Hermann J. Wiemer 2008 “Magdalena Vineyard” Riesling; better with food

Don’t let the title fool you, this wine rocked on it’s own, but the Wiemer 2008 “Magdalena Vineyard” Riesling ($36) is definitely a food wine. I tasted the wine originally at TasteCamp, where I bought a couple of bottles to bring home with me. I’m glad I bought two, wish I had bought more, but I couldn’t resist popping one open the other night. I hope I can hold on to the other one for a few years because I would love to see how this ages. Megan had made a mushroom, broccolini, carmelized onion and Piave cheese Quiche, that I thought the Magdalena would sing with, so I popped it open. I was right, the richness of the quiche was a perfect pairing for the acidity and complexity of the Riesling.  The flavor profile matched my notes from TasteCamp, but I didn’t note the acidity to be quite as high. (for the reason in the previous sentence, plus it was compounded with the acidity of the previous 5 wines)

The specifications for the 08 Magdalena aren’t up on on the Wiemer website, as the wine wasn’t exactly released yet. I do know it’s 100% Riesling that is all estate grown.

The wine provides lots of tropical undertones, with the addition of kiwi notes and a splash of fresh squeezed limeade. Great acidity, perfect for rich dishes, great slate/stone minerality and a bit of a chalky note on the back of the palate with a touch of green banana at the finish.

If you are a Riesling fan, definitely seek this wine out.


Categories: $30-$40, riesling, wine review | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Taste NY – A blind tasting of Finger Lakes Riesling

Last night I had the opportunity to taste 12 Finger Lakes Rieslings, as part of Taste NY, organized by Lenn Thompson of The New York Cork Report. I’ve actually been sitting on these wines for a while and finally got off my butt and organized the tasting. In attendance were some of my wine geek friends, 2 of which are wine distributors, a co- worker at my shop, and a manager from another wine shop in town, as well as my wife (six in total). I assembled this group, one, because I knew they would take it seriously, and two because we all enjoy Riesling. In addition to the 12 from the Finger Lakes, I threw in one from Virginia to mix things up. The wines were all tasted blind, and we used the 20pt scoring system.

The Results…

2008 Stick Dog Riesling – VA

2008 Billsboro Dry Riesling – FL

2006 Red Newt Cellars Reserve – FL

2008 Anthony Road Semi-Dry Riesling – FL

2008 Lamoreaux Landing Red Oak Vineyard – FL

2008 Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Homestead Reserve – FL

2006 Sheldrake Point Reserve – FL

2007 Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling – FL

2006 Ravines Wine Cellars Riesling – FL

2008 Fox Run Vineyards – FL

2007 Wiemer Vineyards Dry Riesling – FL

2007 Atwater Vineyads Dry Riesling – FL

2005 Heron Hill Old Vines Riesling – FL

As you can see the Virginia wine won, but only by a nose, which was a HUGE shocker. Before tasting, I honestly thought the NY wines would blow it away. Plus the top 5 were not separated by much, here are the scores for the top 5, based on the 20pt system.

  1. 14.83
  2. 14.00
  3. 13.75
  4. 13.67
  5. 13.5

Overall the wines that scored highest were the ones that showed a balanced presentation of fruit, acid and body. The ones that didn’t show well had out of balance acidity, creating bitter, chemical tasting off-notes. A general comment that went around the table was as if the wines had been manipulated with acid, in an exaggerated way. I don’t know enough about those vintages but understand ’08 was a pretty good one for Finger Lakes Riesling and shouldn’t have required acid additions.

We all had fun, and enjoyed the opportunity to taste so many wines that we don’t see here in Virginia too often.

A special thanks to Lenn for including me in Taste NY and to all the wine makers who sent samples of their wines for me to evaluate. Stay tuned for a future post on some specific tasting notes for some of the wines!


Categories: riesling, wine review | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

A great Riesling from New York, and not from the Finger Lakes

I had the pleasure of meeting Roman Roth in Long Island during Taste Camp in May, while he led us through a fabulous tasting at Wolffer Estate. While Roman is the head winemaker for Wolffer, he also makes wines under his own label “Grapes of Roth”. I had the opportunity to taste his Grapes of Roth Merlot and absolutely loved it and Roman was nice enough to grab me a bottle of the sold out 2002 from his secret stash. In addition to Merlot, Roman has been bottling a Riesling since 2007 under his label.

