Roy Thomson Hall was the scene for the German Wine Fair which is full of producers I can’t pronounce and labels I don’t recognize, and many of which will never see the inside of the LCBO, but it does provide one with a great opportunity to try some of the best white wines in the world. The event was organized into 25 different tasting tables (some having the designation of an A & B at the same table) and 33 producers … organized for the most part in alphabetical order. I found my eyes swimming across names like Valckenberg, Reinhartshausen, Kruger- Rumpf and Kupferberg; and mangling wine and label names, not only in my head but when I piped up to try something, I became self-conscious quickly and began to just point and say “that one” a lot. I find German labels very confusing, now I know the difference between a Kabinett, a Spatlese and an Auslese, but would most consumers? For that matter could you really taste the difference after so many similar wines? Here is a small sampling of what we will be seeing on our shores and in our stores that are worth picking up extra marks if you get the pronunciation right:
The A-Z of German Wines:
August Kesseler/Pieroth has a dry and peachy 2005 Riesling that is currently on the LCBO’s general list shelves … a steal at $10.95 (Pieroth 2005 Riesling #23895).
Balthasar Ress’ 2003 Riesling Auslese Hattenheimer Nussbrunnen ($24.95 – May 27 Vintages Release – 375ml) – honey-peach nose, sweet and lush in the mouth with a beautifully long finish.
Deinhard had two wines I was dying to try, their Riesling Piesporter Goldtropfchen and Lila Riesling Brut (sparkling wine), but somehow they got lost in shipping and didn’t make the show. So a 2005 Beernauslese had to suffice with it’s honey, peach and pear on both the nose and palate. Look for it later this year in Vintages for around the $20 mark for 375ml.
Gunderloch’s 2005 Riesling Auslese Nackenheim Rothenberg will retail for $49.95 and be available November 24, 2007 … if you’re wondering whether it’s worth fifty bucks I’ll tell you this, then you can decide: it has a delicious ripe nose of apples and pears with a minimal amount of petrol and minerality in the mouth and that will develop more over time – good sweetness and it all finishes up with a long appley finish … this one has a “yum factor” of 10.
Franz Reh has a general list Gewurztraminer for $11.65 (#622027), which I found a little on the dry side with some slightly spicy and lemony nuances.
In Vintages currently you can find a 2004 Riesling Kabinett Hochheimer Holle Domdechant Werner’sches Weingut ($18.95 - #722413), which has a finish to match its name – long. Petrol and lanolin notes on the nose, some stone fruit and a touch of sweetness are also present on the more and following through on the taste.
Dr. Loosen himself was on hand to talk about his wines … a rather interesting looking gentleman in his plaid suit, complete with tight fitting waist-coat, a blue and white checked shirt and mismatched tie … but anything from his table was worth trying, absolutely delicious. I don’t care how he dresses, in this case it is not the clothes that make the man, its’ the wines. If you can still find the “Dr. L” Riesling it is a great place to start a love affair with the good, if somewhat eccentric, Doctor. ($13.95 - #599274)
Schloss Reinharthausen has an attractive, eye catching, baby blue label … their wine will also catch the attention of both your nose and mouth totally off-guard. The 2004 Riesling Kabinett Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen is out Saturday April 14 for a bargain of $18.95 a bottle – crisp with mouth watering acidity and great white fruit flavours … this one is very nice.
June 9th will see the release of St. Urban-Hof’s 2005 Riesling Kabinett Piesporter Goldtropfchen at the ripe price of $20.95 – sweet with some petrol, mineral and lots of fruit flavours to drive it all home. I could see lying this one down for 5-plus years and letting it develop further.
Ending the tour of tongue twisting German wines A-to-Z is of course Zilliken, Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken to be exact. With this easy to pronounce and remember 2006 Butterfly Riesling Dry – a soon-to-be-released general list item for $15.95. This one has quite a zingy, citrus taste that is quite lively and refreshing.