Riesling: German vs French? (beginner)

I recently discovered a love for dry riesling. I’ve tried three, and only two wow’d me. Both were from Germany.

I had the Künstler at a restaurant and was moved by it. That led me to finding the Dr. Burklin Wolf in a bottle shop, and I enjoyed it, too. I then branched out to France with all the recommendations for Trimbach, and it seemed different. I’d say it was more sweet, viscous and pineapple’y. Which isn’t a bad flavor, but wasn’t the dry/acidic/minerality that I enjoyed in the German expressions.

My intent was to try different dry Rieslings, and my understanding is all three of these are. The Trimbach says “sec” on the back, so I’m looking to see if this means I like German vs French riesling, or instead, if I didn’t line up the best comparisons. If that’s the case, where should I venture within Trimbach and/or Alsace/France?

Thanks for any guidance on some potential next steps :slight_smile:

I linked the best Cellar Trackers for each of the three wines, however the labels for the German ones don’t match what I purchased. So here’s photos of the actual bottles.

Well “Sec” is dry. I haven’t tasted any 2020 Trimbach wines yet, but perhaps a riper year for Alsace than the Rheingau and Pfalz in Germany for 2020. Alsatian Rieslings tend to be “fuller bodied” IMO even when they are dry. Perhaps try an Austrian Riesling, as they also tend to be fuller/richer than their German counterparts. That might help isolate your preferences. Also try looking for a Trocken from the German Mosel region. Those tend to be even brighter than the two German examples you tried.

Some additional experiments will help form a clearer path.


Trimbach is usually pretty lean for Alsace, and dry. Trying a lot more wines as David recommended is going to be necessary to get a handle on your preferences. Try a variety of producers in Austria and regions in Germany. A couple more Alsatians will be instructive too, even if it’s just to reinforce that you don’t prefer Alsace. Barmes-Buecher and Weinbach make nice, reasonably priced Rieslings that are worth a shot (could be slightly off-dry). You might start to find that you prefer or don’t prefer certain countries/regions, but it will take a lot more tasting to figure that out. Have fun!

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Thanks a bunch for this! Will continue exploring :slight_smile:

While you’re around, any chance you can share a few producers from Germany that might be the most “typical “ (the most likely to say “yep, I like dry German Riesling”)? Kind of like the suggestions for the Alsatians.

There are a lot of stylistic differences in Germany depending on region and producer. That said, try to source a dry wine or two from Dönnhoff or Schafer-Frohlich (Nahe region), and/or Hofgut Falkenstein or perhaps Immich-Battereiberg (Mosel region). There are many more options, but those come off the top of my head.


To add to David’s excellent suggestions:


Dry German Riesling is too broad a category to like or not as a whole. Most of my favorite dry Rieslings are German, but there are some that I don’t like very much at all. For me, the sweet spot is Nahe/Rheinhessen, but that might not be the case for you.


Dry, or sec, or trocken or any word to that effect when it comes to Riesling has a completely different meaning then it has for any other wine. Dry in Riesling-speak only means “it’s dry compared to all the other Rieslings out there - or to the winemakers palate”. It doesn’t necessarily mean dry.

If you’re looking for truly dry wines (and I define that as no perception of sweetness), you just have to walk into the spinning blades and bludgeon yourself until you find out which particular wines fall into that category (and you won’t find many in Europe). There is no other way, unfortunately.

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Be aware that Adam believes that deserts are wet. :wink:

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Some nice choices there I usually prefer riesling a bit older I found there to be a bit of a learning curve with the labels brother in law speaks fluent german and lived in berlin it helped if

Some names to try

Egon muller

Willi schaefer

French and german different and different classification

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If you’re interested in exploring further, the Finger Lakes area of New York produces some good, dry, mineral-driven riesling.