Celebrating 31 Days of German Riesling

12 July 2019 by Richard

I recently read an article about the amount of time we function without sight and I am not talking ‘blind’ wine tasting here or sleeping off yet another wine tasting dinner.  Our eyes saccade as they bounce around and you blink 2 or 3 times every minute meaning we are blind for 10-15% of our waking time.

In my experience, many consumers are blind to Riesling – the sneezing whilst overtaking a lorry at top speed on the motorway in torrential rain, kind of blind.

Well, we are championing ‘31 Days of German Riesling’ this July, with a month-long campaign celebrating Germany’s king of grapes and for me personally, the greatest grape on the planet.

If you missed out on the two Riesling masterclasses, which sold out within days, do not worry as we have a German Riesling wine bar takeover at Kew on Saturday 13 July.  We follow that up with a German Riesling Showcase tasting at Chiswick on Friday 19 July, from 6pm.  Ten exceptional examples of very dry to off-dry and a sweeter Riesling can be tasted at the event.  Expect the very best German producers from the likes of Keller, Fritz Haag & Schloss Lieser.

As a self-confessed Riesling-nut, I want it to reach a wider audience so more people can appreciate it, value it and come to love it. So, here are a couple of affordable trocken (dry) German Riesling that I recommend as ‘must-trys’:

Knewitz Riesling 2017, Rheinhessen:

Two brothers in their 20’s run this small family estate and they are establishing a fine reputation for themselves.  They have some vineyards with the highest pure limestone content in Germany and this brings a very precise style of bone-dry Riesling, which is a little Chablis-esque.  Organic grapes are hand-picked and fermented spontaneously in stainless steel.  The result is a crisp, super-refreshing, mineral-laden style, with a note of green apple crunchiness and texture.  By the way, Jancis Robinson recently rated it very good value and, unsurprisingly, I totally agree.

Horst-Sauer ‘S’ Riesling, 2017, Franken:

I first visited Herr Horst-Sauer about 20 years ago as he was then considered one of the rising stars of the Franken region.  So, imagine my surprise and delight when a supplier contacted me in the spring to say they were bringing their wines into the UK.  This Riesling is planted in the Escherndorfer Lump vineyard, an Erste Lage (a prime site), with a parabolic south-facing, limestone-rich slope, within a short distance of the meandering river Main.  Sandra Horst-Sauer, the talented daughter, has taken the reins and the list of awards has grown exponentially – more than you can shake several sticks at.  Sandra crafts this dry Riesling allowing the cool, mineral character of the site to be elegantly expressed.  Perfectly ripened grapes give flavours of quince, baked apple and juicy pink grapefruit that are immediately appealing.  A coiled, citrussy vibrancy and brightness will unfurl over the next few years, if you can resist it for now.

Whether you are Riesling blind, indifferent or a full-on fanatic we have some eye-opening wines, not only from Germany but other corners of the world too.