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August Kesseler R Riesling Kabinett 2015
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
When August Kesseler took over his parents' establishment, which was founded in 1924, he was only 19 years old. Traditionally, mostly bulk wine was produced and the vineyard area was just over six acres. Today, under August's guidance, the estate has become one of the flagship producers of the Rheingau area and has also acquired a high international reputation. The estate spans 80 acres of vineyards located in some of the best Rheingau sites, such as Assmannshäuser Höllenberg, Rüdesheim Berg, Schlossberg, Lorchhäuser Seligmacher, Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen, and many more. They produce 60% Riesling and 40% Pinot Noir and are a member of the VDP and the German Barrique-Forum. Max Himstedt is the estate’s most experienced and ambitious winemaker, who pushes forward the production of world-class wines. For several years August Kesseler and especially Max Himstedt have been joined by another ambitious and young oenologist, Simon Batarseh. Together with the entire team, Simon will lead the estate into the future. Thus, the course is set to keep producing quality wines at the highest level.
This sunny and relatively dry region served for many years as a German tourist mecca and was associated with low cost, cheerful wines. But since the 1980s, it has gained a reputation as one of Germany’s more innovative regions, which has led to increased international demand.
A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining easily identifiable typicity. This versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes region of New York.
In the Glass
Riesling typically produces wine with relatively low alcohol, high acidity, steely minerality and stone fruit, spice, citrus and floral notes. At its ripest, it leans towards juicy peach, nectarine and pineapple, while cooler climes produce Rieslings more redolent of meyer lemon, lime and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of petrol.
Riesling is quite versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice) and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.
It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.