March 22, 2007

Riesling from Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt

The tasting group met a few weeks back to sample Reisling.from Mosel-Saar-Ruwer producer Reichsgraff von Kesselstatt.

I had tried a few things from this house over the years and always liked the wines, but had never tasted more than one at a time. Tonight, we knew the producer but nothing more about the wines. So I was particularly excited to taste through a range of Reichsgraff wines to see what I thought without any other information about vintage, vineyard, or pradikat (Kabinett, Spatlese, ...).

The first wine was light straw colored with a fresh aroma of petrol, apples, and orange blossom. Its flavors were pure and sweet, with grapefruit notes. Not complex and not terribly long, but nice, young riesling. This was the 2003 Brauneburger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Auslese “Fuder 02” Lange Goldkapsul. AP 52 04

Then a light gold, figgy smelling thing with brown apple, sort of plasticy aromas. And saffron. This is very interesting wine. Rich and thick in the mouth, obviously auslese with older apple, spiced jelly candy, and mineral flavors, I loved the purity and length here. This was the 1999 Brauneberge Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Lange Goldkapsul, AP 19 00.

Third, a similar aroma to second wine but with less botrytis on the aroma and a more tangy profile in the mouth. Sweet petrol, slate, and figgy apple flavors, even red currants, this was very good and only just behind the last wine. This was the 1999 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese Lange Goldkapsul, AP 68 00.

The fourth wine poured a bit fizzy, but that cleared up. Light gold in color with a strange aroma initially with butter and mint jelly. But just when I thought it might be damaged, it turned pure and tasty if simple. Fairly sweet in the mouth with tangy acid and a nice pretty, moderately sweet flavor, lacking only complexity. This was the 1999 Scharzhofberger Auslese Lange Goldkapsul, AP 58 00. I should note that this wine was the only non-Mosel wine, coming from the Saar River Valley. I wrongly and boorishly “corrected” the very woman who provided these wines, assuring her they were all from the Mosel. I hate when that happens.

The fifth wine was possibly corked and certainly flawed. Positively frothy when poured, this was a complete mess. Too bad, it was the 1999 Bernkasteler Doctor Auslese Lange Goldkapsul.

Finally, an older wine. Moderately gold with a killer red currant aroma, almost strawberry in a way that only German Rieslings seem to show. Deep aromatically but still light and elegant. This smelled wonderful. But in the mouth it was lighter bodied with a slightly bitter grapefruit pith quality, balanced by sweet baked apple flavors. This was nice but not great, certainly worth drinking but not as special as you might hope. It was the 1988 Piesporter Goldtropfchen Auslese, AP 18 89.

In sum, these Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt wines were delicious but perhaps not the highest quality of Riesling out there. However, these wines represent tremendous value. And happily, here in Oregon, Lemma Wine Company brings in a wide variety of this producer’s wines at attractive prices.


Marshall Manning said...

I've always found Kesselstatt wines to be decent, but never as exciting as those from Prum, Von Schubert, Donnhoff, F. Haag, Selbach-Oster, etc. In other words, you can find top quality wines for only a bit more money.

Vincent Fritzsche said...

These were the best I've tried from them, and pretty impressive. I know what you mean, there is better Riesling out there. But when I was drinking them, I couldn't help but find them delicious. Some things are more delicious, but delicious isn't bad.