Mosel


I had to insert the term “Last-Minute” to the title of this entry, which I should have posted on Friday or at least yesterday, because here it is, Sunday. Still, wine stores are open today in many states, and there’s always tomorrow. I picture My Readers on an endless whirl of parties, receptions, open houses, brunches, wassails, carol-singing and what-not, giddily essaying the Yuletide with customary joy and merriment. For any or all of these festive occasions you will require a bottle of wine as a present for your host or to contribute to the groaning board. If that’s not — let’s face it — the case, you may still need a bottle of wine to take to the family or friends dinner on Christmas Day. There should be a bottle here or several to suit every taste and credit card, six whites, six reds. The price range starts at $12 and runs to $65, with a cluster right in there at the sweet-spot of $25. As usual in these Weekend Wine Notes, I eschew the otherwise essential and entertaining details of history, geography, personality and technical matters for the sake of brief reviews ripped from the pages of my notebooks. The intention is to pique your interest and whet your palate. After all, no one is saying that you couldn’t obtain a bottle or 12 for yourself. Now let’s be honest. Not every wine is available in every city, town and village of our nation; in fact, not every wine is available in every store in the same principality. You pays yer money and you takes yer choice, as with every aspect of life. Enjoy, in moderation, of course.
These wines were samples for review.
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Heinz Eifel Riesling Kabinett 2017, Mosel, Germany. 8.5% alc. Pale gold hue; a delicately sweet entry, peach and apricot, hint of apple blossom and a whiff of gun-flint; a few minutes in the glass add notes of talc, jasmine and graphite; dry from mid-palate back, nice balance between ripeness of stone-fruit flavors, crisp acidity and a spare texture; finish brings in a touch of earthiness. Very Good+. About $12, representing Good Value.
Imported by Winesellers Ltd., Niles, Ill.
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Inama Vin Soave 2017, Soave Classico, Veneto, Italy. 12% alc. Medium straw-gold hue; damp hay and roasted lemon, notes of grapefruit, preserved lemon and yellow plums, a winsome touch of green apple; bristling acidity for enticing liveliness; brings in hints of lilac and gardenia; very dry, finishing with a snap of gunflint. Feels like a combination of the sea and the mountains. Excellent. About $15.
Dalla Terra Winery Direct, Napa, Calif.
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Vietti “Tre Vigne” 2016, Barbera d’Asti, Piedmont. 14% alc. Opaque black-purple with a lighter ruby rim; loam, leather, tar, black tea; generous and warm, with macerated black cherries and currants and a touch of plum; infused with graphite; lip-smacking acidity cutting through dusty chewy tannins; a ferrous and sanguinary barbera, finishing with an edge of granitic minerality. Loads of personality. Excellent. About $18.
Dalla Terra Winery Direct, Napa, Calif.
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Day Wines Chenin Blanc 2017, Ribbon Ridge, Willamette Valley, Oregon. 12.5% alc. Pale but radiant straw-gold hue; classic notes of hay and heather, quince, Meyer lemon and spiced pear; very dry, with flint-like minerality and invigorating salinity; traces of some astringent mountainside flower and meadowy blossoms; long drawn-out acidity lends vibrancy and freshness. One of the best chenin blanc wines produced on the West Coast. Excellent. About $25.
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Gamble Family Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Yountville, Napa Valley. 13.1% alc. Shimmering pale gold hue; lime peel, quince and tangerine; camellia and lilac; then more tart lemon; brings in notes of lemongrass, heather and celery seed; lovely balance and integration; beguiling talc-like texture riven by taut acidity; a powerful grapefruit-graphite finish. Always one of the best. Excellent. About $25, representing Terrific Value.
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Troon Vineyard Kubli Bench Blanc 2017, Applegate Valley, Oregon. 11.8% alc. 52% marsanne, 48% viognier. Medium straw-gold hue; peach and lychee, quince and ginger, jasmine, tangerine, cloves and nutmeg, all expressed within tissues of nuance; very dry, with scintillating seashell and limestone minerality and a bracing undertone of coastal salinity; wonderful body and texture, talc-like, lithe, flowing with energy and dimension; final notes of lanolin and bees-wax. An extraordinary wine, sleek with personality and character. Excellent. About $25, representing Great Value.
Image from christine-havens.com.