A couple of weeks ago I received a nice email from Roman asking if I would like to try the 2008 Riesling ($22) and of course I jumped at the opportunity. One, because I love Riesling and two, because I enjoyed his Merlot so much.

The grapes for 2008 Riesling come from two separate vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island – “The fruit source for this Riesling is 68%Split Rock Vineyard, located just east of Greenport, owned by Michael Kontokosta. The location on the far end of the North Fork with its pronounced maritime influence is particularly important. The cooling breeze is perfect for Riesling, preserving a lively acidity, yet allowing excellent maturation and ripening of the grapes. 32% is from Martha Clara Vineyards, located in the warmer Riverhead area, bringing fourth wonderful richness” – Roman Roth

grapesofroth_rieslingMy Tasting Notes:

nose: tangerine, dried apricot, honey, banana peel

taste: apricot, pear, orange zest, slate, star fruit

mouthfeel: full body with tons of acidity

finish: long with just a kiss of sweetness to brighten up the fruit

I drank this with some vegetarian tacos and it paired very well. Overall both Megan and I were impressed by the wine and Roman’s German heritage is evident in the wine. If I had one complaint about the wine it would be that I didn’t get any of the classic petrol notes that I really enjoy in my Riesling. Other than that, the touch of sweetness helped make the fruit more vibrant and rich but was balanced by the racy acidity that ran across the palate. I plan on grabbing a couple more bottles when I head up to Long Island in October.


Categories: $20-$30, riesling, wine review | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Don’t need a Reason to enjoy Riesling

Over the past couple of years I have really come to enjoy Riesling, slightly sweet and rich, bone dry and mineral driven and somewhere in between, Rieslings are a truly fabulous wine. I have had a couple of Rieslings in the past two weeks that are on pretty opposite ends of the spectrum, although not as far apart as the could be. One, is the 2003 Pewsey Vale “The Contours” and the other was the 2007 S.A. Prum Blue Slate Kabinett. The first from the Eden Valley in Australia and second from the Mosel in Germany, far away in latitude as well as taste.

pewseyvale2003 Pewsey Vale “The Contours”

Region: Eden Valley Australia

Price: $25

Nose: Mineral, lime, citrus, touch of honey

Taste: hints of peach with lime and slate

Mouthfeel: crisp and razor sharp, bone dry

Finish: loads of minerality, lasting for a while

saprum2007 S.A. Prum “Blue Slate” Kabinett

Region: Mosel, Germany

Price: $21

Nose: petrol, smoke, peach pits, tangerine

Taste: honey, violets, peach, mineral, petrol

Mouthfeel: medium to full bodied, good acid and slightly spicy, but round and lush in the mid palette

Finish: layers of residual sweetness and floral fruitiness

Both from great vintages of their respective regions, both of these wines are still young but are drinking great now. The first is bone dry and can be summed up as drinking a limeade out of a stone cup. The second, a classic German Riesling complete with rich fruitiness, just the right amount of sweetness and petrol to round out the aromatic and flavor profile.

The S.A. Prum is pretty widely available but the Pewsey Vale is harder to find, grab either one if you are in the mood for a good Rielsing.


Categories: $20-$30, riesling, wine review | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuesday Quick Sip – 2008 Leitz Rüdesheim Magdalenekreuz Riesling Spatlese

2008 Leitz Rüdesheim Magdalenekreuz Riesling Spatlese

Wine Information –

Region: Rheingau, Germany

Vineyard: Magdalenekreuz, elevation 100 meters to 165 meters

Aging: Sur Lees in Rheingau Oak

Soil: Sandy Loam

Price: $21

leitzlabelMy Tasting Notes –

Nose: touch of petrol, honey and cantaloupe

Taste: peach, honey, stone/slate, “rich”

Mouthfeel: round with nice acidity to backup/combat the richness

Finish: long – with lingering sweetness of honey and minerality

I love Riesling and wish I drank more of it, not sure why I don’t. I tasted this at a trade tasting in New York with hundreds of other Rieslings and the 2008 Leitz Rüdesheim Magdalenekreuz Riesling Spatlese had one of the best QPR’s of the bunch. Great quality Spatlese (actually Auslese but labeled Spatlese), full and rich with nice touches of petrol and stony minerality dancing around great fruit and honey flavors. This has pretty good distribution so you should be able to find it in most cities.


