2011 Grosses Gewächs – part 2

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Jancis writes: Last week we published part 1, my tasting notes from the big showing of  2011 Grosses Gewãchs in Wiesbaden at the end of August.

Below are the notes that Michael took on 100 other Rieslings there. Still to come are his notes on Silvaners and various Burgundian grapes. See our complete guide to all our coverage of this promising vintage.

MOSEL-SAAR-RUWER

Clemens Busch, Pündericher Marienburg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

Quite deep golden hue suggests very late picking, possibly some botrytis. Still quite restrained on the nose, but the palate excels with an intriguing combination of yellow fruit, herbal notes and minerally undertones. The herbaceous influence of spontaneous fermentation will need a little time to mellow, but substance and depth of flavour make this a serious contender. Can the Mosel get its GG act together? Yes, it can! (MS)
Drink
2013
2020
17.5

Clemens Busch, Pündericher Marienburg Fahrlay Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

Though spontaneous fermentation notes make their presence felt, the Fahrlay does also show a hand of herbs and spices. Clemens Busch does not force yeasts to devour every last gram of residual sugar, and there is a gentle sweetness that is well integrated into a complex exhibition of minerality, fruit and herbal elements. (MS)
Drink
2013
2022
17.5

Grans-Fassian, Leiwener Laurentiuslay Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

The consistency in the Laurentiuslay Grosse Gewächse over the last vintages is their propitious exhibition of citrus fruit and the 2011 does not fail to deliver. Zesty peel notes add a refreshingly pithy appeal. This is one of the gentler kind of Grosse Gewächse and some may say that it lacks punch, but great does not necessarily equal power. (MS)
Drink
2012
2018
16.5

Grans-Fassian, Dhroner Hofberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

Very dry is not the wont of Grans-Fassian’s grands crus and the Hofberg with its deep colour and delicate scent of cobbler’s glue appears to reflect a smidgeon of botrytis. The fruit is very ripe with a hint of quince. More full bodied than its siblings from the same stable, the wine also exhibits a rich texture and lingering finish. (MS)
Drink
2012
2019
17

Fritz Haag, Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

Spontaneous fermentation does not have to be in your face, and the delicate herbaceous expression fits in perfectly with the harmonious exhibition of juicy fruit, fine acidity and supple body. Add a dash of spice and a dab of minerality, generous texture and appealing freshness, and you have one of the best Grosse Gewächse not just of the Mosel but the whole of Germany. (MS)
Drink
2012
2021
18

Fritz Haag, Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

The spicy and quite aromatic character of the Sonnenuhr differs sufficiently from the Juffer to justify a separate edition that may also appear slightly drier in expression. A generous and juicy grapefruit flavour is peppered with a serious dose of slaty minerality. The ample body and great length of finish complete an outstanding grand cru. (MS)
Drink
2012
2021
18

Reinhold Haart, Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

With its apricoty, almost Viognier-like fragrance, Haart has given his Goldtröpchen a very idiosyncratic interpretation which appears to owe at least some of its expression to the process of barrel fermentation. A notion of pine seems to confirm that theory. On the conventional side we are treated to ripe peach and just a dab of minerality. There is enough substance to suggest that more subtle and complex characteristics may emerge in time. (MS)
Drink
2012
2019
17

Dr Loosen, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

Sightly on the sweeter side of the trocken scale, the Sonnenuhr manages to balance the residual sugar with a fair dab of acidity. Not one of the big punchers on the Grosse Gewächse scene, the wine charms with fresh green fruit and a delicate aromatic notion. (MS)
Drink
2012
2017
16

Dr Loosen, Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

Restrained green fruit aromas are supported by a subtle notion of spice. A lively acidity puts a refreshing spin on the relatively sweet expression of apple and grapefruit flavours. A dash of cloves and a delicate dab of minerality round off a harmonious performance. (MS)
Drink
2012
2017
16.5

Dr Loosen, Erdener Treppchen Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

Call me a philistine, but the Treppchen has never rocked my Grosses Gewächse boat. ‘De gustibus non est disputandum’ and this man’s impression of sweet and sour could well be another (wo)man’s delight of lively acidity in perfect harmony with sweet fruit flavours. The finish is slightly earthy. (MS)
Drink
2012
2016
15.5

S A Prüm, Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

The nose does not give away much at this early stage. The palate seems to veer towards the upper limit of residual sugar and would have benefited from a little more acidity. Certainly weighty, if not a bit flat, but a touch of spice adds a certain je ne sais quoi. (MS)
Drink
2012
2017
15.5

