Explore the Many Styles of German Riesling

With wide range of styles and aromas, it’s easy to see why Riesling is considered Germany’s premier grape.
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This white wine grape is popular around the world and for good reason. Styles of Riesling range from trocken (dry) to lusciously sweet, and fruit-forward aromas can be anything from fresh citrus to ripe tropical fruit. There are exceptional bottles from all different wine regions, but many of the best Rieslings come from Germany.

Produced in Germany’s 13 major growing regions, the grape is frost-resistant allowing it to thrive in cool climates. Riesling’s hardy nature also allows it to thrive in rocky soil types ranging from slate to limestone.

But one of the grape’s defining characteristics is its high acidity. It gives these wines unique structure and allows many bottles to get better with time.

Here are some of our favorite bottles this month.

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Wachtstetter 2016 Glaukós Riesling Trocken GG (Württemberg); $50, 95 points. While this dry Riesling’s floral and stone fruit perfume is lovely, the showcase here is texture and mouthfeel. It’s a complex, concentrated wine loaded with pristine yellow apple and grapefruit flavors layered in silky streaks of candlewax, silk and honey. Full bodied and rippling on the palate, it finishes with hints of bitter lime pith and pollen. Gorgeous now but likely to improve through 2035. Rudi Wiest Selections. Editors’ Choice. —Anna Lee C. Iijima

Schloss Vollrads 2016 Schlossberg Riesling Trocken GG (Rheingau); $40, 94 points. This is a bold, heady wine that penetrates the palate with rich flavors of yellow peach and nectarine. It’s voluminous and dense, yet anchored by piercing streaks of lemon-lime acidity and bitter pith notes that lend tension to the finish. It’s a complex, muscular dry Riesling to enjoy now through 2035. Schmitt-Söhne USA. —A.I.

Fitz-Ritter 2017 Ungsteiner Herrenberg Riesling Trocken GG (Pfalz); $47, 94 points. Fragrant notes of yellow cherry, blossom and pink grapefruit waft from this lavish, perfumed Riesling. Dry in style and silky on the palate, it offers concentrated citrus flavors edged by hints of bitter lime pith and a deep mineral undertone. The finish is long and luscious. Lovely already but should intensify through 2032. Winesellers, Ltd. —A.I.

Dr. Hermann 2016 Erdener Herrenberg Riesling Eiswein (Mosel); $67, 93 points. Intensely ripe yet pure and pristine, this Riesling eiswein offers pronounced flavors of honey, guava and pineapple offset by piercing, spine-tingling acidity. It’s a zesty but concentrated wine, spry yet deeply penetrating with a long, lip-smacking finish. Enjoy now through 2030. Broadbent Selections, Inc. —A.I.

Bastgen 2016 Kestener Paulinsberg Riesling Kabinett (Mosel); $19, 91 points. Pristine minerality and crisp-tart apricot, nectarine and tangerine flavors collide in this spine-tingling semisweet Riesling. It’s a crystalline, light-footed wine that persists through a long, luminous finish. Enjoy now through 2023. Kysela Père et Fils. —A.I.

St. Urbans-Hof 2017 Nik Weis Wiltinger Riesling Kabinett (Mosel); $21, 91 points. Ethereal yet deeply penetrating, this light-footed wine offers layers and layers of yellow peach, apricot and tangerine intensity. It’s luminous and ripe yet racy and lip-smacking, finishing on smoky notes of slate and crushed mineral. A powerful, electric Kabinett to enjoy now through 2028. HB Wine Merchants. Editors’ Choice. —A.I.

Pflüger 2017 Buntsandstein Riesling (Pfalz); $23, 91 points. Fresh white grapefruit and stony mineral tones collide in this dry but richly textured Riesling. It’s medium bodied and brisk in acidity yet voluminous and thirst-quenching on the palate. An elegant, deeply satisfying wine likely to appeal broadly. Valckenberg International, Inc. —A.I.

Carl Ehrhard 2014 Rüdesheim Berg Roseneck Riesling Feinherb (Rheingau); $25, 91 points. Pronounced aromas of caramelized honey and zesty lemon and tangerine skins perfume this unusual late-release feinherb. It’s an elegant wine that shows glimmers of maturity via slightly muted notes of apple and pear along with spicy hints of saffron and dried citrus peel. Creamy in texture with a long, lingering finish, it wraps up with a perception of dryness. Scoperta Importing Co. Inc. —A.I.

Peter Nicolay 2017 Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett (Mosel); $20, 90 points. There’s a crystalline minerality that permeates through lip-smacking pink grapefruit and peach flavors that abound in this vibrant Kabinett. It’s an unabashedly fruity, forward wine, yet balanced by zesty lime acidity and a steely tang. Enjoy now through 2022 for its youthful exuberance. Miller Squared Inc. —A.I.

Meierer 2016 Riesling Kabinett (Mosel); $23, 90 points. Slate and dried herb juxtapose tropical pineapple, guava and berry in this medium-sweet Kabinett. It’s lusciously fruity on the palate yet cutting and spry. The finish extends elegantly, marked by lingering notes of dusty mineral and dry earth. Enjoy now–2025. Schäfer-Reichart Selections. —A.I.

Published on January 4, 2019
Topics: Wine Ratings


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