Klaus Alt’s Tour of Germany

Klaus Alt’s Tour of Germany

Posted on Sep, 23. 2010 by

Categories: Wine

If you missed last Wednesday’s tasting, you missed a real treat. Longtime Guild member Klaus Alt worked with Roanoke Valley’s Robert Crum and came up with a fabulous lineup of German Rieslings as an introduction to this fascinating and often misunderstood wine-producing nation.

In talking with some folks over the course of the last couple of weeks, I’ve come across two camps of people: Those who love Riesling for everything it can be, from a sweet, fruity sipper to a cellar-worthy, austere wine that develops nuance and style with age, to a canvas that reflects the terrior, the earth in which it is grown. And there’s the second camp, those who came across a cloying, overly sweet, heavy on the residual sugar, fruit bomb that just doesn’t do anything for them. If you were here on Wednesday, there’s a good chance that no matter where you started, you ended up in the first camp as Klaus and Robert provided some tremendous examples of the variety and the intrigue Riesling has to offer.

High Def Riesling 08
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $9.53 • Premier Cru: $9.96 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $12.99
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Don’t be put off by the trendy label or the name that might suggest this wine is trying too hard, the High Def Riesling 08 is a wine that was perfect for the warm summer evening we had on Wednesday. Cool and refreshing, reflecting the minerality of the slate soil in the Mosel where it was grown, this is a wine that you can add to your summer arsenal based on taste and on price as this summer we are having drags on with days in the mid-80s forecast for the foreseeable future.

2008 Slatestone Reisling “Dry” (Green Label)
2007 Slatestone Reisling “Fruity” (Red Label)
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $13.19 • Premier Cru: $13.79 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $17.99
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The two wines from Slatestone, the “Dry” and the “Fruity” provided a nice contrast to each other, how a winemaker can take the same grape and by varying the harvest, and using all the tools at his or her disposal, and create two very nice wines and very different wines from the same grape. Grown from the same soil in the steep slopes of the Mosel, these wines can stand on their own as sippers when the weather is as it is now, or they could go tremendously well with food. The Dry would pair nicely with seafood or poultry, something lightly dressed or sauced, while the Fruity would pair better with a heftier dish, perhaps something with a cream sauce.

Monchhof Estate Riesling 09
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $14.66 • Premier Cru: $15.33 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $19.99
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The star of the evening for me is the wine we tasted last, the Monchhof Estate Riesling 09. The Eyamel family has been making white wines on the Monchhof Estate since 1804, when they purchased the estate from the monks who had started making wine there as early as 1509. This is an estate that understands Riesling and has been producing top-flight wines on their hillsides in the middle Mosel for generations. This is a serious wine at a price that will allow you to grab half a case or more and open it over time as it develops over the years. The nose upon first tasting reflected the minerality of the soil, but also showed the grape in its tropical flavors. You could tell this wine was young as we tasted it. It also gave hints of the tremendous wine it could become with proper aging and care. This is a wine for enjoying now, and for learning from as it matures in the future.

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