The Wine Education Council presented Riesling Rediscovered: A Seminar and Tasting with John Winthrop Haeger, on Tuesday 21 March 2017, at Spago Restaurant in Beverly Hills. This event was part of WEC’s programs to support professionalism in wine service, and participants were largely working sommeliers from across Southern California. Further information about WEC is found at http://www.wineeducationcouncil.org/about-us/. .
The tasting featured dry Rieslings from Germany, Alsace, Austria, Italy, Australia, Oregon and California, and a single beyond-dry wine from Domaine Marcel Deiss at Bergheim (Haut-Rhin). The Tasting Book is found here – wec.tastingbook.final.
Dry Riesling was the focus of attention at two of Southern California’s benchmark wine retailers on 25 and 26 January 2017. On Wednesday 25 January the action was around the tasting bar at Woodland Hills Wine Company (22622 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills, 800-678-9463). On 26 January, the scene moved south to the tasting bar at Hi-Time Wine Cellars (250 Ogle Street, Costa Mesa, 800-331-3005). At Woodland Hills Wine Company, John Haeger made a brief presentation on the current state of dry Riesling and walked participants through eight wines, including wines from the Selenium Vineyard in Washington’s Yakima Valley, from Rudi Pichler and Schloss Gobelsburg in Austria, von Winning in the Pfalz, and Kuenhof in Italy’s Alto Adige. Click scan0006 to see the tasting list. At Hi-Time Wine Cellars ten wines were tasted, including a Sekt from Falkenstein in the Saar; again Kuenhof from the Alto Adige; Cuvée Frédéric Emile from Trimbach and an excellent Winzenberg Grand Cru made by Hubert Meyer; plus wines from Knoll (Wachau) and Schloss Gobelsburg (Kremstal). One Australian bottling and one wine from New Zealand were also offered. John Haeger worked the tasting bar here too, answering questions from guests. Click scan0005 to see the complete list for this tasting.
A seminar dedicated to the (real?) differences between vineyard sites that are said to give wines that are open, flavor-forward and expressive more or less from the time they are released, and sites whose wines are initially closed, tightly-wound and flavor- or aroma-challenged until several years later. Aka: “Precocious Sites vs. “Indrawn Sites.” The seminar was held 12 Sepember 2016 at Smyth + The Loyalist in Chicago, sponsored by Candid Wines and Vintage (a Winebow Company.) Ten wines were tasted in five pairs of two, where one member of the pair hailed from a “precocious” site , while the other came from an “indrawn” site. Wines from the Kremstal, Kamptal, Wachau, Rheinhessen, and Finger Lakes. Panelists were Andrew Algren, wine director for Chicago’s Cherry Circle Room and Morten Hallgren, founder, principal and winemaker at Ravines Wine Cellars. John Winthrop Haeger moderated.
Andrew Algren, Wine Director, organized an unusual wine dinner in the acclaimed Cherry Circle Room of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel on 12 September 2016. A four course meal was composed to feature eight Rieslings spanning eight vintages, sourced from Ravines Wine Cellars at Geneva, in upstate New York, and Weingut Malat, a producer of award-winning wines at Palt, in Austria’s Kremstal. Algren’s guests were Morten Hallgren, founder, winemaker and principal at Ravines, and John Winthrop Haeger, whose new book (Riesling Rediscovered: Bold, Bright,
and Dry) profiles both Ravines and Malat interalia. Although both wineries are famous for producing numerous varietals, both red and white, this dinner featured Riesling exclusively. For the menu and wine list, click 9-12-16_reislingdinner.
Is Riesling really a German variety? Or might it have been imported to the Rhine Valley from Austria? Where and when did the the first Riesling vine grow? Is it true that an entire vineyard was planted to Riesling at Johannisberg in 1721? Where, when and why did the low-alcohol-but-substantially-sweet style widely associated with German Riesling originate? Is it true that most German Riesling is now made in a dry style? Are Alsatian Rieslings drier than German Rieslings? John Haeger talked about these and other questions, addressed in his recent book Riesling Rediscovered on Wednesday 10 August at Cartograph Wines in Healdsburg, his talk sponsored by the Friends of the Sonoma Country Wine Library. An informal tasting of dry Rieslings followed the talk.