(could only find the 2007 label online)

Categories: $20-$30, riesling, wine review | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Monday Quick Sip – 2007 Karl Erbes Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett

Wine Info

Region – Mosel, Germany

Vineyards – Urziger Wurzgarten, 70 degree slope

Price – $19

karl-earbesMy Tasting Notes

Nose – Ripe fuji apple, pear, cantaloupe and slate

Taste – Honey, mineral, touch of petrol, decent amount of balanced sweetness

Mouthfeel – round and full bodied, nice acidity creeping up toward the finish that balanced the level of residual sugar nicely

Finish – Long with sweet minerality

This was a very well put together Riesling but on it’s own it might have been a bit to sweet for me, but paired with spicy Pad Thai that we made it was excellent. The heat helped the sweetness fade and showcased the rest of the flavor profile that the wine had to offer.


Categories: $10-$20, riesling, wine review | 2 Comments

Wine Blogging Wednesday #45 Old World Riesling

The wine for this Wine Blogging Wednesday #45 is the second wine in my WBW blogger pack from Domaine547. This months WBW topic was supplied by Tim at Winecast and was any Riesling from the “Old World.” The blogger pack Riesling was the 2006 Max Ferd Richter “Graf Zeppelin” from Mosel – Saar – Ruwer.  From the winery website, the history of the title of this wine, “Graf Zeppelin” is that is was the wine poured most on Zeppelin flights during the 20’s and 30’s. The grapes from this wine are grown in the Mülheimer Sonnenlay vineyard which consists of soil composed of gray slate soil resting on steep slopes along the Mosel river.  We ate this today (WBW) with General Tso’s “Chik’n” and it paired nicely being slightly off-dry counteracting the spiciness of the dish.


My Tasting Notes

Nose – Petroleum, rubber, pear

Taste – Fuji apple, pear, citrus, petrol, honey

Mouthfeel – medium viscous body, touch of sweetness

Finish – clean, long with mineral and honey flavors


This was a fun textbook Riesling that was a great pairing for the Chinese food. Classic food friendly flavors, a hint of sweetness and great viscosity on the palate would make this great for any spicy dish.


Thanks again to Tim for a great May WBW topic.




Categories: Mosel Saar Ruwer, riesling, Wine Blogging Wednesday | 2 Comments

Germany meets India

Germany met India on my palate with the 2005 Bert Simon Serrig Herrenberg Riesling Kabinett.

This wine comes from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region of Germany.  Deciphering the label a bit more, it comes from the Saar valley in the village of Serrig and the vineyard Herrenberg.  An interesting side note for all you fans of the 3 word name for this famous region. From now on it is going to be called Mosel, which the German government thinks will be easier for wine consumers to understand. Now I just feel bad for Saar and Ruwer getting dropped off the end like that, their river valleys are just as nice. haha

On to the wine – 

Color – Golden

Nose – Floral, pear, apricot

Taste – Honey, Petroleum, citrus, lime, hint of sweetness

Mouthfeel – Nice & round, medium to full body with soft acidity

Finish – pure clean mineral notes that persisted for quite a while

We had this wine with one of our Indian dishes, Dopiaza. Although we put more veggies in it than you would find in the traditional dish, the sauce still tastes the same.  The wine was an excellent pairing for the slight heat of the food, with the floral nose and the hint of citrus and honey on the palate to really accentuate the south Indian flavors in the food.  The clean mineral finish really left the mouth ready for the next bite of naan and tofu, drenched in Dopiaza sauce.  This is an excellent buy at $18, although I understand that the 2005 is the last vintage that Bert Simon will be making wine.  If anyone can verify this for me, please let me know.


Categories: Mosel Saar Ruwer, riesling, wine review | 2 Comments