By Rose Murray Brown MW  Published in The Scotsman 27 April 2019


Racy vivid, mouthwateringly fresh whites with moderate alcohol – dry German wines can make ideal summer garden quaffing whites.

Our tasting of 20 German dry white wines on the UK market varied from delicate snappily-dry Riesling Trockens from Mosel Saar Ruwer, richer succulent Rieslings from Pfalz and Rheingau, sleek fruity zesty Scheurebe from Franconia to riper full-flavoured Pinot Gris from warmer southerly Baden.  We picked out our favourite dozen:

Saar Valley:  THE SOCIETY’S SAAR RIESLING 2017 von Kesselstatt  (10.5%)
£10.50 The Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com

Delicious light unoaked aperitif from the Reh family of historic Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt estate who own 36 hectares in the Saar, a tributary of the Mosel, which produces racy, dry, lemony, but very grapey Rieslings with a delicate tightrope between floral sweetness and crisp acidity.

Mosel:  DRY RIESLING 2018 Peter & Ulrich Griebeler  (12.5%)   ***GOOD VALUE***
£10.99/£12.99 Majestic Wine

Very crisp and dry with plenty of limey fruit notes, stone fruit flavours and mouthwateringly zippy acidity.  Made by Heinrichshof winery, run by the Griebeler brothers (Peter Griebeler trained with Mosel guru Fritz Haag) with vineyards on the steep slopes of Zeltinger Schlossberg and Sonnenuhr.  Ideal aperitif, but could match a light curry.

Rheinhessen:  ASIA DE CUBA RIESLING 2017 Gunther Hiestand  (10%)
£12.99 Virgin Wines www.virginwines.co.uk

Typical of 2017 Mosels, this has a delicate minerality and vibrantly high acidity, off set with a honeyed sweetness.  More on the off-dry scale for those who like a gentle tutti-frutti sweetness with a limey citric kick; a good match with a spicy Thai curry.

Franken:  SCHEUREBE QbA DRY 2017 Hans Wirsching  (11.5%)
£13.50 The Wine Barn www.thewinebarn.co.uk

A great summery aperitif with zesty citric passionfruit flavours, hints of herbs – just so juicy, light, with moderate alcohol – like a Sauvignon Blanc look-alike.  Made in Franconia near Wurzburg by the master of Scheurebe grape, Dr Heinrich Wirsching.

£14.25 The Wine Barn www.thewinebarn.co.uk

Delicious savoury nutty example of Pinot Gris with a minerally core deriving from the vineyard’s volcanic soil.  Only one third of the wine in the blend is matured in large oak, so oak notes are very subtle.  Baden whites tend to be fuller bodied, riper with higher alcohol, which would suit anyone who normally drinks New World whites.  This juicy herby dry white with its hint of salinity would match well with pork or pate.             

Mosel:  RIESLING TROCKEN ‘DEVON-SCHIEFER’ 2016 Meulenhof  (12%)  ***STAR BUY***
£14.99 Raeburn Fine Wines

Very popular with tasters for its typicity and good value – crisp apply fresh dry Mosel with lemony grapefruity palate and a creamy softness.  Meulenhof are a historic old winery now run by winemaker Stefan Justen making ripe minerally Riesling Trockens from Devon blue slate soils.

Pfalz:  KALLSTADTER SAUMAGEN RIESLING ‘S’ 2017 Gerd Stepp  (13%)
£15 Marks & Spencer

Expect a riper fruit style from warmer Pfalz region with its rich loamy loess soils, where Rieslings have a ripe peachy full-flavoured style.  This is not as bone dry as other Rieslings in our tasting, it is more off-dry.  Its richness makes it a suitable food wine, a good match for seared tuna & shellfish.  Gerd Stepp used to work as winemaker for M&S, but now runs his family vineyard in Germany.

The Wine BarnBaden:  GRAUBURGUNDER (PINOT GRIS) SONETT DRY 2017 Dr Heger (12.5%)
£15.55 The Wine Barn www.thewinebarn.co.uk

Vibrant light style of Pinot Gris, not as spicy or dense as you find in Alsace, but juicy zippy and very attractive.  Dr Heger is one of Baden’s leading wineries with vineyards on Kaiserstuhl’s volcanic soils, which gives the wine a minerally character.

Rheinhessen: ORGANIC ESTATE RIESLING 2017 Jochen Dreissigacker  (12%)   ***STAR BUY***
£15.50-£16.50 Aitken Wine, Dundee; Drinkmonger; The Beerhive; Buon Vino

Superb example of a dry German Riesling – it has such a great combination of flinty minerality, racy acidity and succulent ripe fruits all beautifully in balance.  Made by Bechheim-based winemaker Jochen Dreissigacker who has been causing a stir in Germany for the high quality of his organic Rheinhessen Rieslings.

Rheingau:  RIESLING TROCKEN GELBLACK 2016 Schloss Johannisberg  (12.5%)
£17.95 www.slurp.co.uk

Very sleek impressive zesty Riesling with delicious succulence, ripe fruit without being sweet.  Made by historic 900 year old Schloss Johannisberg winery from their Gelblack vineyard.  Lush fruity and just off dry, but still works as an aperitif or with pork dish.  Exquisitely attractive label too.

Mosel:  BERNKASTELER GRABEN RIESLING TROCKEN ‘GG’ 2017 Dr H Thanisch  (13%)   ***STAR BUY***
£36 Corney & Barrow

Finely etched well-structured dry Mosel Riesling from a superb site, Bernkasteler Graben is on the edge of the legendary Bernkasteler Doctor vineyard.  Very elegant, apple and honey notes, lovely integrated minerality, tense steely palate with a hint of spice.  Dr Thanisch, a small nine hectare estate run by 11th generation Sofia Thanisch, makes supremely elegant Rieslings – this scored high marks for its potential with two year’s extra maturity in bottle it will be very fine.

Mosel: MAXIMIN RIESLING 2017 Maximin Grunhaus  (11%)         
£19.99 Aitken Wines, Dundee; Fine Wine Musselburgh; Henderson Wines; Valvona & Crolla

If you are looking for a lighter dry Riesling, this blend from a mix of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer vineyards has a light appley character with zippy fresh acidity.  Don’t be put off by the screwcap, the von Schubert family believe this protects the floral aromas in the wine.

Join Rose’s Tasmanian wine tasting in Edinburgh Thursday 11 July £42 www.rosemurraybrown.com


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