When it comes to Riesling — "the greatest grape" as some in the industry have labeled it — the spiritual home for this variety resides in two lands: Germany and Alsace.
Given that Alsace was once part of Germanyit's not surprising that the wines share some basic similarities, but the differences — and there are many — are what make these offerings so distinctive and memorable. Of course, there are regional variations within Germany and Alsace; Riesling from the Mosel has a completely different character than one from the Rheingau or Pfalz while, in Alsace, a Riesling blended from several sites is vastly diverse from a Grand Cru offering.
But in general, there are some important dissimilarities between German and Alsatian Riesling; factors include climate, terroir, winemaking decisions and stylistic philosophy.
Let's hear from some of the producers themselves on this topic; what are the major contrasts between German and Alsatian Riesling? The Mosel Rieslings show a unique balance of mineral structure, lightness in body, acidity and ripe fruitiness at very low alcohol.
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This because the average temperature in the Mosel is a bit lower, as we have fewer hours of sunshine and more precipitation compared to Alsace. Through my travels, I have discovered that the future of Riesling lies in the clear, precise, lean, crisp and mineral-driven styles.
Consequently, the wines of Alsace are generally more full bodied than German wines, which have a later cycle and as a result, are more aromatic and fresh. There is also a marked difference in the residual sugar and alcohol levels in these wines.
The easy explanation is that Alsatian Rieslings are drier than German offerings not including vendanges tardives or grains nobles bottlings, of course and that alcohol levels are lower in German wines. But it's a little more complicated than that.
While many German Rieslings are in the 7. These wines check in at percent, as there is very little residual sugar. Riesling was no longer in vogue," he says.
The question of dryness has also been a concern for some critics tasting Alsatian Rieslings over the past few decades. For Olivier Humbrecht, general manager and winemaker at Domaine Zind-Humbrechtone of Alsace's most acclaimed wineries, this issue was true "10 or 15 years ago, but not anymore today.
Having tasted hundreds of Alsatian wines over the past two years, I can say that Alsatian wines are much drier today. Humbrecht, one of the few winemakers in the world who is also an MW, notes the difference in his wines since he converted his estate to biodynamic farming in The variation in dry versus off-dry or sweet Rieslings can be a factor in how these wines age. I recently had a Kabinett that was singing.
A Scharzhofberger naturrein drunk last year was very young. As Humbrecht reasons, viticultural decisions bring particular ; so too, cellar options help explain style, as noted by other producers. The result is high precision and high clarity of the wines, but often only one aromatic identity emerges and dominates.
My 'Le Dragon' Riesling is less perfect overall than some German Rieslings, but it offers more charm, with more complex and interesting aromas. Technically they are often very good and precise, but they are often corrected by the enological approach in the cellar.
German Rieslings sometimes lack dimension because they lack the contribution of texture and minerality brought by balanced viticulture and winemaking methods. No fruit, but mineral and acidity. The wines have to be dry to show their character to almost perfection … We have very old and ungrafted rootstocks and the steepest vineyards for the best possible quality. Quite rich, this is 13 percent alcohol. Peak in years. Very good acidity, excellent persistence; quite dry.
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Lovely now — peak in years. Outstanding persistence; excellent complexity and finesse; light sweetness; very good acidity. An infant — peak in years. German precision at its finest! Dry, good acidity, impressive persistence; very good complexity.
Very distinctive wine, with a rich mid-palate and notable minerality; lengthy finish; very dry. Quite ripe and viscous; spicy finish; excellent persistence. Powerful finish — slightly oily, very dry. Very good acidity; excellent persistence; great complexity.
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Rich mid-palate, excellent persistence; very good acidity, marvelous complexity. In. Germany and Alsace's Battle of the Rieslings.
What do German winemakers think of Alsatian Riesling and vice-versa? Tom Hyland finds out. To the conversation, comment on our social media channels. Recent Stories View All. The Buzz about Alcohol-free Drinks Aug Wineries Under the Influencers Aug Changing Ways for Oregon Wine Aug German Winemakers' Underwater Escape Jul Grange Celebrates its 70th Vintage in Style Jul Swapping Chardonnay for Cabernet in Napa Jul Flooded Vineyards and Hot Bordeaux Jul Never Miss Out.
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