Tuesday, September 3, 2013

best of riesling Competition, 2013, Germany

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with best of riesling 2013 Winner Fred Loimer, Weingut Loimer, at the 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, USA, see: The World of Riesling in Seattle - Fourth Riesling Rendezvous in Washington State, USA

The best of riesling competion 2013 took place earlier this year in Neustadt and der Weinstrasse in the Pfalz region in Germany. Apparently, best of riesling has become an annual event. Until 2012, it was a bi-annual event.

best of riesling is organized by the Meininger Verlag in Neustadt, with the Ministry of Wine of the Land Rheinland Pfalz backing the event. Note that the Land Rheinland Pfalz has a Ministry of Wine! While last year, I was honored to participate in the final tastings of the competition as a judge, this year, I was not able to attend.

For earlier events see:
Best of Riesling 2012 - The Winners, Germany
Judging at Wine Competitions in Virginia (USA), Pfalz (Germany) and Rheinhessen (Germany) 
Judging at “best of riesling 2012” in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse in Germany
Best of Riesling Awards 2010
“Hoffest” (Winery Party) at Weingut Heinrich Baison in Hochheim, Rheingau - Best of Riesling 2010 Award Winner
Best of Riesling Awards 2008


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. 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.

Dry and Sweet Riesling

Many wine drinkers, in particular outside of Europe, when they see a Riesling in the shelves, have the association of a sweet-style wine. This is however misguided. Rieslings as a rule are dry wines. Of course, there are the famous sugar sweet Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, Eiswein and Schilfwein wines from Austria and Germany, the Sélection de Grains Nobles from France, the icewines from Canada and other Rieslings, made from botrytized, dried or frozen grapes.

The grapes that go into these wines have such a high sugar content that there is nothing you can do to make dry wines out of these grapes. They inevitably produce nobly sweet wines. But apart from these specialty wine, which account for only a tiny share of total production, Riesling grapes in Germany, Austria, Alsace, the US and Australia have normal sugar content at the time of fermentation and tend to produce dry wines, when fully fermented.

However, modern cellar methods allow winemakers in Germany (and elsewhere) to produce wines with a bit of residual sugar with these grapes. These are exceptional wines, essentially made by not letting the fermentation going its full course so that natural sugar remains in the wine. Alternatively, German winemakers are allowed to add sweet-reserve (sterilized grape juice) to increase the sweetness level in the wine, but today, this is mostly done, if at all, for fine tuning the residual sweetness. These fruity-sweet wines are the wines that are so popular among the fans of German wine in the world. These sweet-style wines have lost popularity in Germany, although there appears to be a comeback, but in any case remain very popular outside of Germany, for example in the US. Anyway, they are very present in Germany’s export markets, but account only for a small share of total German wine production. Steffen Christmann, the President of the VDP, the German elite wine maker association, estimates that 95% of German wine beyond a price point of Euro 15 is dry.

Winners and Special Prizes 

The wines were judged in 5 categories:

Category I – dry - up to 12,5 % alcohol
Category II – dry - over 12,5 % alcohol
Category III – medium dry
Category IV – fruity sweet with up to 80 grams per liter residual sugar
Category V – noble sweet with more than 90 grams per liter residual sugar (Botrytised wines and Eiswein)

In each of the 5 categories, a first, second and third place winner was selected.

