Michael's 2019 GGs – Rheingau and Rheinhessen

Bottle being poured in Wiesbaden 2020

The second of Michael's three collections of tasting notes on Riesling 2019 Grosse Gewächse. See his notes on GGs from the Mosel and Nahe and from Pfalz, Württemberg and Franken. These complement Jancis's tasting notes on 2019 GGs. Image © Peter Bender for the VDP. See also this guide to our coverage of Germany's 2020 releases.

The following 54 wines are grouped by region – Rheingau then Rheinhessen – and then listed alphabetically by producer, but you can change the order within groups using the menu below.

Rheingau

Baron Knyphausen, Erbacher Hohenrain Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheingau

Dominated on the nose by the expression of spontaneous fermentation aromas, but subtle enough with nuances of straw and dried herbs. Just a little sweet on the palate, but exhibiting great herbal variety with sprigs of fennel, oregano and thyme. Idiosyncratic, but definitely fascinating. (MS)

Drink
2021
2028
17

Geheimrat J Wegeler, Geisenheimer Rothenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheingau

It’s hard to prise apart the floral, herbal and mineral nuances which make up a fragrance so sophisticated that you even fail to spot the final olfactory component, derived from oak contact. But it is there on the palate, with the taste of apricot, mandarin and a gently bitter notion. It may not need the wood, but it’s certainly been applied in the best possible taste. (MS)

Drink
2021
2028
17.5

August Kesseler, Lorchhäuser Seligmacher Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheingau

Caramel and butterscotch indicate that the Seligmacher is not averse to a little vinification in oak, but there’s also some very aromatic fruit here, more than slightly reminiscent of blackcurrant. On the palate it tastes more like sweet gooseberry, but is well balanced by deliciously stimulating acidity. Seems to be getting drier towards the finish, probably because of a healthy dose of graphite-like minerality. (MS)

Drink
2021
2028
18

August Kesseler, Rüdesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheingau

On the nose the Roseneck shows a pleasant combination of citrus fruit and delicate floral notions. The taste may be uncomplicated but really refreshes the palate with a perfect composition of juicy peach, sweet grapefruit and animating acidity. An easy-drinking Riesling, proving that not every Grosses Gewächs has to be an intellectual challenge. (MS)

Drink
2020
2027
17.5

August Kesseler, Assmannshäuser Höllenberg Spätburgunder Grosses Gewächs 2018 Rheingau

The only Spätburgunder in my line-up, as it was sent to my home.
The almost black colour with deep purple rim hardly suggests Pinot Noir. On the nose we are presented with a pronounced fragrance of blackberry and black cherry, augmented by a deft nuance of clove. On the palate it’s ripe and sweet blackberry, a hint of blackcurrant and wood spice. Surprisingly well-tamed tannins. A blockbuster that is very different from your Huber and Fürst Spätburgunder wines, but has enjoyed a strong following in the States for a long time. (MS)

Drink
2022
2030
17.5

Peter Jakob Kühn, Oestricher Lenchen Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2018 Rheingau

If I was not sure about the oak on the Doosberg, I am sure here! Although the great concentration of fruit and minerality of the Lenchen cannot be denied, you also get butterscotch, vanilla and the aroma of freshly cut logs. But it’s all cooled down by a delightful herbal freshness on the finish. (MS)

Drink
2022
2030
18

Peter Jakob Kühn, Oestricher Doosberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2018 Rheingau

An intense smell of stone fruit and minerality commands almost all the attention of the nose, but at the tail end of the fragrance a suspicion of wood cannot be ignored. On the palate the Doosberg is packed with fruit and rocky minerality before an almost Viognier-like composition of vanilla, mandarin and almond bring a little bit of relaxation to the taste buds. Personally, I’m not sure it needs the wood, but I cannot deny that it is well pitched. (MS)

Drink
2022
2030
18.5

Peter Jakob Kühn, Mittelheimer St Nikolaus Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2018 Rheingau

Maybe it’s my imagination, but the St Nikolaus seems a little gentler than Peter Jakob Kühn’s other Grosse Gewächse. Fruit is certainly dished out in generous and juicy measures, from the local peach and nectarine to the more exotic with passion fruit and a dash of grapefruit. On the finish sprinklings of dusty minerality and ginger spice add a tactile tickle. (MS)

Drink
2022
2030
18.5

Franz Künstler, Kostheimer Weiss Erd Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheingau

The Weiß Erd exhibits what the conservative Riesling lover may consider a classic Rheingau combination of stone fruit and earthy minerality. It’s generous without being exuberant, also accommodating subtle spicy and chalky nuances. Elegant and just a tad more sophisticated than Künstler’s other Grosse Gewächse. (MS)

Drink
2021
2028
18.5

Josef Leitz, Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2018 Rheingau

The fruit is so ripe, it almost smells of sweets. The palate does not hold back on residual sugar either, which may have blinded me a little to the attractions of stony minerality and herbal potpourri that fellow tasters were bowled over by. I think it is possible to have a blind spot for a certain style of wine. If you don’t want your trocken too dry and are fond of a generous dash of sweetness, this could be the one for you. (MS)

