What a wonderful way to start our trip in Europe this summer – a visit to the Dr. Loosen winery overlooking the Mosel River just outside the beautiful town of Berkastel-Kues in southwest Germany.   While Riesling is not considered by me (and my traveling companions) to be a favored grape, we were certainly surprised with the quality and enjoyment of the many Rieslings we tasted.

Max Lager's meets Dr. Loosen

Michael Stahlmannm, Dr. Loosen winery

Upon arrival to the address given, we were a bit confused as to whether or not we were at the right location.  The appearance was that of a residence, not of a hub of a 200-year-old family business.  After debating for a few minutes on what door to knock on, bell to ring or gate to open, we opened the gate walked up the stairs and knocked on what appeared to be the front door.  We were immediately greeted by Michael Stahlmann, a tall slender wine man extraordinaire.  A sommelier for 20 years before joining the winery, Michael has a fantastic breadth of knowledge of wines, but the specific experience to speak to the wines offered in restaurants.

Leading us to what was once the family dining room, we joined a German couple that specialized in collecting wines of the region.  Seated at a large cloth-covered table in a sunroom overlooking the Mosel, we got down to some serious tasting.

Dry or sweet? – the omnipresent question of wine selections in the U.S., much like light or dark? for beer.  We have constantly addressed the beer question as we have actively attempted to educate our guests on the benefits of variety in beer tasting at Max Lager’s.  As Michael presented each wine with the various details related to soil makeup, direction of hillside, ripeness and style of grape, we started to gain an appreciation for wines of a “fruity” persuasion.  The word “sweet” was suddenly plucked from our vocabulary, just as a bad grape is plucked from a ripened bunch.

Apple, pineapple, passion fruit, peach, round, even, balanced, intense were adjectives used as Michael continued to pull bottles from the cellar.  Some of the wines tasted included –

  • Riesling Beerenauslese – 2006 – balanced with a very straight and even taste profile
  • Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Kabinett – 2010 – clean and on the dry side
  • Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese – 2009 – intense fruit with apple and pineapple
  • Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling – 2009 – intensely fruity
  • Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spatlese – 2008 –
  • Erdener Pralat Riesling Auslese Lange Goldkapsel – 2010 – young and complex – the opinion of all is that this will be a very good wine when mature

After almost three hours of tasting and talking we left with a commitment to educate America – ok Atlanta at least – on the finer points of fruity wines.

For more info about Rieslings, check out Snooth’s article “All About Rieslings: A delicious summer white“.