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The Explore 4 Gift Pack“German Riesling Style Spectrum” (750mL)

From the Wine Shop

The Explore 4 Gift Pack “German Riesling Style Spectrum” (750mL)

“Riesling from Germany is among the most widely recognized wines in the world, and perhaps the most misunderstood.”

Give the gift of “Explore 4” without the commitment!

SommSelect’s “Explore 4” surveys the vast landscape of wine and breaks it into small, digestible bites. Each month, we select four bottles that fit a theme, allowing members to experience a diversity of styles while developing their own palate preferences. It’s an ongoing exploration of wine through a sommelier’s eyes and there’s no more effective, and enjoyable, way to learn about wine.

This edition of the Explore 4, offered as a one-time gift purchase, takes an in-depth look at German Riesling. Most German Riesling labels are a tangle of unfamiliar terminology, which scares many consumers away, but when you ask a sommelier to name his or her favorite white grape, there’s a good chance the answer will be Riesling.

In this pack, we explore the myriad expressions of this noble grape, from sparkling to (semi) sweet. Here's what's in the box:

Fitz-Ritter, Riesling Sekt Extra Trocken 
Pfalz, Germany MV

A more delicate mousse, a touch less alcohol, and the peach/apricot aromatics of Riesling distinguish this steely, mineral sparkler. This is labeled “Extra Trocken,” meaning Extra Dry, which, as in Champagne, represents a wine with more residual sugar than a Brut (in this case 15-18 grams/liter). A hint of lingering sweetness is quickly whisked away by the racy acidity.

Wagner Stempel, Estate Dry Riesling 
Rheinhessen, Germany 2021

Riesling fermented to dryness is de rigueur in these days, whereas in the past, producers halted fermentations early to preserve residual sugar. This bottling was fermented to 12% a.b.v. and aged in stainless steel tanks and wooden vats. It contains 6 grams/liter of residual sugar (the legal limit for a wine to be labeled trocken (dry) is 9 grams/liter). Green apples, citrus fruits, and lots of white peach aromas conjoin with scents of white flower and wet river stones.

Willems Willems, Saar Riesling Feinherb “Altenberg” 
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany 2021

Some expert German Riesling tasters would be forgiven if they pegged this as a spätlese, the next step up the ripeness scale. But it’s instead a fleshy, deeply fruity style of kabinett loaded with notes of white peach and the perfumy “petrol” note that characterizes most off-dry Rieslings. The acidity is remarkably fresh and cleansing, making a wine with quite a lot of residual sugar feel weightless and only slightly sweet. 

Karthäuserhof, “Bruno” Riesling Spätlese 
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany 2018

Fermented to just 8.5% a.b.v., this riper style is bottled with 80 grams/liter of residual sugar (for comparison, consider that a typical Sauternes dessert wine is between 120-200 grams/liter). Yet the magic of Riesling is that, even at higher levels of ripeness, its acid level doesn’t “drop out” as sugar levels increase. Because Riesling’s acidity remains so high, even sweeter styles are tempered by the freshness and “cut” of the acid.

  • Alcohol14%

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