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E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage 2015, Northern Rhone Valley, France. 13% alc. 100% syrah. Opaque black-purple color; classic notes of bacon fat, wet fur and stewed plums; black currants and blackberries; a deep core of lavender, graphite and bittersweet chocolate; real grip on the palate, dry and underbrushy, with fairly rigorous tannins; robust and maybe a bit rustic, but true to form. Anyone serving rack of venison? Here’s your wine. Excellent. About $25.
Vintus LLC, Pleasantville, New York.
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Trimbach Reserve Pinot gris 2014, Alsace. 13.5% alc. Medium straw-gold color; peach and pear, jasmine and honeysuckle, touches of lemon, quince and yellow apple; lemon balm and almond skin; slightly honeyed on the palate, from the ripeness of the fruit, but totally dry; clean, spare and elegant, animated by crisp acidity. Crystalline and beguiling. Excellent. About $26.
Esprit du Vin, Boca Raton, Fla.
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Finca Decero The Owl and the Dust Devil 2015, Mendoza, Argentina. 14.5% alc. (Gets my vote for most inventive wine name of 2018.) 39% cabernet sauvignon, 32% malbec, 19% petit verdot, 10% tannat. Very dark ruby-purple shading to a transparent magenta rim; ripe and spicy black currants and cherries with a touch of plum; a robust blend, offering real grip and traction on the palate; dynamic acidity and a muscular texture sustained by stalwart, dusty tannins; finishes with austere notes of loam, lavender and bittersweet chocolate. Instructions for dinner tonight: Grill steak. Open bottle. Excellent. About $33.
Vintus LLC, Pleasantville, N.Y.
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Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir 2016, Carneros. 14.2% alc. Transparent medium ruby-magenta with an ethereal rim; a pinot noit of lovely balance and integration; cloves and allspice, black currants and cherries with a touch of loam; incredibly supple and satiny, juicy and succulent; brings up notes of red cherries and raspberries, then hints of iodine and graphite. Excellent. About $42.
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Chateau Faugeres 2012, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classe, Bordeaux. 14% alc. 85% merlot, 10% cabernet franc, 5% cabernet sauvignon. Dark black-purple with a light purple rim; spiced and macerated black currants and cherries; notes of lead pencil, cedar and tobacco, cloves and nutmeg; dense and supple and lithe; becomes both riper and more minerally; opens to touches of lavender, violets and a hint of licorice; lovely balance and integration. Beautifully made, and perfect for a standing rib roast and Yorkshire pudding. Excellent. About $45.
Adrian Chalk Selection, M.S. Walker Inc., Summerville, Mass.
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Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc 2015, St. Helena, Napa Valley. 14.2% alc. Opaque black-ruby with a transparent purple rim; smolders with smoke, dried thyme and rosemary, black currants and raspberries, lavender and lilac, grated cloves and nutmeg; dry, dense and chewy, but offering ripe and juicy berry flavors; great tone and presence on the palate, lots of graphite and dusty, furry tannins; opens traces of blueberry, cedar and tobacco. A terrific Napa Valley interpretation of the grape. Excellent. About $65.
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I’m not going to write a dissertation about what wines to drink with your Thanksgiving feast. Many other critics and reviewers already did that and do so every year. The basis for their advice lies in the fact that for this ceremonial repast Americans tend to prepare a contradictory cornucopia — Note to Self: Name of next rock band! — that encompasses so many flavors, spices, textures and varying levels of sweetness that the conundrum is veritably impossible to unknot. The criteria wisely lean in this direction: Moderate alcohol level, good acidity and little or no oak. Now I like to serve riesling with Thanksgiving dinner, one that balances a hint of sweetness on the entry with a dry finish and features tasty citrus and stone-fruit flavors with plenty of minerality in the background. Here’s a good candidate. I picked up a bottle of the St. Urbans-Hof Bockstein Ockfen Riesling Kabinett 2015, from Germany’s Mosel region, on sale at a local retail store a couple of days ago. The distributor was closing out this vintage to make room for the 2016, and the owner of the store bought everything the distributor had. Good Move! The color is medium straw-gold, and it is indeed a golden wine, sunny and appealing in its spice-laden notes of peach, lychee and lime peel, adding a touch of roasted grapefruit with hints of apple and apricot nectar; your taste-buds detect a hint of sweetness at first, but that element segues to dryness from mid-palate through the finish, aided by prickling acidity and a burgeoning quality of limestone and flint minerality. All of these notions coalesce into a riesling that deftly balances ripeness with a steely backbone. 8 percent alcohol. Now through 2020 to ’22. Excellent. Prices around the country range from $18 to $23; I paid $13.

