Riesling Rendezvous: Producers and Enthusiasts from Around the World Celebrate and Promote this Noble Grape



By Kori ~ July 19th, 2010.

The third Riesling Rendezvous, hosted by Chateau Ste. Michelle of Washington State and Dr. Loosen of Germany, was held last week in the Seattle area. Nearly 70 producers from seven countries and six U.S. states traveled to Washington State to celebrate, explore, and promote Riesling.

While Riesling is enjoying a resurgence of sorts (currently, Riesling is the fastest growing wine in the U.S. market), many consumers still mistakenly dismiss it as being cheap and sweet. In reality, Riesling is one of the most versatile grape varieties. It can be made in many different styles from bone dry to very sweet, reflects the regional character of where it is grown, and is extremely food-friendly. And, it is probably the most age worthy of all white wine varieties.

As a result of discussions that took place at the first Riesling Rendezvous in 2007, the International Riesling Foundation was formed to help consumers better appreciate the many virtues of Riesling. One of their first orders of business was to develop a system to help consumers know what to expect in a particular bottle of Riesling. The IRF created a Riesling Taste Profile which producers may use on their back labels and other merchandising materials. It now appears on over 12 million bottles in the U.S. market. The IRF’s three-year goal is for the Riesling Taste Profile to be the standard for wineries, retailers, and restaurants in the U.S. and other markets where allowed.

Riesling wines will be recognized and demanded internationally as the world’s most noble wines due to their diversity of styles, regional character, consistent quality, and compatibility with food. –Vision of the International Riesling Foundation

I attended all three days of the Riesling Rendezvous, which included a Grand Tasting, blind tastings, and workshops. It was wonderful to have so many producers and enthusiasts from all around the world together for a total Riesling immersion. It was the first time that I had ever focused on a single variety for three straight days. One of my favorite sessions was the Ageability of Riesling workshop, which made a strong case for the age worthiness of Riesling. Look for a future post about that workshop.

A quick look at the breakdown of wines I tasted below indicates the highest quality Rieslings are being produced in Germany and the Alsace region of France and some of the best values (highest QPRs) are coming from Germany and Washington State. Interestingly, this conclusion is consistent with the conclusion of a recent trade survey.

German and Alsatian Rieslings rated highest in quality, Germany high in value (along with Washington). –Trade Survey Conclusion by Wine Opinions

Here’s a breakdown of the wines that I tasted during the Riesling Rendezvous, except those tasted during the Ageability of Riesling workshop that will be included in a future post. Under each Quality heading, the wine name and region will be listed along with price (when provided) and QPR rating. Wines in bold type received a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
2008 Dr. Loosen Riesling Spatlese Urziger Wurzgarten, Mosel, Germany, $30, QPR: 4
2009 Donnhoff Riesling Spatlese Niederhauser Hermannshohle, Nahe Valley, Germany $37.75, QPR: 4
2008 Hugel et Fils Hugel Riesling, Alsace, France, $NA, QPR: NA

Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
2009 Donnhoff Riesling Kabinett Oberhauser Leistenberg, Nahe Valley, Germany $15.10, QPR: 5
2009 Efeste Evergreen Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington, $16, QPR: 5
2009 Glenora Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York, $16, QPR: 5
2008 Donnhoff Riesling Grosses Gewachs Niederhauser Hermannshohle, Nahe Valley, Germany, $17.60, QPR: 5
2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington, $18, QPR: 5