In addition, special prizes were awarded for the:
(1) Best European Riesling not of German origin, in Category I or Category II.
(2) Best steep slope Riesling in Category I or Category II.
(3) Best New World Riesling in Category I or Category II.
(4) Best large production, entry-level Riesling in Category I or Category II.

best of riesling Winners and Special Prizes

Category I ( dry - up to 12,5 % alcohol)

1. Platz:
2012 Riesling Saar Qualitätswein Mosel, trocken Weingut Willems-Willems; Konz

2. Platz
2012 Riesling Erste Lage Ruppertsberg Reiterpfad Qualitätswein Pfalz, trocken , Weingut von Winning, Deidesheim

3. Platz
2011 Riesling Königsbacher Ölberg Spätlese Pfalz, trocken, DLR Staatsweingut mit Johannitergut, Neustadt

Category II (dry - over 12,5 % alcohol)

1. Platz
2011 Riesling Großes Gewächs Forst an der Weinstraße Pechstein Qualitätswein Pfalz, trocken, Weingut von Winning, Deidesheim

2. Platz
2011 Riesling vom Urgestein Reserve Qualitätswein, Niederösterreich, trocken, Respiz-Hof Kölbl, Röschitz, Österreich

3. Platz
2011 Riesling Langenlois Seeberg Erste Lage Kamptal, DAC Reserve Niederösterreich, trocken, Weingut Loimer, Langenlois

Category III (medium dry)

1. Platz
2012 Riesling Burrweiler Altenforst Kabinett Pfalz, halbtrocken, Weingut Otmar Graf, Weyher

2. Platz
2012 Riesling „S“ Ingelheimer Steinacker Qualitätswein, Rheinhessen, halbtrocken, Ökoweingut A. F. Werner, Ingelheim am Rhein

3. Platz
2012 Riesling Zenit Bruttiger Götterlay Spätlese Mosel, halbtrocken, Weingut Klein-Götz, Bruttig-Fankel

Category IV (fruity-sweet)

1. Platz
2012 Riesling Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten Spätlese Pfalz, süß, Weingut Müller-Catoir, Haardt

2. Platz
2012 Riesling Oppenheimer Sackträger Auslese, Rheinhessen, süß, Weingut Kissinger, Uelversheim

3. Platz
2012 Riesling Spätlese Rheinhessen, süß, Weingut Gunter und Ute Weinmann, Wörrstadt

Category V (noble sweet)

1. Platz

2012 Riesling Winterbacher Hungerberg Eiswein, Württemberg, edelsüß, Weingut Ellwanger, Winterbach

2. Platz
2011 Riesling Würzburger Stein Trockenbeerenauslese, Franken, süß, Weingut Juliusspital,

3. Platz
2011 Riesling Zinkler Trockenbeerenauslese Pfalz, edelsüß, Weingut Heiner Sauer, Böchingen

Special Award: Best Steep Slope

2012 Riesling Bopparder Hamm Ohlenberg Kabinett Mittelrhein, trocken, Weingut Weingart, Spay, Mittelrhein

Special Award: Best European Non-German

2011 Vom Urgestein Reserve Riesling Qualitätswein Niederösterreich, trocken, Respiz-Hof Kölbl, Röschitz/Österreich

Special Award: Best New World Riesling

2012 Pewsey Vale Riesling Eden Valley South Australia, The Yalumba Wine Company, Angaston, Australia

Special Award: Best Large Production Entry-level Riesling

2012 Riesling Roter Hang Niersteiner Qualitätswein Rheinhessen, trocken, Weinkellerei Reh Kendermann, Bingen

schiller-wine - Related Postings

Judging at “best of riesling 2012” in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse in Germany

Best of Riesling Awards 2010

“Hoffest” (Winery Party) at Weingut Heinrich Baison in Hochheim, Rheingau - Best of Riesling 2010 Award Winner

Best of Riesling Awards 2008

Judging at Wine Competitions in Virginia (USA), Pfalz (Germany) and Rheinhessen (Germany)

1st International Riesling Symposium, Rheingau, Germany

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

German Wine Basics: Sugar in the Grape - Alcohol and Sweetness in the Wine

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

The Focus on Dry German Riesling – Daniel Hubbard Presents the German DSWE Portfolio to the German Wine Society (Washington DC Chapter)

The Wines of Franz Kuenstler from Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany

The World of Riesling in Seattle - Fourth Riesling Rendezvous in Washington State, USA

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