An R. Shack Selection for HB Wine Merchants, New York.

The vineyards of Germany’s Mosel region lie steeply stacked in terraces above the river that gives the area its name. From these vineyards, established primarily on Devon slate and blue slate, and through the gorges of the Saar and Ruhr rivers, derive some of the world’s most delightful rieslings. Our Wine of the Day is the Joh. Jos. Prüm Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett 2016, Mosel, a wine of infinite delicacy and ethereal weight that nonetheless reveals a barely discernible earthy aspect. The Prüm family has been a presence in the village of Wehlen for almost a thousand years. The 20-hectare estate was founded in its present form in 1911 by the eponymous Johann Josef Prüm, passed to his son Sebastian in 1920 and hence to his grandson Manfred in 1969. Manfred Prum and his daughter Katharina run the estate today on “eco-friendly” principles. The vineyards are planted 95 percent to riesling vines. Indigenous yeasts are used in fermentation. Annual production is about 15,000 cases.

The Joh. Jos. Prüm Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett 2016 — the village is Bernkastel, the vineyard is Badstube — displays an ephemeral hue of very pale green-gold; elusive notes of green apple and pear tantalize the nose and taste buds, delicately unfurling hints of lime peel, cloves and jasmine, with touches of almond skin and lilac. The wine, which is quite dry, is animated by bright acidity and skates along a shelf of profound limestone minerality that feels crystalline in its chiseled transparency, while an intriguing damp/earthy/loamy touch coolly inhabits the mid-palate and finish, like dusty flint distilled into a tear. 9 percent alcohol. A truly lovely riesling, as fine-boned and elegant as a china teacup. Now through 2020 to ’22. Excellent. I paid $28, the average national price.

A Rudi Wiest Selection, Cellars International Inc., Carlsbad, Calif.

The Saarstein Riesling 2013, Mosel, falls into the Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA) category of German wines, meaning “quality wine from a specified region,” in this case, the Mosel, as indicated on the label. The grapes for this wine derive from younger vines, and at this level, the names of vineyards and villages are not listed. And yet what a shining, golden riesling this example is, drinking beautifully at about four years old and certainly with several years of pleasure left to impart. The color is pale, shimmering light gold; aromas of ripe peaches, pears and quince are infused with a strain of apricot nectar, opening to notes of lychee, jasmine and honeysuckle. Slightly honeyed stone-fruit flavors are carried by a texture that’s half lush, half lithe, and brightly animated by brisk acidity; modestly sweet and juicy on the entry, the wine slips into dry mode from mid-palate back through a finish dominated by flinty minerality and a touch of bracing salinity. 9.5 percent alcohol. Now through 2019 to ’21. We happily drank this bottle with swordfish marinated in lime juice, soy sauce and olive oil with a minced ginger-garlic rub, seared in a cast-iron skillet. Excellent. About $16, representing Fine Value.

Imported by Valckenberg International, Tulsa, Okla. A sample for review.

loosen riesling spatlese
Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese 2011, Mosel, Germany, is not the current release of this wine from the distinguished estate; that wine would be the 2015. However, I was sent the 2011 version by the generous people at Wines of Germany, who have supplied we with eight examples of German wines — two each quarter — for many years. How often do we get to try a wine with almost six years of development under its belt? Not too damned often! The name of the vineyard means “spice garden”; the village where it lies is indicated by the name Ürziger. The wine was made from vines that average 60 years old; it fermented and aged in a combination of stainless steel tanks and large old foudres. The color is glowing medium gold; aromas of slightly honeyed peaches and apricots are woven with notes of ginger and quince, cloves and sandalwood, smoke and loam. Though moderately sweet at the entry, the wine is riven by bright and shining acidity that segues to dryness from mid-palate back through the crystalline finish; it’s sleek and satiny, lovely, lively and delicate altogether, and the ripeness and luxury of baked stone-fruit flavors are balanced by damp stone-wet leaf earthiness at the core. 8 percent alcohol. Drink now through 2022 to ’25 with spicy Southeast Asian cuisine, charcuterie, pork chops with chilies, veal roasted with apples or, paradoxically, with the least sweet of desserts, a shortbread cookie, biscotti or fruit compote. Excellent. About $32.

