The wine tasting this week at Fine Wines of Stockton was presented by Brad Alderson, winemaker and wine consultant. Brad was the founding winemaker for the Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Winery. He has a particular affinity for and broad knowledge of German Rieslings. He has spent a lot of time in the German wine growing areas and has many friends in the business there. He gave us a history of wine growing in Germany, the major wine growing regions and explained how to interpret German wine labels.
We tasted six wines, blind. George poured the wines, but even Brad had to guess the wine region blind–he scored 100% as I recall! George told us there were five German Rieslings and one domestic Riesling. Our charge was to determine which of the six is the domestic wine. Here is our summary of the wines we tasted.
2004 Markus Molitor – The color was a medium yellow-green. The nose was musty with the typical Riesling petroleum smell, many thought it may have been corked, but then the mustiness blows off. The flavor was of green apple with a little sweetness, but good acid and a long, clean finish. This wine is a Spatlese from the Mosel region.
2008 Willi Schaefer – The color is very light yellow. The nose is a very pleasant floral and citrus combination. Flavors taste like sweet apples with good acid (more than the first wine) and a very light mouth feel. This wine is also Spatlese from the Mosel region.
2004 Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr – The color is a light yellow-green. The nose is the typical petroleum Riesling nose. Flavors are peachy and slightly sweet, but with good acid and a clean finish. This wine has a heavier body and is more viscus than previous wines. The wine has lots of flavor, but the finish is not very long. This is a the same as the first wine but from only a single vineyard.
2008 Chateau St. Michelle Eroica Columbia River – The color is very light yellow. The nose is minimal. Flavors taste of citrus, grass and apples with some bitterness. There is no perceivable sweetness in this wine. Many tasters noted very light tannins are present. The style of this wine is completely different than the others, and almost everyone was able to pick out this wine as domestic. The Eroica is highly rated (90+ points) by several wine magazines but when placed in a blind tasting with German Rieslings it did not rate so well with our group.
2004 Marimin Grunhauser Herrenberg – This is a Kabinet from the Mosel. The color is medium yellow. The nose was typical petroleum once again. Flavors of tart apples with lots of acid. The flavors were not as complex as previous wines. This is a very prestigious wine according to Brad. It is a monopole (Estate Classic), and the history of the Winery includes Benedictine monks, Napoleon and at least one Prussian family!
2004 Schloss Saarstein – The color is dark yellow-green and was bubbly in the glass initially. It had a slightly petroleum and floral nose. Flavors followed with floral, citrus and honey flavors with lots of acid. The finish was clean and very long. This wine is a Spatlese from the Mosel Sarr Ruwer region.
All of these wines were very pleasant. We discussed food paring and most agreed they pair well with spicy food such as Thai. Germans drink the wines by themselves according to Brad, but they would also pair well with pork roast, turkey and sausages.