Josef Leitz Rudesheimer Berg Kaisersteinfels Riesling 2012
Riesling from Rheingau, Germany
The wine is derangedly good, utterly euphoric fragrance; quartz, flowers and balsam, it's the stunning blue-eyed bride of the handsome Rottland groom; the girl is frisky and wicked-smart, and cool as he is he hardly can believe she's there at his side. It (or she) is beguilingly charming—for a moment there's nothing you'd rather be doing than drinking this very wine, you can hardly bear to put the glass down, the wine is so ludicrously delicious, interesting and long.
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "Sumptuous aromas of white peach, melon, pineapple and lemon oil. Delicately sweet passion fruit is framed and lift by bracing saline minerality. A delicately woven bacon spice animates the long finish of one of the finest off-dry rieslings of the vintage."
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About Rheingau(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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