Imported by Loosen Bros. USA, Oregon City, Oregon. A sample for review.

The St. Urbans-Hof Nik Weis Wiltinger “Alte Reben” Kabinett Riesling 2015, Mosel, is a thrilling example of the riesling grape offered suhwar12frontat a remarkably fair price. How old are the old vines — alte reben? They originate in a vineyard established in the early 1900s, with some of the vines dating back that far. The soil sits on Devonian slate with a high iron-content that lends the wines a profound sense of minerality. The wine is made all in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts. The color is a shimmer of pale straw-gold; the wine is fresh and bright and tends toward brilliant immediacy of effect in its notes of jasmine and honeysuckle, peach and lime peel, lemongrass and green apple bolstered by a burgeoning element of flinty-limestone. The spicy stone-fruit flavors display a slightly honeyed element, but the wine is totally dry, enlivened with chiming acidity and crystalline minerality of intense focus and purity, all leading to a finish animated by graphite and grapefruit. The wine’s texture and structure, lithe and balletic, flow across the palate like liquid money. 10.5 percent alcohol. I cannot say enough how exciting this riesling was to drink, how much it felt like an embodiment of the spirit of the grapes and place where they were grown. No, it does not possess the depth of character of a “Grand Cru” vineyard, but, wow, what a fabulous, scintillating surface it conveys. It was perfect with a soup of cabbage, pork and shiitake mushrooms with lots of garlic and ginger that I made last night. Excellent. About $18, a Crazy, Raving Bargain.

An R. Shack Selection, for HB Wine Merchants, New York.

So, here it is, My Readers, the annual “50 Great Wines” roster, presently for the past year, that is, 2016. Not the “Greatest” of all wines or the “Best” of all wines, but a selection of 50 products that struck me as embodying everything we want in a wine: freshness, balance, appeal; depth, personality and character; an adherence to the nature of the grapes and, where possible, the virtues of the vineyard and climate. These are wines that leave aside the ego of the winemaker and producer for an expression of — not to sound too idealistic — an ideal of what a wine should be. I won’t belabor the process by which I arrived at this list of 50 wines, except to say that every wine I rated “Exceptional” during 2016 is automatically included. Did I leave out wines that I truly admired? Indeed, I did, because this list focuses on wines that I truly loved. Enjoy!
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Acorn Heritage Vines Alegria Vineyard Zinfandel 2013, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County. 78 percent zinfandel, 12 percent alicante bouschet, 8 percent petite sirah and 2 percent a combination of carignane, trousseau, sangiovese, petit bouschet, negrette, syrah, black muscat, cinsault and grenache. A real field blend. Production was 548 cases. Excellent. About $45.
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gratien
Alfred Gratien Brut Rose nv, Champagne, France. Excellent. About $65.
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Arrow&Branch Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Napa Valley. Exceptional. About $35.
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Black Kite Cellars Soberanes Vineyard Chardonnay 2014, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County. Production was 212 cases. Exceptional. About $48.
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Bonny Doon Bien Nacido X-Block Syrah 2012, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County. Exceptional. About $50.

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R. Buoncristiani Vineyard Orentano Pinot Noir 2012, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County. 305 cases made. Excellent. About $40.

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Les Cadrans de Lassegue 2012, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux. Merlot and cabernet franc. Excellent. About $35.

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Champ de Rêves Pinot Noir 2013, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County. Exceptional. About $45.

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chartogne
Chartogne-Taillet “Heurtebise” Blanc de Blancs Brut 2008, Champagne, France. Exceptional. About $65 to $80.

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Domaine Chignard “Beauvernay” 2014, Julienas, Beaujolais Cru. Excellent. About $22.

