Our August Tasting: White Wines of Germany

We love German Riesling, a grape considered to be one of only two “noble” white wine varieties. No wines are more complex, food friendly and refreshing. Since Page Higginbotham has just returned from a trip to the Mosel we thought it would be a great time to taste some extraordinary German wines so, please join us on Wednesday, August 19th from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. as we open German Riesling from the Mosel, Pfalz, Nahe, Rheingau and Rheinhessen. Here are the wines we will be opening and a few notes:

2007 WAGNER STEMPEL Riesling QbA Trocken Rheinhessen
“Light-bodied, but fresh and lively, sporting lemon, apple and white peach flavors. A stony element lurks under the surface. There’s fine spicy length. Drink now through 2016. Score: 90” (WS 12/31/2008

2007 H. DÖNNHOFF Riesling QbA Nahe
“An alluring estate Riesling, featuring floral, grapefruit, orange and stone notes. Fine harmony and length fill out the profile. Drink now through 2015. Score: 90”
(WS 12/ 31/2008)

2003 JOSEF BIFFAR Riesling Kabinett Pfalz Dei Kieselberg
“Concentrated, bursting with orange, peach and vanilla notes on a medium-bodied frame. Lovely balance and harmony, ending with freshness and length. Drink now through 2010. Score: 89” (WS 6/30/2005

2006 Monchhof (Robert Eymael) Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett
Eymael’s 2006 Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett is far and away the most delicious and fascinating Kabinett I can recall from his hand, not to mention a terrific value. Unusually creamy in texture for the genre, it nevertheless manages real delicacy, and although keeping the alcohol down meant high residual sugar, the balance in that respect is ideal to support ripe, spice-tinged strawberry, and there is plenty of vivacity and lift in the finish. What fascinates me are the salty, nutty, stony undertones, and the subtle, successful folding-in of honey, musk, spice, and faint bitterness of botrytis. “With a Kabinett like this,” quips Eymael’s veteran partner Hans-Leo Christoffel, only half in jest, “you ask yourself, ‘why should I spend the money for an Auslese?’” This should be lovely for 7-9 years at least. 90pts.” (Wine Advocate # 179)

2005 LEITZ Riesling Spätlese Rheingau Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg
“Elegant and lively, with a touch of carbonic gas. Lemon, grapefruit and Golden Delicious apple flavors remain focused and long, but the mineral flavors hold court. Fine balance and harmony. This needs time. Best from 2008 through 2020. 73 cases imported. Score: 93” (WS 12/28/2007)

Beaujolais: The Red-Headed Stepchild of Burgundy

Here at Emerson’s, we seem pathologically disposed towards championing lost causes despite long odds. Whether it’s pushing German Riesling, Mondeuse from California, or Galician Mencia, we’re determined to see to it that the underdogs get the attention they deserve. Whether this results from a self-inflicted masochistic complex to make our jobs more difficult, or some deeply-rooted American justice-for-all mentality, it seems that we’re hard wired for getting behind wines that are maligned and misunderstood. Fortunately for us, we’re not alone, and Eric Asimov, the wine columnist for the New York Times, is on our side. This week, he makes an impassioned plea for reconsideration of real Beaujolais from artisanal producers and great terroirs. Here’s a link to this week’s NY Times wine column about Beaujolais. We carry a number of great examples, including a few that are cited in the article. If you’ve yet to rediscover Beaujolais, come by and allow us to send you home with a head-turning example of what real Gamay can be.