Grandly Aged "Grand Growth" Rieslings (and Grosse Gewächse) from 2004 and 2005

As the frequent reader of my Blog you might have realized: I am not too much into dry Riesling – at least publicly, of course! I suppose there are plenty of writers with far more expertise and indeed better stomach lining. So there is no immanent need for my blather about Riesling. 

However, today I would like to make an exception. Last Friday evening I met up with four friends, most of them far more enthusiastic about this admittedly grand varietal, to drink some German and French dry "Grand Growth" Rieslings from the vintages 2004 and 2005. Names like Wittmann, Trimbach, Keller, Breuer, Zind-Humbrecht, Dönnhoff, Kühn and Emrich-Schönleber speak for themselves. I suggest, just have a look …

Maison Trimbach's Cuvée Frédieric Emile Riesling 2004 from Alsace showed pure Riesling colouration. A pretty bright colour for its age and origin, with plenty of midget sediments. Its nose was dominated by lean and very straight fragrances of cool lemon, lemon tea, lilac, some aloe vera and beautifully stern and profoundly gripping characteristics of limestone (perhaps imagined). Its taste showed a strong imprinted by limestone as well. The very lively and well balanced green herbs of fennel, aloe vera, sage etc. in combination with elegant flavours of very cool and crisp seeming lemons were able to touch me vinophil soul to a certain extent. Besides that the Frédieric Emile showed a very invigorating and well fitting acid. For me a fantastic ****** and very forthright kind of dry Riesling. The group score was 91,0 points. My rating was 92 points.

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht’s Clos Windsbuhl Riesling 2005 from Alsace showed a hue which was close to a decent bright orange. Its nose was overall very complex, pretty sweet for a dry Riesling and really ripe without being over-oxidized. The dominant fragrances were ripe lemons and oranges incl. a hint of tart zest, cinnamon, rock sugar, diffuse brown herbs, very mild incense and traces of predominately tart pastry. The taste was dominated by ripe lemon’y and orange’y fruit flavours, some honeysuckle, cinnamon, rocky sugar, a hint of nutmeg and very mildly roasted nuts. The taste was intensely complex, a bit thick and showed some shortage in acid. The main qualities of this Alsatian were tis impressive complexity and its particular ripe characteristics (here very well integrated in the overall pattern). For me a downright very decent ***** pretty classical Alsatian Riesling. The group score was 90,7 points. My rating was 91 points.

Weingut Keller’s Dahlsheimer Hubacker GG Riesling 2004 from Rheinhessen showed a very vital bright yellow colour and plenty of particles. Its nose was overall very reserved and appeared surprisingly young. A lot of serious stone sniffing and green-yellow grapefruit action was going on. I liked the nose in its more shy and retreated style. The taste showed very ripe, almost a bit brown’ish, fruit flavours (at a very juvenile stage) with a hint more sweetness than most of the other Rieslings. Besides that it appeared rather bold and showed plenty of muscles and richness. But it’s richness wasn’t chubby or super fruitful. There was a lot of vital powerful pressure and strong limestone profoundness on my uvular. A real powerful crusher, I guess! In my opinion there is great substance and plenty of life ahead. The actual fruit flavours weren’t my favorite characteristics of this wine. Perhaps they need a bit more integration. Overall a very powerful, for me a bit too powerful, Grosses Gewächs Riesling. Anyway, a downright very decent ***** Riesling. The group score was 92,0 points. My rating was 90 points.

There is not so much to write about Weingut Breuer’s Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg Riesling 2005 from Rheingau region. Almost perfection might summarize it best! In every aspect. The colour was vital, radiant, a bit lush and seductive. The nose was kind’a really perfect. It was magnificently balanced, sublimely elegant, touchingly complex and tantalizingly blossomy. I better stop with those cheesy description – in short: it was just absolutely stunning! Its taste was very very impressive as well. It showed grand balance, filigree structure and exuberant lean complexity. This stuff may tell you what dry Riesling can offer! You just got to listen! Besides its shy slate’y charateristics there was plenty of spice from Melissa, vervain and sage. The fruitful flavours very dominated by mild lofty cherries and mildly spicy lemons. Its pronounced and lean-airy finish was just grand. The best Schlossberg I ever had. And surely one of the best dry Rieslings in my life so far. Semi-celestial ******* stuff. The group score was 95,1 points. My rating was 95 points. 

Dönnhoff's Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle GG Riesling 2004 from Nahe region showed surprisingly juvenile seeming reflexes of bright clear yellow-green colour. The nose was really boarded up. There was quite a lot of smoke, shy and very serious and a bit stern herbs and indications of sublime lemon aromas (mostly a forecast). The taste was far more open, however really young and full of vigor. The skillful slate'y touch was evident on every µm of my tongue. Plenty of serious and well balanced smoke as well as lush'ly stern lemon fruit made this wine a down-right fantastic ****** experience. Very much Dönnhoff Hermannshöhle! Just the way I adore it! The group score was 93,35 points. My rating was 93 points.

Emrich-Schönleber's Monzinger Halenberg Lay GG Riesling 2004 Versteigerungswein also from Nahe region show a radiant bright yellow colour with distinct tendencies towards green. The nose was downright wonderfully filigree, elegant and complex. Very infatuating! It was a kind of nose I couldn't stop sniffing. On the palate there were nuances of elegance and sublimity. In contrast to the nose it was far more bold, fruitful and juicy. There was even quite a lot of tropical action going on. Plenty of life and much flesh on the bone, too. I liked the nose a bit more. For me by a close margin a fantastic ****** Grosses Gewächs Riesling from relatively young vines. The group score was 93,9 points. My rating was 92 points.

At the start we had some problems with the hyper wet cork in Wittmann‘s Westhofener Morstein GG Riesling 2004 bottleneck. Luckily the wine turned out to be absolutely fine. Its colour was lush, colourful and by far not overaged. Its nose was really creamy-round, nicely fruitful, a bit ample and enriched with fragrances of vanilla from imagined oak. The taste showed very balanced and pretty typical ample qualities of a great Rheinhessen Riesling. It appeared very accessible, downright stone fruit oriented and very well equipped with smoothness, richness, some deepness and pure beef. Not so much spice or sublimity in my opinion. Surely, in a very good shape at the moment. I enjoyed it very much, although those rich characteristics weren’t me. In my opinion an absolutely very decent ***** Rheinhessen Riesling. Group rating was 93,2 points. My rating was 91 points.

Peter Jakob Kühn's Oestricher Doosberg GG Riesling 2004 from Rheingau showed a slightly faint amber coloured hue. Its nose was dominated by fragrances of ripe oranges, rock sugar, obvious traces of sherry and more scents of strong oxidation. The taste was rather bitter-sweet and showed hardly any acid. The dominant palatal flavours were ripe oranges, herbs, traces of vanilla-cream and various sherry aromas. I guess crow caps (!) aren't the best way to insure a long life. Very challenging and mostly oxidized wine. Either no rating or an adventurous so la-la *** rating. The group rating was 83,0 points (or flaw) and one clear flaw. My rating was 84 points. I am probably an adventurous fellow.

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