Home
Page
Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews
independent
analytical
non-commercial
Independent reviews of some local and imported wines available in New Zealand, including earlier vintages.

2003 MOSEL RIESLING


There has been widepread approval for the 2003 vintage in Germany,  even though it was hot there as in all Europe.  Fine riesling however,  like fine Bordeaux,  is a wine built on restraint and elegance,  and experience with rieslings from other,  warmer,  parts of the world would suggest that 2003 in Germany would be hard put to make classic wines,  as opposed to flavoursome ones.  2003 is the kind of vintage where many wines will be down-graded,  marginal spatlese to kabinett for example,  to maintain the volumes needed in the affordable QmP brackets.  

It was thus a pleasure to find there are some elegant and balanced German 2003s,  in this small tasting.  As always,  the key factors to be considered in buying German wines for the cellar are first and foremost the absolute purity of sulphur status on bouquet,  then fruit weight and acid balance.  For those to whom floral and fragrant subtle characters are important in white wines,  Europe has often proved a minefield,  due to traditionally high total sulphurs,  and a certain tolerance of reduced sulphur odours. Curiously it is the one topic it is almost impossible to find thoroughly discussed,  in reviews from established wine writers.  A frightening permissiveness seems to grip many authors,  when the wines of Alsace and Germany are to be discussed.  Or is it just that sugar seduces ?  

Some say high sulphurs are needed for these wines to keep.  My experience with the German wines of the '70s has been that those at the outset deemed to be clean and free from excess SO2 or sulphur faults have kept perfectly well,  even at relatively low apparent initial S02.  They have usually developed more eloquently than their sulphury cousins.   Distinguishing between S02,  and the numerous reduced forms of sulphur,  is the critical issue in cellaring these wines successfully.  

RIESLING

2003  Loosen Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Kabinett QmP
2000  Loosen Erdener Pralat Riesling Auslese QmP
2003  Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese QmP
2003  Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett QmP
2003  Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spatlese QmP
2003  Loosen Riesling Mosel / Saar / Ruwer QbA
2003  Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Auslese QmP  [ Gold Capsule ]
2003  Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett QmP
  2003  Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese QmP
2003  Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett QmP
2003  E. Muller Scharzhofberg Riesling Spatlese QmP
2003  W. Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese QmP
1999  W. Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese QmP
2003  W. Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese QmP
2003  W. Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett QmP


2003  Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Auslese QmP  [ Gold Capsule ]   19  ()
Mosel,  Germany:  8%;  $110   [ www.drloosen.de ]
Lemon.  The classic smell of fine Mosel,  gorgeous acacia and other white florals,  vanillin,  suggestions of apple and white stonefruits,  and beautifully pure botrytis.  Palate is a nectar of all those things,  beautifully rich and balanced,  sufficient acid.  This will cellar for 10 20 years,  on the great purity.  GK 11/04

2003  E. Muller Scharzhofberg Riesling Spatlese QmP   19  ()
Saar,  Germany:  9%;  $115
Palest lemon.  Bouquet is exquisite,  a perfect expression of Mosel / Saar / Ruwer riesling:  white florals and freesia,  hints of lime zest and vanillin,  fresher than the Urziger Auslese,  wonderful.  Palate is pure floral nectar,  rich for a spatlese,  capturing all the dimensions of the bouquet.  Not quite the acid of the Urziger, but will still cellar 10 15 years.  GK 11/04

2003  Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett QmP   18 ½  ()
Mosel,  Germany:  8%;  $32   [ www.drloosen.de ]
Pale lemongreen.  Another very pure and white florals bouquet,  not quite as multidimensional as the Scharzhofberg,  but still nectary and fine.  Palate has an appley quality in the nectary flavours,  and beautiful acid balance.  This shows real finesse.  Cellar 10 20 years.  GK 11/04

1999  W. Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese QmP   18  ()
Mosel,  Germany:  8.5%;  $92
Lemongreen.  Still a little free S02 keeping the wine pale and youthful,  on white florals and lime zest.  Palate shows a crisper acid balance than most '03s,  some botrytis,  vanillin and nectar,  attractive youthful riesling,  not quite the purity of the top wines.  Cellar 10 20 years.  GK 11/04

2003  Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett QmP   17 ½  ()
Mosel,  Germany:  8.5%;  $32
Pale lemon.  There are suggestions of subtle New Zealand riesling in this one,  which shows delicate lime zest,  white florals,  and pale stonefruits.  Palate however is so much more understated than the New Zealand equivalents,  subtle,  silky,  rich for a kabinett,  more a downgraded spatlese.  Acid is only just enough,  here.  Cellar 5 10 years.  GK 11/04