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

Quite restrained on the nose, but faint apricot and mandarin aromas appear to hint at barrel fermentation. On the palate the fruit turns to a more conventional expression of ripe peach which is ably complemented by a light minerally touch. Supple and with good length, the Doctor shows that he can do trocken too. (MS)
Drink
2012
2019
17

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, Graacher Josephshöfer Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

The Josephshöfer does not rely as much on fruit as Kesselstatt’s other Grosse Gewächse, and exhibits some gentle herbal, even vegetal aromas. This could be down to a touch of wild yeasts, but is well buffered by an ample body and a rich mouthfeel. Definitely finishes on a herbal note and may need a little more time to develop its appeal than some of its siblings from the same stable. (MS)
Drink
2012
2017
16.5

Schloss Lieser, Lieser Niederberg Helden Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

Big on herbaceous aromas of spontaneous fermentation at this early stage, but Thomas Haag does not believe in flattery to deceive. The palate opens with a lightly medicinal taste, but this is soon superseded by some fine citrus fruit flavours. There is a gentle quinine minerality that complements grapefruit juice, flesh and pith to perfection. Plenty of edge at the moment, but substance and length bear great promise. (MS)
Drink
2013
2021
17.5

Schloss Lieser, Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

The aftermath of roaming wild yeasts is still prevalent at this stage, herbaceous and medicinal aromas dominating the nose. On the palate the Juffer Sonneuhr packs a powerful punch of almost exotic fruit and raw minerality. In terms of substance and impact this is impressive, but it will take time to chisel the finer features that undoubtedly lie underneath the presently rough exterior. (MS)
Drink
2013
2021
17.5

St Urbans-Hof, Leiwener Laurentiuslay Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Mosel

Ripe yellow fruit aromas are well supported by an attractive spicy fragrance. On the palate the mouthwatering flavour of sweet and juicy grapefruit is well supported by notes of pith and clove. The authenticity of the 2011 is reflected by a really creamy texture and ample body, though a subtle bitter edge prevents any danger of slipping into the flabby zone. (MS)
Drink
2012
2019
17

Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken, Saarburger Rausch Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Saar

Is there such a thing as peach perfume? But why splash it all over when you can drink it? Peach, melon and citrus fruit are combined in a delightfully juicy expression and, though the acidity is restrained, the Rausch never lacks in freshness. As with most of Zilliken’s wines I expect further refinement will come with time but this is dangerously drinkable now. (MS)
Drink
2012
2019
17

RHEINGAU

August Eser, Oestricher Lenchen Riesling Erstes Gewächs 2011 Rheingau

Once in a while a wine gets you right between the nostrils, and I have no idea where my perception of milk chocolate and butterscotch hailed from. I have to admit that my olfactory perception of a sweet shop stood corrected on the palate, where a lively acidity provided refreshing relief. Pleasant and harmonious enough in its sweet and sour combination, Eser’s Lenchen showed not enough else to play in the premier league of great growths. (MS)
Drink
2012
2015
15

Johannishof, Johannisberger Hölle Riesling Erstes Gewächs 2011 Rheingau

A delicate apricoty aroma makes for an attractive opening, and the fresh and juicy fruit flavour that follows does not let expectations down. The sweet hand has not been overplayed and an aromatic finish brings the overall performance to a satisfactory conclusion. (MS)
Drink
2012
2017
16

von Oetinger, Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Erstes Gewächs 2011 Rheingau

Gently flowery and peachy aromas flatter the olfactory perception, and fresh pineapple cubes might tempt most but the hardened trocken fans. I admit that a lemony acidity does lend a bit of an edge, but this must be cruising on the upper limit of residual sugar. A nice wine, but not dry. (MS)
Drink
2012
2017
15.5

Schloss Schönborn, Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg Riesling Erstes Gewächs 2011 Rheingau

The nose does not appear to have recovered entirely from the effects of fermentation, but the palate shows a concentration that promises potential. Herbaceous and even minerally notes dominate proceedings at this early stage, but at the core of the matter there is enough substance of sweet ripe fruit to be optimistic about further development. (MS)
Drink
2012
2018
16

Schloss Vollrads, Riesling Erstes Gewächs 2011 Rheingau

The promise of a fresh peach fragrance is fulfilled by mouthfilling juicy fruit flavour. There is plenty of acidity to tickle the taste buds’ salivary glands. A very open and forward Erstes Gewächs that may not dazzle with complexity but delivers plenty of substance and has good length too. (MS)
Drink
2012
2017
16.5

BADEN

Dr Heger, Ihringer Winklerberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Baden