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Cornerstone Cellars Michael’s Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Napa Valley. Production was under 250 cases. Exceptional. About $75.

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Erath Winery Prince Hill Pinot Noir 2012, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon. Excellent. About $50.

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Etude Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014, Sta. Rita Hills. Exceptional, About $45.

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eve-essence
Eve’s Cidery Essence Ice Cider, Finger Lakes, New York. 390 cases produced. Exceptional. About $28.

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fields
Fields Family Wines Old Vine Zinfandel 2013, Lodi. 250 cases made. Excellent. About $28.

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gamble
Gamble Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Napa Valley. Exceptional. About $25.

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Tenute Cisa Asinari Marchesi di Grésy Martinenga Camp Gros Riserva Barbaresco 2010, Piedmont, Italy. Exceptional. About $106.

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inman-ogv
Inman Family OGV Estate Pinot Noir 2013, Russian River Valley. Excellent. About $73.

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Jayson Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Napa Valley. Exceptional. About $75.

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luscher
Luscher-Ballard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley. 200 cases produced. Excellent. About $80.

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Lutum La Rinconada Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013, Sta. Rita Hills. Production was 225 cases. Excellent. About $50.

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MacPhail Wightman House Pinot Noir 2013, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County. Production was 100 cases. Exceptional. About $55.

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alsace-1
Frederic Mallo Vielles Vignes Rosacker Riesling 2010, Alsace Grand Cru. Excellent. About $23.

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Merisi Wines Denner Vineyard Petite Sirah 2013, Lake County. 100 cases produced. About $35.

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Chateau Montelena Riesling 2015, Potter Valley. About $25.

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Chateau La Nerthe 2014, Chateauneuf-du-Pape blanc. 40 percent each grenache blanc and roussanne, 10 percent each clairette and bourboulenc. Excellent. About $65.

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Patz & Hall Vineyard Hyde Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012, Carneros-Napa Valley. Excellent. About $70.

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Pine Ridge Le Petit Clos Chardonnay 2013, Stags Leap District, Napa Valley. Excellent. About $75.

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Pol Roger Extra Cuvee de Reserve Brut Rose 2004, Champagne, France. Excellent. About $80-$100.

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Prieure de Montezargues 2014, Tavel Rose. 55 percent red and white grenache, 30 percent cinsault, 13 percent clairette, 2 percent melange of syrah, mourvedre, carignane and bourboulenc. Excellent. About $24.

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red-newt
Red Newt Cellars Tango Oaks Vineyard Riesling 2013, Finger Lakes, New York. About $24.

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Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Josephshoff Riesling Kabinett 2012, Mosel, Germany. Excellent. About $23.

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Robert Mondavi Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Napa Valley. 81 percent cabernet sauvignon, 13 percent cabernet franc, 2 percent each malbec, petit verdot and merlot. Excellent. About $60.

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2014 Romb_SB_f+b_v5
Rombauer Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Napa Valley. Excellent. About $24.

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Saxon Brown Durell Vineyard Hayfield Block Pinot Noir 2012, Sonoma Coast. Fewer than 100 cases. Exceptional. About $48.

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Sedition Chenoweth Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County. 230 cases produced. Exceptional. About $75.

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The Seed Malbec 2014, Altamira District, Uco Valley, Argentina. 59 cases made. Excellent. About $60.

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Smith-Madrone Chardonnay 2013, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley. Production was 806 cases. Exceptional. About $32.

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Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County. Exceptional. About $35.

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Stony Hill Chardonnay 2013, Napa Valley. Production was 1,852 cases. Exceptional. About $45.

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Three Sticks Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013, Sonoma Coast. 585 cases produced. Exceptional. About $65.

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tongue-dancer
Tongue Dancer Wines Pinot Noir 2013, Sonoma Coast. Production was 125 cases. Exceptional. About $45.

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troon
Troon Vineyards Vermentino Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Applegate Valley, Southern Oregon. 80 percent vermentino, 20 percent sauvignon blanc. 176 cases produced. Excellent. About $24.

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2-sheps
Two Shepherds Catie’s Corner Viognier 2014, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County. Production was 75 cases. Exceptional. About $26.

