Thursday, March 31, 2011

5 Rieslings on the Wine Spectator Top 100 List of 2010

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Jean Trimbach in Ribeauville in Alsace

The Wine Spectator released its Top 100 Wines 2010 list a few weeks ago. It is not so much a list of the best wines, but more a list of the wines that were most successful in the American market in the year 2010. It is a subjective selection and ranking of the Wine Spectator, on the basis of 4 criteria: (1) the tasting results, i.e. the quality of the wine, (2) the price-quality-ratio, (3) how the wine sells in the American market and (4) how “excited” the jury is about the wine. About 16.000 wines were tasted and about 4.000 of them scored more than 90 points on the 100 points scale. The Wine Spectator is the most influential wine journal in the US. 5 Rieslings made it to the Wine Spectator 2010 Top 100 List.

Riesling in the World

Worldwide, there are about 34.000 hectares planted with Riesling. Germany – with 22.400 hectares – accounts for 2/3 of the total. The second largest Riesling producer is Australia, with 4500 hectares. But this is only about 1/10 of the total. Nevertheless, Australia was a bit underrepresented at the 1st International Riesling Symposium. Alsace follows with 3500 hectares. Austria, the US with Washington State and New York State as well as New Zealand make up the remainder. But overall Riesling is really a niche wine, accounting for only less than 1 percent of total wine production in the world - but a very special niche wine.

The 5 Rieslings on the Wine Spectator 2010 Top 100 List

St. Urbans-Hof – Riesling Kabinett 2009 Ockfen Bockstein

Number 57, Germany, Mosel , 92 Points, $19

A Weingut in the Mosel valley that was established about 50 years ago. It is now owned and run by the founder’s grandson, Nik Weis. One of the Top 16 German wine makers in the Feinschmecker ranking. Most of the elegant, fine and light wines are exported. 30 hectares.

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Nik Weis in Berlin

Schloss Vollrads - Riesling Kabinett 2008

Number 70, Germany, Rheingau, 91 Points, $20

Schloss Vollrads is a historical monument and one of the art-historical highlights of the Rheingau region in Germany. It is also one of the oldest wine estates in the world; wine sales have been documented as early as 1211 and ever since. Schloss Vollrads is a rather large estate by German standards, with 60 hectares of vineyard land, and produces exclusively Riesling wines. Owned since 983 by the Archbishop of Mainz and since the 1218 until 1997 by the family of Greiffenclau, the heirs of the Lords of Winkel; now owned by a local government owned bank.

Schloss Vollrads has a very nice wine tavern, where I like to go during the weekend when I am in Frankfurt am Main. It is just 30 minutes from Frankfurt by car.

Picture: Schloss Vollrads in the Rheingau

Robert Weil - Riesling trocken QbA 2009 Kiedrich Turmberg

Number 81, Germany, Rheingau, 93 Points, $48

A top producer of Riesling wines, in particular fruity sweet and noble sweet wines, who is well presented in the major wine markets in the world. One of the Top 16 German wine makers in the Feinschmecker ranking. Owned by the Japanese Suntory company and Wilhelm Weil, the fourth generation of the founding family. A rather large estate by German standards, with 75 hectares of vineyard land.

I have met Wilhelm Weil recently at the 1st International Riesling Symposium, Rheingau, Germany and have written about it here.

Picture: Wilhelm Weil with Jancis Robinson and John Dade Thieriet (Dee Vine Wines, San Francisco) at the 1. International Riesling Symposium in the Rheingau

Trimbach - Riesling Reserve 2008

Number 62, France, Alsace, 92 Points, $25

“All French 3 star Michelin Restaurants carry Trimbach wine” says Jean Trimbach. This is really impressive and clearly shows what the name Maison Trimbach stands for today: Wines of the highest quality. Maison Trimbach is very export-oriented with more than 85 percent of the production being exported. It is both a domaine and negociant, thus it produces wine sourced from own vineyards (40 hectares) and from lease contracts (60 hectares).

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Jean Trimbach in Ribeauville

The Trimbach wines come in 4 quality groups: (i) the Classic range, (ii) the Reserve range, (iii) the Reserve Personelle range and (iv) the Prestige and Collection wines. The Reserve wines are made from sections with mostly old vines. These are more complex wines than the Classic wines and can age longer.

I have visited Maison Trimbach in Alsace and have written about it here.

Hermann J. Wiemer, - Riesling Finger Lakes, Dry Reserve, 2008

Number 97, US, New York State, Finger Lakes, 91 Points, $23

The Hermann J. Wiemer 2008 Riesling Dry Reserve is the first Finger Lakes Riesling in history, and the only American Riesling to reach this years Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines list. Hermann J. Wiemer is regarded as one of the pioneers of viticulture and winemaking in the Finger Lakes region in upstate NewYork. He was born and raised in Germany, and arrived in the US in 1968. His first wine was released in 1980. In the 30 years since then, the winery has been lauded as one of the nation’s premier white wine producers, in particular of Riesling. I have written about Hermann J. Wiemer in my "German Winemakers in the World" series.

Picture: Hermann J. Wiemer Estate in the Finger Lakes Region

Hermann J. Wiemer has retired a few years ago. Today the winemaking process is managed by Hermann J Wiemer’s long-term winemaker Fred Merwarth who has worked closely with Hermann as one of his winemakers for the last 8 years.

schiller-wine - Related Postings

With Jean Trimbach from Domaine Trimbach, Alsace, at Bart M. Vandaele’s Belga Café in Washington DC

Visiting Jean Trimbach at Maison Trimbach in Ribeauville in Alsace

In the glass: Hugel et Fils wines at the cuisine des emotions de Jean Luc Brendel at Riquewihr in Alsace

In the world class white wine region Alsace

Jean Trimbach and the Wines of Maison Trimbach in Washington DC

German and Austrian Wines in the Wine Spectator Top 100 2010

German Spaetlese Wines Can Come in Different Versions. I Have Counted Five.

Phil Bernstein’s Third Annual German Riesling Tasting with the German Wine Society, Washington DC Chapter - Rieslings With a Touch of Sweetness

Visiting Agnes and Fritz Hasselbach at their Weingut Gunderloch in Nackenheim, Rheinhessen, Germany

Visiting Weingut Josef Leitz in Ruedesheim – Johannes Leitz is Germany’s Winemaker of the Year, Gault Millau WeinGuide 2011

1.International Riesling Symposium

Impressions from the Riesling & Co World Tour 2010 in New York

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

Terry Theise's Top German Wines of the 2009 Vintage

Impressions from the Riesling & Co World Tour 2010 in New York

JJ Pruem Goes Supermarket: Meeting Katharina Pruem and Tasting the Incredible JJ Pruem Wines at Wegmans

Riesling in South Africa

German Winemakers in the World: Hermann J. Wiemer, 1900/2000, Finger Lakes, US

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