The house of Heger is a top address in Baden, but Pinot rather than Riesling produces their flagship wines. The climate of the Kaiserstuhl is the warmest of all German regions, making acidity harder to come by. The Winklerberg is full bodied, exhibits a rich texture and is certainly not lacking in substance. Ripe stone fruit with a sprinkling of spices here and a touch of herbs there and still enough freshness make this Baden’s best (Riesling Grosses Gewächs). (MS)
Drink
2012
2017
16.5

Schlör, Reicholzheimer Satzenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Baden

Reicholzheim is a northeastern outpost of Baden and although administratively a part of that state, vinologically (is there such a word?) speaking its vineyards share the climate of its direct Franconian neighbours. This matters in terms of style, and the Satzenberg certainly exhibits the traditional earthy Franken character you will not find in the heart of the Baden region. Add to that some fresh yellow fruit, refreshing acidity and the gently bitter edge of fruit peel, and you have a very attractive (Franconian-style) Riesling. (MS)
Drink
2012
2019
16.5

Schloss Neuweier, Neuweier Goldenes Loch Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Baden

Sour yeasty notes do not tempt, particularly when they are accompanied by a scent of glue. This could be due to a touch of botrytis which sometimes adds to the complexity of a wine. Not in this case, and I cannot imagine that it was the maker’s intention to pass off a combination of glue and residual sugar as a Grosses Gewächs. A wine in turmoil, probably a faulty sample. (MS)
Drink
0
14

Seeger, Leimener Herrenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Baden

German Qualitätsweine need to get past a tasting panel to be awarded their AP (approval) number, and a major requirement is typicality. I have no idea how this wine got past the jurors, as to me the overriding sensory impression of new French oak may say many things, but Riesling is not one of them. In its favour one has to admit that the low acidity of 2011 would have been an advantage, and because of its substance,  the Herrenberg absorbs the wood well. In a little get-together after the event the jury (of journalists) was not just out on this one, but not far from handbags at five. Score 18 if you like to be slapped with a plank of wood! (MS)
Drink
2014
2019
16 +

Stigler, Ihringer Winklerberg Herrgottswinkel Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Baden

The Stigler estate is well known for the longevity of its wines, and the almost neutral nose of the Herrgottswinkel certainly seems to confirm that this is a real infant. The palate appears a little green at the moment, but gentle notes of grapefruit and peach point in the right direction. There is a slightly bitter tang of pith, but this may well eventually provide the balance needed for the longer term. Another plus is that the trap of too much residual sugar has been avoided. (MS)
Drink
2013
2019
16

FRANKEN

Rudolf Fürst, Bürgstadter Centgrafenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Franken

Nose still restrained but with the customary Centgrafenberg herbal character and gentle fumy fragrance. Although melon and pear do make an appearance, the accent is on minerally grip and firm structure. I have always appreciated the Centgrafenberg for its uncompromisingly austere style, but 2011 is a little smoother around the edges with a well-integrated acidity and an almost creamy texture. (MS)
Drink
2013
2021
17

Fürst Löwenstein, Homburger Kallmuth Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Franken

Meadow herbs remain the trademark fragrance of the Kallmuth, but 2011 has brought forward a fruitier tangent with some marked citrus notes on the palate. Quite soft and gentle, though not too sweet and with enough acidity to avoid blandness. Because of its unique herbal connotations I have a soft spot for the Kallmuth, but as a German disciplinarian I never let it show in my marks. (MS)
Drink
2012
2018
16.5

Juliusspital Würzburg, Würzburger Stein Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Franken

Still in the transitional phase, but the yeasty stage of post-fermentational trauma should soon give way to greater delights of fragrance. The palate runs the whole gamut of citrus fruit, and a gently bitter touch of quinine works well with a delicate earthy note to raise hopes of future complexity. (MS)
Drink
2013
2018
16.5

Horst Sauer, Escherndorfer Lump Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Franken

Kicks off with an abundance of sweet fruit but has plenty of acidity to avoid any danger of slipping into the sweet and sour twilight zone. Sauer’s Lump never lacks substance and does not care about providing a short thrill. The sweet grapefruit flavour may already be very seductive, but there is also a certain compactness that suggests longer distance potential. (MS)
Drink
2013
2019
17

Schmitt's Kinder, Randersacker Pfülben Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Franken

Quite restrained on the nose, with an unusual but not unattractive buttery notion. A citrusy sweetness is ably partnered by lively acidity. A touch of earthy minerality and a smidgeon of herbs lift this Pfülben way beyond a simple sweet and sour performance. A tactile bite on the finish indicates that the best is still to come. (MS)
Drink
2013
2019
16.5

Staatlicher Hofkeller Würzburg, Würzburger Stein Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Franken

