximin Herrenberg 1896 Feinherb

AJ Adam Dhron Hofberg Kabi
AJ Adam Dhron Hofberg Spat

Christoffel UW kabi

S-O Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Spat
S-O Saar Spat (qpr!)
S-O Schmitt

Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Spat (over the Domprobst which i usually prefer)

Merkerlbach U.W. Auslese (#11)

Corey - they had more brightness and vitality than others. i dont know the numbers to say for sure if there was more acid or it just was showing better. i didnt find them heavy at all… but i do tend to like baroque :slight_smile:

David K - as you said - oversimplification.
there was virtually no botrytis - if that helps?

Well if it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it.

i dont… or rather i just blame genetics.

I would say with a large dose of beluga caveats that I liked more dry/dry-ish wines than I usually do, so it was a good vintage for those wines. That was not at the expense of sweeter wines, as can be seen from my list.

Couple of quick things…

  1. Lieser and Schafer-Frohlich are not in the Theise portfolio, so I did not taste them. I did not go to the Bowler event.

  2. I missed a wine that I specifically sought out to taste, and that I really liked: 2016 Minges Pfalz Riesling Kabinett.

David - yeah sorry if i didnt make that clear enough. i meant to.

i am kicking myself for not getting to a few of my fav (and you clearly enjoyed them) but time was an issue.

I was there for 4 and a half hours and still missed some I really wanted to taste!

Thank you David, I thoroughly enjoy reading your Riesling notes. [cheers.gif]

Last Sunday, some friends and I went to Dhron and Leiwen for Mythos Mosel, where we tasted at A.J. Adam and Carl Loewen, respectively. The guest producers at A.J. Adam were Peter Lauer, Materne & Schmitt, and Immich-Batterieberg. At Carl Loewen, it was Maximin Grünhaus, Selbach-Oster, and Hofgut Falkenstein. I agree with David and Mikhail that 2016 is, for the most part, a gulpable vintage. But some producers, like Max Ferd. Richter, said that their 2016s are riper wines. I was extremely impressed by A.J. Adam’s lineup, especially the 2016 Häs’chen Kabinett, which, oddly enough, Terry Theise didn’t select for his portfolio. For me, A.J. Adam and Willi Schaefer have top collections in 2016.