Friday, November 20, 2009

Top 100 of the Wine Spectator 2009 include Wittmann and Loosen Rieslings

Picture: Wine Maker Philipp Wittmann from Rheinhessen/Germany

The Wine Spectator released its Top 100 Wines 2009 list today.

The Number 1 wine is:

2005 Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State/US

Two German wines made it to the list.

2008 Loosen Riesling QbA, Dr. L, Mosel, Number 62, 90 points, $12

2007 Wittmann Riesling QbA Trocken, Weingut Wittmann, Rheinhessen, Number 87, 93 points, $48

Weingut Loosen is well known in the US. Ernst Loosen produces in a joint venture with Chateau Ste. Michelle the famous Eroica in Washington State.

Weingut Wittmann is one of Germany's rising stars. He also got the Best White Wines Award of the Eichmann wine guide 2010. In Germany, there are three influential wine guides, the Eichelmann, the Gault Millau and the Feinschmecker. The Eichelmann was just released, with the following awards:

Best white wines: Wittmann in Westhofen
Best red wines: Franz Keller in Vogtsburg-Oberbergen
Best noble-sweet wines: Horst Sauer in Escherndorf Franken
Shooting star of the year: Raumland in Floersheim

Wittmann is from Rheinhessen, which is the largest viticultural region in Germany. Every fourth bottle of German wine comes from Rheinhessen. About one third of Rheinhessen’s agricultural area is cultivated with vines, more than 26000 hectares. The high-yielder Mueller-Thurgau accounts for about 1/5 of the vineyards, and Silvaner and Dornfelder both for 1/10. Riesling is on the backburner. Unlike in other German wine regions, where monoculture of the vine is the norm, here the many rolling hills are host to a wide variety of crops grown alongside the grape. Rheinhessen also has the rather dubious honor of being considered the birthplace of Liebfraumilch.

At the same time, Rheinhessen is at this time among Germany’s most interesting wine regions. A lot is happening there. This is not because of the terroir, but because of the people. There is an increasing group of ambitious and dynamic winemakers who want to produce and indeed do produce outstanding wine and not wines in large quantities. Weingut Wittmann is one of them and, along with Weingut Keller, leading the group of wine makers in Rheinhessen, who now produce sensational white wines.

Some of the ambitious, young winemakers from Rheinhessen have formed the message-in-the-bottle group, on which I have reported here.


  1. Interesting Blog posting by Doug House a few weeks ago.

  2. Barnard Griffin 2008 Riesling (Columbia Valley) ranked #66 on the WINE SPECTATOR magazine Top 100 Wines 2009.

    Under $10 a bottle. Fabelhaft!

  3. Rob Hansult wrote on my facebook:
    BRAVO! Dr. Loosen & Wittman!!
    BUT . . . I want to hit the "DISLIKE" button on the Wine Spectator site!?!
    No Leitz, Spreitzer, Weil, JJ Prum, Dr. Pauly, Haag, Haart, Egon Muller, Van Volxem, Maximin Grunhauser, Donnhof . . . ??!?!?? . . . and this after having only 3 German Wines on 2008's list!
    I understand the market - Us Lovers of these Dry & Sweet marvels are (comparatively) few, but this is a glaring mistake, IMHO.