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Two Shepherds Pastoral Blanc 2013, Russian River Valley. 12.9% alc. Roussanne 50%, marsanne 25%, viognier 13%, grenache blanc 6%, grenache gris 6%. Production was 100 cases. Exceptional. About $30.

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Two Shepherds Trimble Vineyard Carignan Rosé 2015, Mendocino County. Production was 50 cases. Exceptional. About $22.

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Williams Selyem Westside Road Neighbors Pinot Noir 2014, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County. Exceptional. About $55.

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poete
Guillaume Sorbe “Les Poëte” 2014, Quincy, Loire Valley, France. Sauvignon blanc. Exceptional. About $30.

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windracer
WindRacer Pinot Noir 2012, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County. 1,007 cases produced. Exceptional. About $50.
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Zena Crown Vineyard Conifer Pinot Noir 2013, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon. Production was 240 cases. Excellent. About $75.

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Hahaha, Readers, it’s a trick question, the answer to which is not “yes or no” but “yes and no.” It’s a truism of the wine industry that German wine regulations are the most confounding and confusing in the world. Since 1971, when the laws were codified, revisions have occurred several times, including in 2009 under the dictates of the European Union. Every wave of alterations promises to make matters easier on consumers, but those good intentions tend to fly out the window and leave things just as muddled as they were before. My goal today is not to give My Readers a complete lesson on German wine regulations and how to read the label on a bottle of German wine but simply to clarify the points of the so-called Prädikatswein, renamed from Qualitätswein mit Prädikat (QmP) (superior quality wine) in 2007. The catch is that this category dies not guarantee the “superior quality” of the wine in the bottle but indicates the level of ripeness of the grapes and the relative time of harvest, giving consumers a rough guide to the sweetness of the wines.

Kabinett – implies fully ripened grapes from the main harvest, meaning not late-harvest, typically semi-sweet with crisp acidity, but can be dry if designated so.
Spätlese – meaning “late harvest,” typically half-dry, often (but not always) sweeter and fruitier than Kabinett. The grapes are picked at least 7 days after normal harvest, so they are riper.
Auslese – meaning “select harvest,” made from very ripe, hand selected bunches, typically semi-sweet or sweet, sometimes with some noble rot character.
Beerenauslese – meaning “select berry harvest,” made from overripe grapes individually selected from bunches and often affected by noble rot, making rich sweet dessert wines.
Eiswein (ice wine) — made from grapes that have been naturally frozen on the vine, making a very concentrated and indubitably sweet wine.
Trockenbeerenauslese – meaning “select dry berry harvest” or “dry berry selection,” made from overripe shriveled grapes often affected by noble rot making extremely rich sweet wines. “Trocken” in this phrase refers to the grapes being dried on the vine rather than the resulting wine being a dry style.

So, the five wines discussed today all carry the Kabinett designation, all exhibit various levels of sweetness on the entry but slide into dryness from mid-palate back through the finish because of the sometimes exquisitely bright acidity and the presence of mitigating limestone and flint minerality.

