I’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time in Germany, yet Rieslings never quite made it to the top of my preferred grape list. The best are pricey and many too acidic for my palate. When I buy, I generally buy Kabinetts as that distinction indicates the driest dinner-style wine coming from the vineyard/producer. I have many fond memories of German Late Harvest wines: Spatlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein. Nothing ends an evening of great food and fellowship better, and nothing compares when elegantly made, and when I still have some money in the bank after leaving the cash register. However, the 2010 Dr. H. Thanisch, Erben Müller-Burggraef Riesling “plain ole” QbA from the Mosel (Moselle) is quite lovely – estate-bottled and classified “Qualitätswein, or “QbA” denoting the distinction from a Kabinett.
In the glass the wine is golden, no pale lady here. The nose is intoxicating, rich with peach and pear essence. Ripe pear bursts on the back palate and lingers. Grapefruit, more peach, spicy and a hint of currant add to the seduction. Beautifully balanced, with fresh acidity, vibrant minerality and none of the sticky sweetness too often associated with Riesling or the lesser varietals from the area. The wine is dry, thanks to the Thanisch policy to pick QbA grapes at almost Kabinett-level ripeness. Alcohol: 11.5%
There are two Dr. H. Thanisch producers now. In the late 1980′s the family split the estate. The wine reviewed here is Wwe. Dr. H. Thanisch Erben Müller-Burggraef.
You’ve heard of grape vines growing out of rock, slate? This photo above is from the Dr. H. Thanisch Erben Müller-Burggraef Berncasteler Doctor vineyard, one of the most famous, if not the most famous, in the world for Riesling. Many of the vineyard slopes owned by family have a slope gradient of more than 60%. Mechanical harvesting is impossible. The photo below is of owner Barbara Rundquist Muller standing in the Berncasteler Doctor vineyard in the Middle Mosel behind (and far above) the village of Bernkastel-Kues. This area is among some of the most beautiful on the planet.
Due to the sheltered position of the Mosel valley, it is part of the warmest climactic zones in Germany. The capability of the Mosel River and the soil to store heat and reflect sunlight, minimizes photosynthesis, making winegrowing possible in this, otherwise very cool region.” ~ Barbara Rundquist-Muller. Read more.
The 2010 vintage in the Mosel was excellent, and in fact, the area has had 10 outstanding vintages in a row through at least 2010. This wine I see priced from $17 to $25 across the InterTubes. It should remain a beauty for another 5 to 7 years.
Maybe you, like I, think you have no interest in Rieslings, but really, doesn’t Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc get just a bit boring after awhile? If you like dry white wines, this particular Riesling will make your palate happy (I’m pretty sure) and it is entirely food friendly – seafood, chicken, many pork dishes, appetizers or just a glass on the patio. My interest in Riesling is newly stirred. My thanks to Milton, Wine Manager at Parkhill’s Liquor and Wine Warehouse in Tulsa.
Pronunciation Tips – forget the fancy accents, say it as you see it (not perfect, but suitable for shopping in the U.S. without embarrassment):
Auslese: (Ouss-lay-zah) (hint: ouss rhymes with house)
Berncasteler Doctor (Bearn-cass-tler Dock-tor)
Berncastel-Kues: (Bearn-cass-tell Coos)
Mosel: (Mows-el) (tip: Mows rhymes with sews)
Sauvignon Blanc: (Sew-ven-yawn Blawnk) (tip: sew rhymes with tow) (tip: ven rhymes with ben) (tip: yawn rhymes with lawn) blawnk has the ‘law’ sound in it – blawnk, rhyming with clonk. In France, Blanc does not sound the ‘c,’ so it is heard as Blan with a slight nasal ‘n’ sound. In the U.S. ‘blawnk’ is appropriate.
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