2003  Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett QmP   17 ½  ()
Mosel,  Germany:  8.5%;  $32   [ www.drloosen.de ]
Pale lemon.  Bouquet shows a hint of fresh pale tobacco,  on lime zest and vanilla,  plus white stonefruits.  Palate is rich and flavoursome,  big for a kabinett,  and with quite good acid balance.  Cellar 10 15 years.  GK 11/04

2003  W. Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese QmP   17 ½  ()
Mosel,  Germany:  8%;  $52
Pale lemon.  This bouquet is a bit different,  a hint of amyl acetate and freshly-bitten royal gala apple,  attractive.  Palate is again white florals,  hints of lime,  elegant acid balance,  still very youthful.  Cellar 5 15 years.  GK 11/04

2003  W. Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett QmP   17  ()
Mosel,  Germany:  8%;  $34
Palest lemongreen.  A slightly scented bouquet,  not unpleasant,  with some lime zest and unfocussed floral pale fruits.  Palate is slightly apply,  better acid than several,  clearcut Mosel riesling.  Cellar 10 15 years.  GK 11/04

2000  Loosen Erdener Pralat Riesling Auslese QmP   17  ()
Mosel,  Germany:  7.5%;  $92   [ www.drloosen.de ]
Slightly brassy deep lemon.  Clearcut German riesling,  but developed for its age.  Bouquet includes yellow florals and stonefruits,  some botrytis with a shadow of impurity,  but all quite rich.  On palate the sweetness covers any doubts one may have on bouquet,  to produce fully flavoured riesling at an auslese level of ripeness and botrytis.  Forward though,  a bit superficial,  cellar 3 5 years.  GK 11/04

2003  Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese QmP   17  ()
Mosel,  Germany:  8.5%;  $50   [ www.drloosen.de ]
Lemon.  Still a little S02 to marry away,  on a more fruity expression of German riesling,  showing more of the warm summer and not quite the classically light Mosel / Saar / Ruwer.  Palate includes good stonefruits,  all a bit softer than the light floral wines,  but pure and attractive.  Cellar 5 10 years.  GK 11/04

2003  Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spatlese QmP   16 ½ +  ()
Mosel,  Germany:  8%;  $50   [ www.drloosen.de ]
Lemon.  A straightforward riesling bouquet,  slightly limey,  slightly biscuitty,  more like a new world wine.  Flavour is richer than expected,  good white stonefruits,  noticeable aromatics,  good acid.  This might surprise in bottle,  despite that biscuit hint.  Cellar 10 15 years.  GK 11/04

2003  W. Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese QmP   16 ½  ()
Mosel,  Germany:  7.5%;  $93
Pale lemongreen.  A slightly congested bouquet,  with a little sulphur,  and an odd note slightly suggestive of sauvignon.  Palate is better,  with good stonefruits,  but a hint of pale tobacco too.  Not noticeably auslese quality.  Mild acid,  cellar 5 8 years.  GK 11/04

2003  Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese QmP   16  ()
Mosel,  Germany:  8.5%;  $70   [ www.drloosen.de ]
Pale lemon.  Obvious VA is the first impression,  which is off-putting in a usually-subtle Mosel.  Palate is straight riesling fruit,  no botrytis complexity,  just pale pearflesh and white stonefruits,  and lowish acid.  Confuseable with pinot gris.  Dubious cellar prospect.  GK 11/04

2003  Loosen Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Kabinett QmP   15  ()
Mosel,  Germany:  7.5%;  $32   [ www.drloosen.de ]
Palest lemongreen.  Another wine in this uneasy overlap zone sauvignon blanc and riesling can so easily show (either way),  the result in this case being a slightly catty bouquet,  reminiscent of under-ripe scheurebe.  Palate is compromised too,  with a suggestion of cardboardy sulphur dulling it.  Finish is weak on low acid.  Not worth cellaring.  GK 11/04

2003  Loosen Riesling Mosel / Saar / Ruwer QbA   14 ½  ()
Mosel / Saar / Ruwer,  Germany:  9.5%;  $21   [ www.drloosen.de ]
Palest lemongreen.  Bouquet is straightforward riesling,  with suggestions of white florals and lime zest.  Palate however is sweet lollipop and lacking,  with a poor finish on low acid.  Disappointing a commercial wine reflecting its warm vintage.   Not worth cellaring,  unlike the 2001.  GK 11/04