2009 Dr. Loosen Riesling Kabinett “Blue Slate”, Mosel, Germany, $20, QPR: 4
2009 Viento Dry Riesling Columbia Gorge Vineyard, Columbia Gorge, Oregon, $20, QPR: 4
2007 Viento Riesling Select Harvest Columbia Gorge Vineyard, Columbia Gorge, Oregon, $20, QPR: 4
2008 Selbach-Oster Riesling Kabinett Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Mosel, Germany, $24, QPR: 4
2008 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Vignoble d’E, Alsace, France, $25, QPR: 4
2009 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Vineyard Riesling, Frankland River, Western Australia, $27, QPR: 4
2009 Jim Barry Wines The Florita Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia, $29, QPR: 3
2009 Van Volxem Spatlese Pierpointe St. Urbans Hof, Mosel, Germany, $35, QPR: 3
2009 Josef Leitz Rudesheimer Berg Schlossberg Riesling Trocken Alte Reben, Rheingau, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA
2009 Domane Wachau Riesling Smaragd Singerriedel, Wachau, Austria, $NA, QPR: NA
2009 Villa Maria Reserve Dry Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand, $NA, QPR: NA
2009 Forrest Wines The Valleys Dry Riesling, Wairau Valley, New Zealand, $NA, QPR: NA
2005 Lucien Albrecht Riesling Grand Cru Clos Schild, Alsace, France, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Lucien Albrecht Riesling Cuvee Henri, Alsace, France, $NA, QPR: NA
2005 Vins Schoenheitz Riesling Linsenberg, Alsace, France, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Loimer Riesling Steinmassl, Kamptal, Austria, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Becker Steinhauser Auslese Brauneberger Sonnenuhr, Mosel, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Triple Entente Cuckoo’s Nest Riesling, Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, $NA, QPR: NA
2000 Black Star Farms A Capella Riesling Ice Wine, Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, $NA, QPR: NA
2009 Framingham Wines Classic Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand, $NA, QPR: NA
2007 Egon Muller-Scharzhof Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett, Saar Valley, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA
2009 Gysler Riesling Kabinett, Rheinhessen, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA

Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington, $9, QPR: 5
2008 Chateau Grand Traverse Dry Riesling, Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, $12.49, QPR: 5

2008 Viento Riesling Columbia Gorge Vineyard, Columbia Gorge, Oregon, $16, QPR: 4
2008 Efeste Evergreen Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington, $16, QPR: 4
2008 Chateau Grand Traverse Whole Cluster Riesling, Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, $16, QPR: 4
2009 Josef Leitz Dragonstone Riesling, Rheingau, Germany, $18, QPR: 4
2009 Van Volxem Rotschiefer Riesling Kabinett, Mosel, Germany, $20, QPR: 4
2009 Domane Wachau Riesling Federspiel Terrassen, Wachau, Austria, $20, QPR: 4
2008 Hugel et Fils Riesling Classic, Alsace, France, $20, QPR: 4
2009 Loimer Riesling Kamptal, Kamptal, Austria, $20, QPR: 4
2009 Jim Barry Wines The Lodge Hill Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia, $20, QPR: 4
2009 Frankland Estate Poison Hill Vineyard Riesling, Frankland River, Western Australia, $20, QPR: 4
2009 Domane Wachau Riesling Smaragd Terrassen, Wachau, Austria, $25, QPR: 3
2009 Frankland Estate Cooladerra Vineyard Riesling, Frankland River, Western Australia, $30, QPR: 2
2008 Fox Run Vineyards Reserve Riesling Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes, New York, $30, QPR: 2
2006 Dr. Von Basserman-Jordan Riesling Spatlese Deidesheimer Leinhohle, Pfalz, Germany, $30, QPR: 2
2008 Domaine Ostertag Fronholz Riesling, Alsace, France, $40, QPR: 1
2005 Jim Barry Wines The Florita Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Brundlmayer Riesling Zobinger Heiligenstein, Kamptal, Austria, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Clemens Busch Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Marienberg “Falkenlay”, Mosel, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Riesling, Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Pierre Sparr Riesling, Alsace, France, $NA, QPR: NA
2009 Helfrich Winery Noble Tier Riesling, Alsace, France, $NA, QPR: NA
2007 Trimbach Riesling, Alsace, France, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Kuentz-Bas Riesling Tradition, Alsace, France, $NA, QPR: NA
2002 Loimer Riesling Steinmassl, Kamptal, Austria, $NA, QPR: NA
2007 St. Urbans-Hof Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Spatlese, Saar Valley, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Robert Weil Kiedrich Grafenberg Riesling Spatlese, Rheingau, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Bowers Harbor Vineyards Block II Riesling, Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, $NA, QPR: NA
2009 Tesch Riesling Trocken “Unplugged”, Nahe Valley, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Clemens Busch Pundericher Marienburg Riesling “Fahrlay” Grosses Gewachs, Mosel, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Schafer-Frolich Bockenauer Felseneck Riesling Spatlese, Nahe Valley, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA
2007 Ansgar-Clusserath Drohn Hofberger Riesling Auslese, Mosel, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA

Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
2008 14 Hands Riesling, Washington State, $10, QPR: 4
2008 Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York, $15, QPR: 3
2008 Dr. Konstantin Frank Riesling Semi-Dry, Finger Lakes, New York, $15, QPR: 3
2008 Black Star Farms Arcturos Dry Riesling, Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, $16.50, QPR: 3
2008 Robert Weil Riesling Trocken Kiedrich Grafenberg Erstes Gewachs, Rheingau, Germany, $18, QPR: 2
2008 Left Foot Charley 7th Hill Riesling, Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, $18, QPR: 2
2008 Chehalem Reserve Dry Riesling, Willamette Valley, Oregon, $21, QPR: 2
2007 Anthony Road Martini-Reinhardt Selection Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York, $22, QPR: 1
2007 Domaine Ostertag Fronholz Riesling, Alsace, France, $NA, QPR: NA
2009 Arthur Metz Riesling, Alsace, France, $NA, QPR: NA
2009 Espenhof Riesling Trocken “S” Muschelkalk, Rheinhessen, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Rainer Schnaitmann Uhlbacher Riesling Trocken, Wurttemberg, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Schneider Ellerstadter Kirschenstuck Riesling Trocken, Pfalz, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA
2008 Garage Winery Riesling Feinherb “Wild Thing”, Rheingau, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA

Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
2008 Chateau Grand Traverse Dry Riesling, Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, $14, QPR: NR
2008 Chateau Grand Traverse Lot 49 Riesling, Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, $22, QPR: NR
2004 Hugel et Fils Riesling Jubilee, Alsace, France, $NA, QPR: NR
2004 Leon Beyer Riesling Ecaillers, Alsace, France, $NA, QPR: NR
2006 Cave Spring Riesling CSV, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada, $NA, QPR: NR
2009 2 Lads Winery Riesling, Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, $NA, QPR: NA
2009 Gysler Riesling Trocken “S” Rotliegendes, Rheinhessen, Germany, $NA, QPR: NA


Filed under: American Wine, Australian Wine, Austrian Wine, Canadian Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, French Wine, German Wine, Michigan Wine, New York Wine, New Zealand Wine, Oregon Wine, Riesling, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Over $25, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Rick | July 19th, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    “riesling is the number 1 wine in the US market…” really? in total sales? if so, cool–nothing wrong w/riesling. that’s just really surprising.

  2. Kori | July 19th, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Rick,
    That was the note I jotted down during the International Riesling Foundation presentation. However, after reading your question, I replayed my recording of the session to make sure I was correct. It is actually the fastest growing wine in the U.S. market in total sales. My apologies. I’ve edited the post to reflect this correction. Cheers!

  3. Rick | July 20th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    ah–that makes sense. I guess it’s time to “Loosen-Up” and explore this varietal!

  4. Kori | July 21st, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Rick,
    I highly encourage you to explore Riesling more. Being able to try so many different styles from different regions was a real eye-opener for me. I definitely have a new appreciation for the varietal. Cheers!

  5. Urban Enoteca » BEST Wine Bar of 2010 | November 8th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    [...] BEST VARIETAL: Riesling (featured in a number of posts, including Feb 19 andJuly 19) [...]

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