With the number of new German wines on the market in recent years, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices available. But as we famously say at the office, “The wine list is one thing; the wine is another.”
German wine’s reputation for producing big, steely, dry wines is well deserved. But with the exception of the legendary Riesling, few are able to maintain this level of austerity—or produce wines that taste great—for long. While the modern German wine industry is relatively young, and far from perfect, it’s nonetheless worthy of a closer look, especially in the light of the Riesling’s recent resurgence in the United States.
All of the wines from this story have the same potential, but still have different nuances. And even after all the variables are accounted for, there is still a tendency for the wines to drift from their regular personality.. Read more about riesling wine and let us know what you think.Großes Gewächs (GG) is the highest German appellation that can be used for grape varieties like Pinot Noir and Sylvaner. The most common, however, is Riesling.
These German Rieslings are always vinified dry, with acidity often described as crisp. Exceptional quality also means that these wines are meant to age.
Here are eight GG Rieslings you can enjoy now or keep in your cellar.
Maximin Grünhäuser 2019 Abtsberg GG Riesling (Mosel); $70, 97 points. The influence of the flint and river pebbles gives this dry Riesling a brilliant, steely hue. Compared to the youthful, almost tropical appeal of the 2019 Herrenberg GG producer, the lime and grapefruit flavors of the Abbotsberg are invigorating and immediate in their youth, but hint at a depth and elegance that should reward aging. It is better to wait at least until 2024. It is expected to remain in operation until 2035 and even longer. Loosen Bros. USA. Selection in the basement. -Anna Lee K. Iijima
Schäfer-Fröhlich 2018 Bockenauer Stromberg GG Dry Gold Cap Riesling (Nahe); $125, 97 points. Harvested from volcanic soil, it is a smoky, intensely mineral wine, accented by veins of lime and lemon. It is pungent and concentrated with clean, pristine citrus aromas, yet powerful and strong on the finish. This is a powerful, dry Riesling that should peak from 2023 and last until 2040. Collection of German wines. Selection in the basement. -A.I.
Ökonomierat Rebholz 2018 Kastanienbusch GG Riesling (Pfalz); $125, 96 points. A rare example of the red slate soils of the Palatinate, this dry, richly structured Riesling balances zesty gooseberry and grapefruit flavors against a dry earth and spice background. Spicy and poignant, this majestic wine deserves a few more years of aging to show its full color. The peak is between 2023 and 2040, but is likely to be longer. Collection of German wines. Selection in the basement. -A.I.
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Zilliken 2019 Rausch GG Riesling (Mosel); $80, 96 points. This dry wine, from the famous Saarburg Rausch vineyard, is a sweet wine with haunting concentration. Despite its light body, this is a ripe Riesling with an almost creamy texture and juicy flavors of white peach, grapefruit and red berries. In keeping with the vintage, this wine is a much richer, extracted expression of Saar, but retains a hint of steel and earth. Suitable today, but should improve by 2035 and last even longer. Loosen Bros. USA. Editor’s Choice. -A.I.
Dr. Loosen 2018 Ürziger Würzgarten Alte Reben GG Dry Riesling (Mosel); $54, 95 points. Deep waves of smoke and spice permeate this dry, smoky Riesling. Infused with bright lemon and grapefruit flavors, the flavor has a rich texture, but also a solid, firm base. Tasted in early 2021, it is nervous and reserved in its youth, but should gain nuance and depth from 2023 and develop beautifully through 2035 and beyond. Loosen Bros. USA. Selection in the basement. -A.I.
Fritz Haag 2019 Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Trocken GG Riesling (Mosel); $58, 95 points. Tones of nectarine and apricot are tart and tangy in this full-bodied but vital and rejuvenating dry Riesling. Tasted young, it is deliciously fresh and fruity, full of lime acidity and shimmering mineral nuances. By 2035 and probably longer, this wine should gain in intensity, tonal complexity, and texture. Loosen Bros. USA. -A.I.
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Schloss Johannisberger 2018 Silberback Trocken GG Riesling (Rheingau); $90, 95 points. Riesling with subtle aromas of spring flowers, smoke and raspberries. The profile is fine but well defined, punctuated by layers of bright white peach and grapefruit and a bold, intense core of cut. It’s quiet when young, but it should have depth and last even longer, until 2030. Freixenet Mionetto USA. Editor’s Choice. -A.I.
Prinz von Hessen 2016 Johannisberger Klaus Grosses Gewäches Riesling (Rheingau); $45, 93 points. Enticing aromas of smoke, hazelnut and dried sage mingle with juicy lime and lemon. It is dry and fleshy, but calibrated, with clear veins of acidity and minerality. The situation is expected to improve by 2030 and persist thereafter. Folio Fine Wine Partners. -A.I.
Published on the 9th. June 2021
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