Expectations raised by an attractive green fruit fragrance are not let down by the flavour of juicy melon and pear. A swift kick of lively acidity adds a very refreshing notion, and a clean earthy minerality takes this version of the Stein into the authentic Franken bracket. The finish is still a bit rugged, but a little naughty can be very nice (so I’ve been told). (MS)
Drink
2012
2018
16.5

Staatlicher Hofkeller Würzburg, Würzburger Innere Leiste Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Franken

Not my favourite of the Hofkeller Grosse Gewächse this year, as despite the attractive citrus fruit and a gentle combination of dusty minerality and herbs I cannot make friends with the sweeter interpretation of trocken. To be fair, there is plenty of acidity livening up the performance, and Grosse Gewächse enthusiasts who do not mind a fair dash of residual sugar would probably be more generous in their score. (MS)
Drink
2012
2018
16

Hans Wirsching, Iphöfer Julius-Echter-Berg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Franken

2011 has given the Julius-Echter-Berg a little more body and texture and slightly softened the grip of its customary earthy minerality. However, the acidity has been pitched just right to control any excess of exotic fruit flavours. Personally I may have preferred the 2008 or 2009, but can gracefully accept that 2011 will have greater appeal for lovers of the more generous style. Suum cuique! (MS)
Drink
2012
2019
16.5

Hans Wirsching, Iphöfer Kronsberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Franken

Apricot and vineyard peach aromas produce an almost perfumed aroma, and the generosity of fruit continues on the palate with a truly ripe fruit flavour. The texture is rich, marginally at the expense of acidity, and for the lover of the more austere Franken style this baby is a little too sweet. On the other hand, those who like their trocken a little more rounded and mellow should be quite happy. (MS)
Drink
2012
2019
16

Zur Schwane, Escherndorfer Lump Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Franken

The nose may not be giving away much for now, but the palate is treated to a generous expression of grapefruit and orange flavours. The sweet juice of the fruit is ably complemented by some refined bitter pith notes and a dash of zesty peel. What you see is probably what you get, but what is wrong with instant pleasure? (MS)
Drink
2012
2017
16

Zur Schwane, Volkacher Ratsherr Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Franken

Still quite closed on the nose. The taste buds are treated to some juicy citrus fruit, and in keeping with the vintage, residual sugar does make a sweet appearance. Quite full bodied and with a rich texture, the Ratsherr uses the support of a refreshing dash of acidity and a sprinkling of orange peel to keep the flab at bay. The expression of minerality is not quite as pronounced as in previous years, but a gentle herbal note adds interest to the finish. (MS)
Drink
2012
2017
16

MITTELRHEIN


WÜRTTEMBERG

Aldinger, Untertürkheimer Gips Marienglas Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Württemberg

Aromas of pear and melon on a still slightly unsettled nose, but melon and kiwi flavour comes all inclusive of fruit, juice, peel and and a delicate creamy-sour notion. A gentle breeze carries across the scent of meadow herbs, but as I’m not being paid for literary effort, let’s just call it one of the more complex renditions of Württemberg Grosse Gewächse. (MS)
Drink
2012
2017
16.5

Aldinger, Fellbacher Lämmler Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Württemberg

Aldinger is something like the Grand Master of Württemberg winemakers, and with the Lämmler he sends in a second contender that exhibits more of an exotic character with mandarin at the top of the citrus fruit pile. It has to be said that the fruit does not only impress with sweetness but also a well-preserved juicy acidity. Uncomplicated, but very approachable and pleasant. (MS)
Drink
2012
2017
16

Ernst Dautel, Bönnigheimer Sonnenberg Grübenstein Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Württemberg

Another follower of the wild-yeast school of thinking, Dautel does not mind the Grübenstein showing an uncompromisingly herbaceous character in its infant stage. Substance and length do indicate that there will be more to this wine’s life than just green edges, and I find the balance between acidity and restrained sweetness very successful. A tiny glimpse of yellow fruit holds the promise of joys to look forward to. (MS)
Drink
2013
2019
16

Jürgen Ellwanger, Schnaiter Altenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Württemberg

The Altenberg shows that Ellwanger believes in the work of natural yeasts, but the herbaceous tangent is well buffered by a juicy expression of fruit. At the same time he has managed to control the impact of the residual sugar to a degree where the balance between sweetness, acidity, fruit and a gentle resiny element appears just right. (MS)
Drink
2013
2019
16.5

Karl Haidle, Stettener Pulvermächer Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2011 Württemberg

The Pulvermächer sports some exotic fruit, but maybe has turned out just a little sweet for my liking. Reminds me of herbal sweets in the best possible taste and cannot be faulted on generosity in terms of texture and length. With acidity well restrained this is one of the broader Grosse Gewächse renditions. (MS)
Drink
2012
2016
16