Unless otherwise indicated, these wines were samples for review.
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Dr. Pauly Bergweiler Wehlaner Sonnenwehr Riesling Kabinett 2014, Mosel. The color, so to speak, is pale pale bergweilerephemeral gold; aromas balance green apple, peach and pear, lychee and honeysuckle. In the mouth, this hovers delicately between medium dry and medium sweet; the texture floats cloud-like softness riven by bright acidity to a dry, faceted finish laden with hints of loamy earthiness and intense limestone minerality. 8.5 percent alcohol. Now through 2018 to 2020. Very Good+. About $22.
Winesellers Ltd., Niles, Ill.
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Weingut Darting Durkheimer Hochbenn Riesling Kabinett 2014, Pfalz. The overall impression of this very pale dartinggold-hued riesling is of fine-boned delicacy and chiseled elegance; notes of peach, lychee and petrol offer petals — as it were — of lilac and jasmine, while lively acidity keeps the wine animated and flowing on the palate and nicely balanced with a tendency toward dryness. Drink up. Very Good+. About $20, a local purchase.
A Therry Theise Selection, Skurnick Wines, New York.
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thanisch
Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett 2015, Mosel. The color is very pale straw-gold; notes of lychee and peaches are highlighted by jasmine and honeysuckle, quince and crystallized ginger, with undertones of petrol and cloves. It’s slightly honeyed, a bit over-ripe but well-balanced by chiming acidity and a dry finish etched with limestone; currents of earth keep it grounded. 8.2% alcohol. Now through 2019 or ’20. Excellent. About $22.
Winesellers Ltd., Niles, Ill.
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Georg Albrecht Schneider Niersteiner Paterberg Riesling Kabinett 2013, Rheinhessen. A golden wine, vibrant in its schneiderpale gold color, rich in aromas of apples, pears and spiced peaches, jasmine and honeysuckle; yes, it’s sweet, like a nectar of honeydew and apricots, but it glides into dryness across the palate, where it funnels into a finish hewn from limestone and flint; a few moments in the glass add notes of rubber eraser, ginger and quince. It’s a lively, vibrant, irresistible wine packed with personality. 8.5 percent alcohol. Now through 2021 to ’23. Excellent. About $15, an Incredible Bargain.
Winesellers Ltd., Niles, Ill.
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jj_prum_graacher_kab_11_750
Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett 2011, Mosel. Opens with a shimmering pale gold color and continues with a nose that’s earthy and musky, distinctive with notes of green apples and spiced pears, with a burgeoning effect of ripe peaches, jasmine and a whiff of petrol; the pungency and redolence are beguiling and authoritative. A moderately sweet entry segues into total dryness, abetted by blazing acidity, from mid-palate back through the finish, where a scintillating limestone and flint element dominates. 9.5 percent alcohol. Now through 2020 to ’23. Excellent. About $36, a local purchase.
A Rudi Wiest Selection, Cellars International, San Marcos, Calif.
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The Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Josephshöff Riesling Kabinett 2012 derives from one of the german 2smallest crops in Germany’s Mosel region in 30 years. A small crop, however, though inevitably leading to smaller production, can also imply more concentration and intensity, certainly true of this shimmering, glistening wine. The color is moderate pale gold; scents of white pepper, mango, spiced pear and baked apple unfold to whiffs of fennel, quince and ginger, layered with notes of damp limestone and flint. It’s a completely lovely and complex wine, silky and supple, slightly creamy, as befits the ripeness of its fruit, yet lithe and dynamic, in sync with its bright acidity and scintillating limestone minerality. Above all, it’s a golden wine, faintly honeyed despite its dry character, replete with the aura of yellow fruit and meadow flowers, and finishing with exotic spice and a fillip of pink grapefruit. 11 percent alcohol. Drink this exquisite riesling, which should darken and burnish with age, through 2020 to 2022, properly stored. Think pork tenderloin, roasted veal shoulder, trout amandine, grilled sausages. The estate dates to 1349. Excellent. About $23.

Imported by Valckenberg international, Tulsa, Okla. A sample for review.

You know how writers and reviewers sometimes specify the kind of apple and the species of pear that they detect in a wine’s aromas? My usual reaction to that sort of detail is, sotto voce, riesling“Yeah, right, sure.” I swear, though, that my first reaction to the Robert Eymael Mönchhof Riesling 2014, from Germany’s Mosel region, was, “Golden Delicious apples and Anjou pears.” Then slightly baked and roasted Golden Delicious apples and Anjou pears, with hints of lychee and peach, cloves and jasmine. The wine — offering a pale straw-gold hue — is fresh, clean and appealing, just barely sweet, more ripe with stone-fruit goodness than overtly sweet, yet displaying a touch of honeyed quince and ginger in the background. From mid-palate back, the crystalline acidity kicks in, as well as a scintillating element of flinty minerality, keeping the wine on a tasty and even keel. It would take a heart of stone not to find this riesling absolutely delightful. 9.5 percent alcohol. The estate goes back to 1171, with Cistercian monks, but the Aymael family acquired it in 1804, purchased from Napoleon. Robert Eymael is the sixth generation of the family to run the property. The wines are produced 70 percent in stainless steel tanks, 30 percent in large, old oak casks. Drink as a charming aperitif or with slightly spicy Asian cuisine, pork roast with apples, wiener schnitzel or charcuterie. Excellent. About $18, a local purchase; prices around the country start as low as $12 and go up to $20.

Rudi Wiest Selections, Carlsbad, Calif.

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