Yes, we love Riesling. Our taste runs dry. What’s the verdict when we uncork some of the sweet stuff from Mosel?
More Than Three Centuries Of Practice
If practice makes perfect, German winery Max Ferd Richter must surely have perfected Riesling by this time. The winery began as a wine export company in 1680. Today the ninth and 10th generation of the Max Ferdinand Richter family own, manage and operate the winery. With the belief that great wine comes from the vineyard, grapes are cultivated on the steep slopes of the Mosel Valley. All harvesting is done by hand using sustainable farming practices.
During a recent session of the wine education program Wine Studio we had a chance to taste two 2015 releases from Max Ferd Richter.
Germany’s Best Known Wine Region
The Mosel wine region, which takes its name from the Mosel River, stretches from the French border to where the Mosel joins the Rhine. Fifty percent of the vineyards are Riesling. The steep slaty hillsides produce excellent minerally Riesling which is capable of aging for many years.
Max Ferd Richter produces only Riesling and can draw upon some of the best vineyards in this renowned region. We sampled the 2015 Richter Brauneberger Juffer Kabinett Riesling and the 2015 Richter Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett Riesling.
There was no indication on the label of the sweetness of the wine. With German wines, you can get a good estimation by looking at the alcohol percentage. The lower the alcohol level, the higher the sweetness. Fermentation of wine is basically sugar being converted into alcohol and the less sugar converted into alcohol, well you get the picture.
Both of these wines are sweet – but in a lush, opulent way. Green Dragon prepared an assortment of dishes seeking to find the perfect match with this duo of German Riesling. We started with roasted honey balsamic Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and ham. Then the Dragon amped up the culinary event with some spicy Pad Thai shrimp.
That gave us some sweet dishes to pair as well as one with some flashes of spice. Ham is always a good match with Riesling as is Asian food.
Delivering The Verdict
These were enjoyable wines, and quite affordable at $22 SRP. I’m not sure it will reverse our longing for crisp, dry Riesling – but it was refreshing to have full, rounded flavors without the sharp-edged acidity.
Acidity does provide balance to these wines, but never interferes with a full spectrum of honeyed flavors. Himmelreich means “kingdom of heaven” and the flavors were indeed heavenly with citrus and floral notes.
Brauneberger (brown mountain) is one of the most prestigious vineyards in the Mosel and Juffers is a single vineyard designation on the location of a former convent. This Riesling edged to the top position in my judging, with more noticeable acidity, a lovely tropical citrus aroma and a smattering of minerality.
Max Ferd Richter produces a full range of Riesling from bone dry to ice wines. They even offer a sparkling Riesling. This is a name and winery you can trust for wines to please all palates. Their quality has been proven for more than 300 years – and in case that isn’t enough, I verified it once again last week. Cheers!