Germany tops biggest ever international Riesling tasting

German wines were conclusive winners in probably the biggest ever international Riesling tasting held this month. Over 1,700 Rieslings from 10 countries were tasted by an international panel of 160 tasters at the Best of Riesling 2002 competition held in Mainz, Germany.

In all, 14 of the 15 winning wines (see below) were German. Winning producers included Emrich-Schönleber (Charles Taylor Wines Ltd, tel: 020 7928 8151); Weingut Darting – whose 2001 Riesling will be available in Marks & Spencer as part of a new German wine range from the end of this month; and Horst Sauer (Noel Young Wines, tel: 01223 844744 / Justerini & Brooks, tel: 020 7484 6400), who has been enjoying an incredibly successful 2002 as winner of a German Wine Marketing Initiative Award and three Gold Medals in the International Wine Challenge.

The Best of Riesling competition is particularly timely given the new buzz which surrounds Riesling, widely regarded by wine experts as the world's greatest white grape variety.

'It is our goal to give Germany’s showpiece vine the appreciation it deserves and to hold it up at the same time for international comparison,' said Hans-Artur Bauckhage, the Rheinland-Pfälzische Minister of viticulture, organiser of the competition.

The Best of Riesling 2002 included entrants from Australia, France, Canada, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Austria, South Africa, Hungary, the USA and, of course, Germany.

It is the second time the competition has been held, but the first time it has taken the form of an official wine tasting. The winning wine makers will be invited to an official awards celebration gala to be held in Germany on 4 September 2002. The next Best of Riesling competition will be held in 2004.

Best of Riesling 2002 Winners
* = producer's wines available in UK
31 July 2002

CATEGORY I – maximum 9g/l residual sugar up to 11 per cent abv
1stHeinrich-Schmitges 2001 Erdener Treppchen Kabinett – Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
2ndFranz-Josef Eifel 2001 Trittenheimer Apotheke Kabinett – Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
3rdWeingut Landgraf 2001 Saulheimer Schlossberg Spätlese trocken – Rheinhessen
CATEGORY II – maximum 9g/l residual sugar over 11 per cent abv
1stAugust Ziegler 2001 Gimmeldinger Biengarten Kabinett – Pfalz
2nd*Horst Sauer 2001 Eschendorfer Lump Spätlese – Franken
3rd*Weingut Darting 2001 Dürkheimer Michelsberg Kabinett – Pfalz
CATEGORY III – up to 15g/l residual sugar
1stWeingut Karl-Heinz und Knut Fader 2001 Rhodter Schlossberg Spätlese – Pfalz
2ndWinzergenossenschaft Nordheim 2000 Nordheimer Vogelein Spätlese – Franken
3rdWeingut Studier 2001 Ellerstadter Kirchenstück Spätlese – Pfalz
CATEGORY IV – 15-80 g/l residual sugar
1stKruger-Rumpf 2001 Münsterer Dautenpflänzer Spätlese – Nahe
2ndWeingut Karl-Heinz Gaul 2001 Sausenheimer Hütt Spätlese – Pfalz
3rd*Emrich-Schönleber 2001 Monzinger Halenberg Auslese – Nahe
CATEGORY V – over 80 g/l residual sugar
1stWeingut Diedinger 2001 Bopparder Hamm Weingrube – Mittelrhein
2ndWachau, 2000 Loibenberg Dienstlgut Loiben, Dürnstein – Austria
3rdWeingut Korrell 2001 Kreuznacher Paradies – Nahe