The fifth edition of Riesling Rendezvous, originally conceived by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Dr. Loosen, took place in Seattle 17-19 July 2016. Riesling Rendezvous is held only every third year, since it operates in repertory with the triennial Internationales Riesling Symposium in the Rheingau and a similarly triennial event in Australia. Winemakers from eight countries attended, and several hundred Rieslings from around the world were poured for consumers, and discussed during two days of trade seminars. On 18 July John Haeger moderated “Essential Elements of Dry Riesling” with fellow panelists Andreas Wickhoff MW, Rhys Pender MW, Dennis Kelly MS, and Stephan Reinhardt of the Wine Advocate.
Circo Vino produced seminars and tastings featuring wines from the east end of the Wachau and the west end of the Kremstal, immediately north and south of the Danube, on 13 July in Los Angeles and 14 July in San Francisco. Emmerich Knoll presented Knoll wines from the Pfaffenberg vineyard; John Haeger presented Steinbuehl vineyards on behalf of Michael Malat. Andreas Wickhoff MW presented Tegernseerhof wines from the Steinertal vineyard. John Haeger moderated. Additional wines from other producers were offered at a walk-around tasting that followed. For convenience, the event was dubbed Four Corners: Wines from the Danube Valley where the Wachau and Kremstal Meet. The tasting book is found here: FourCornersSeminarJuly
Two wine and book events in Napa Valley during the first week in May. First, at 750 Wines in St. Helena, on Thursday 5 May John Haeger was joined by Smith-Madrone Winery and Stony Hill Vineyard, Spring Mountain neighbors, both of which make excellent dry Riesling in addition to benchmark editions of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon; and by Eric Sussmann of Radio-Coteau in Sebastopol, whose exceptional dry Riesling from Lew and Joan Platt’s vineyard in the true Sonoma Coast was featured along with the estate wines from Smith-Madrone and Stony Hill in Riesling Rediscovered. In addtition to those wines, dry Rieslings from Dreissigacker in Rheinhessen, Markus Huber in Traisental (Austria) and Weingut Malat (Kremstal, Austria) were also poured. Chick here for the tasting list from this event. The following day, Friday 6 May, John and Master Sommelier Peter Granoff poured a flight of mostly dry Rieslings, mostly from the Mosel, at Oxbow Cheese and Wine Merchant in Napa’s Oxbow Public Market. A few signed copies of Riesling Rediscovered were still available for sale at Oxbow afterwards.
Crush Wine & Spirits hosted John Haeger on Wednesday 27 April from 5.30-7.30 pm for an informal stand-up, walk-around tasting of dry Rieslings from Austria, Germany and elsewhere. This well-attended event was a perfect occasion to discover one of New York City’s most acclaimed wine stores and some of the world’s finest dry Rieslings: Trimbach’s Cuvée Frédéric Emile (2007), F. X. Pichler’s Steinertal (2013), Prager’s Achleiten (2014), Schloss Gobelsburg’s Gaisberg (2013), a 2012 Saumagen Kabinett Trocken from Koehler-Ruprecht in the Pfalz, a 2014 Halenberg GG from Emrich-Schoenleber in the Nahe, a 2102 Fahrlay Terrassen GG from Clemens Busch in the Mosel, plus dry Rieslings from Ravines in the Finger Lakes and Tatomer in Santa Barbara. Some copies of Riesling Rediscovered were still available after the tasting at Crush, which is located at 153 East 57th Street, between Lexington and Third avenues.
Oenosite.com and Wine & Co. presented an unprecedented international tasting of award-winning single-vineyard dry Rieslings from limestone-based soils on Wednesday 27 April in New York City. Wines from BattenfeldSpanier, Wittmann and Dreissigacker in Rheinhessen; A. Christmann and Von Winning in the Pfalz; Pfister and Mittnacht-Frères in Alsace, Markus Huber in the Traisental, and Ravines in the Finger Lakes were tasted in four flights, while John Haeger guided a discussion of soil types and finished wine properties in the case of dry Riesling. Morten Hallgren, principal and winemaker for Ravines Wine Company in Geneva, New York also presented two vintages of his Argetsinger Vineyard Riesling personally. Click here to see the riesling.limestone.tastingbook. Or click here to see a post about this event by Cathrine Todd, aka DameWine, who was present on 27 April and subsequently posted her notes, reactions and thoughts!