Robert Weil Kiedrich Grafenberg Beerenauslese (375ML) 2003
Riesling from Rheingau, Germany
Wine Spectator - "Like a tropical fruit marmalade, this is thick and flavorful and kept lively by moderate acidity. Dominated by the sweetness today, it needs time to show a full range of flavors. Best from 2008 through 2030."
Robert Weil Winery
Weingut Robert Weil, one of the region's younger estates, is located in the heart of Kiedrich, a village first documented in 950. Its profile is marked by the artworks and architecture of the Gothic parish church St. Valentine, aristocratic Gothic, Renaissance manors, and the tower of Scharfenstein castle, a former residence of the electors and archbishops of Mainz.
The estate cultivates vineyards planted with Riesling and Pinot Noir grapes. Wilhelm Weil, the great-grandson of the estate's founder, carries on the tradition of uncompromising, quality-oriented practices in the vineyards and in the cellars. The historical manor house, the ultra-modern cellars and the vinothek stand side by side in a beautiful park – the same synthesis of old and new that is reflected in the estate’s philosophy of winemaking. View all Robert Weil Wines
About RheingauView a map of Rheingau wineries(RINE-gow)The steep, south-facing slopes overlooking the Rhine river are some of the most enviable in Germany. The region's wines are based almost completely on Riesling and all picking is done by hand. A bit further south than the Mosel, Rheingau grapes get some stronger sun, which is evident by the richer wines produced.
Notable FactsRheingau wines will be found in brown, flute-shaped bottles, and, like all of Germany, adheres to the strict quality levels based on ripeness. Floral and mineral characteristics are commonly found in these wines, with rounder fruit flavors and fuller bodies than wines from its sister in quality, the Mosel. The Rheingau also grows a bit of Pinot Noir (called spätburgunder) for the production of red wines, but these are not found often outside of Europe.
White Wine GuruWith some of the steepest and northernmost vineyards in the world, as well as the coolest climate, Germany produces some of the best white wines in the world, mainly Riesling. Delicate, age-worthy, intense and elegant are the typical descriptions for these wines. Note that “sweet” is not a common descriptor because the idea that most German wines are sweet is just not so. In fact, the majority of wines made in Germany are dry and more recently, the country is exporting value wines that are easy to drink, extremely food friendly and, luckily for some, containing labels that are easier to read!
The classification system of Germany is somewhat confusing. Like the rest of the old world, there's some hierarchy to it all. The categories are: Tafelwien (table wine), Landwein (land wine, similar to France's Vin de Pays) and the first “Q” level, QbA. QbA wines are easy-drinking and inexpensive – the only requirement being that the wine must come from one of Germany's thirteen official wine growing regions. The final level is QmP, which is the strictest level of German wines. The qualification consists of 6 levels, based on ripeness level at harvest, though that does not always translate into sweetness level.
Here are a few definitions to help in picking out a German QmP wine:
Kabinett(cab-ee-NET)The driest level, Kabinett is usually light-bodied, low to medium in alcohol, and fairly dry. Great everyday wine and food-friendly.
Spatlese(shpate-LAY-zuh)Grapes are picked a bit later than Kabinett (Spatlese means late harvest) and have a fuller, more intense body. Most wines of this level are dry although some are off-dry.
Auslese(OWSE-lay-zuh)Wines of this level are made from select grapes harvested even later than Spatlese. The grapes are selected in bunches to make sure they are of the perfect ripeness level. One step up in both body and sweetness, Auslese wines are balanced but with a bit more sweetness – perfect with spicy Indian food.
Beerenauslese(bare-ehn-owse-lay-zuh)The longer the words get, the higher up in sweetness level you rise. Like Auslese, the grapes are selected individually, but while Auslese is selected bunches, Beerenauslese are selected berries, and usually berries affected by botrytis, or noble rot, so you have an even more specific wine, which, in turn, increases both its sweetness level and its price.
Trockenbeerenauslese(trok-ehn-bare-ehn-owse-lay-zuh)Okay, so Trocken means dry in German and yet this wine is the sweetest of the German levels. The "trocken" comes into play as the berries picked for this wine are dried, intensifying the sugars. So the wine is made from late-harvest dried berries affected with botrytis - a combination that makes a decadent (and expensive!) bottle of wine. A treat if you are able to ever try one.
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