Drink
2020
2027
17

Josef Leitz, Rüdesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2018 Rheingau

The fragrance of the Berg Roseneck does not hold back and tempts the nose with floral intensity and fruit that is bordering on the tropical. Turns out quite sweet on the palate too, with pineapple chunks and very ripe grapefruit, although refreshing acidity makes sure the finish does not get too opulent. Very generous and pleasant, but not necessarily reaching the heights of complexity. (MS)

Drink
2020
2027
17.5

Josef Leitz, Rüdesheimer Berg Kaisersteinfels Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2018 Rheingau

Another Leitz, another style of Grosses Gewächs, which surely has to be interpreted as the ability to express the individuality of different terroirs. I have a fondness for this one because it starts with a dusty expression which I read as minerality. The fruit is still sweet on the palate, but not unduly so, and is well balanced by subtle acidity, nuances of dried herbs and slightly bitter piquancy. Slightly dusty nose, full on the palate, and although a tad sweet, well balanced by a dried herbal notion and subtle acidity. Finishes on an interesting bitter piquancy. (MS)

Drink
2021
2030
18

Josef Leitz, Rüdesheimer Rosengarten Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2018 Rheingau

There’s almost something exotic about the fragrance of the Rosengarten, with notes of tropical fruit and a hint of vanilla. As expected, it tastes relatively sweet, reminiscent of meringue filled with fruit, but it’s juicy enough and can also score with a cool mineral expression and a fine nuance of fresh herbs. (MS)

Drink
2020
2027
18

Fred Prinz, Oestricher Doosberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2018 Rheingau

There’s nothing ostentatious about the fragrance or flavour of this wine. It teases the nose with a gentle expression of stone fruit, before a cool and almost medicinal herbal scent makes its presence felt. On the palate peach and vanilla enter a seductive partnership, but are given firm contours on the finish by a mix of phenolic and mineral nuances. (MS)

Drink
2021
2028
17

Schloss Johannisberg, Johannisberger Silberlack Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheingau

Quite an idiosyncratic style in terms of Rheingau Grosses Gewächs, placing the emphasis on a fresh, almost medicinal herbal expression on the nose. The palate shows good substance and some aromatic notes of stone fruit, but also a crunchy vegetal taste reminiscent of sorrel. Sound acidity makes for an invigorating finish. (MS)

Drink
2021
2028
17.5

Josef Spreitzer, Oestricher Rosengarten Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheingau

Not old-fashioned, but Rheingau of the old school with a delightful fragrance of stone fruit and mouth-wateringly juicy flavour of peach, pear and apricot. Even grapefruit comes with a dash of sweetness, but also adds refreshing acidity. Gentle floral and earthy nuances add a touch of complexity. (MS)

Drink
2021
2028
17.5

Josef Spreitzer, Mittelheimer St Nikolaus Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheingau

Still a little reticent on the nose, but with a fascinating spicy nuance reminiscent of Christmas cake. If this makes you expect something a little sweet on the palate, expectations are fulfilled with ripe citrus fruit flavours, but equally grapefruit and orange bring zesty acidity to the palate. Delicious spicy nuances tickle the palate with hints of ginger and cloves. (MS)

Drink
2021
2028
18

Robert Weil, Kiedricher Gräfenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheingau

A concentrated fragrance combines the fruit of peach, apricot and mirabelle with subtle herbal and fine mineral notions. On the palate a compact substance of fruit is kept cool by refreshing acidity and a mineral expression akin to rock dust. Subtle sprinklings of herbs and spices add further complexity. (MS)

Drink
2021
2030
19

Rheinhessen

Bischel, Binger Scharlachberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

Yellow fruit, peach and a gentle herbal aroma, as expression of autochthonous yeast, join forces in a pleasant fragrance. The flavour appears a little lightweight, though agreeable enough, with gentle notes of pear and citrus fruit complemented by a cool notion of fresh green herbs. (MS)

Drink
2020
2027
17

Brüder Dr Becker, Dienheimer Tafelstein Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

Still a little unsettled with a slightly yeasty expression, but nevertheless showing plenty of fruit and ripeness with an attractive combination of peach and lanolin. On the palate peach and pear please the taste buds, with a successful interaction of sweet and sour elements, very pleasant, quite uncomplicated. A little edge would add another dimension and help is at hand with a touch of quinine piquancy on the finish. (MS)

Drink
2020
2027
17

K F Groebe, Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

It would be wrong to praise Groebe’s Kirchspiel too highly, as he keeps the best bit for his cult Grande Reserve. Nevertheless, there is enough juicy yellow fruit to make the mouth water. A hint of aniseed adds interest and the smidgeon of residual sweetness is part of Groebe’s GG philosophy. (MS)

Drink
2021
2029
18

K F Groebe, Westhofener Aulerde Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

If the Aulerde has always been a bit of an underdog in the illustrious circle of Westhofen vineyards, it’s coming good now. Groebe’s version is still quite traditional with ripe yellow fruit and just a tad of residual sugar, but well animated by refreshing acidity and gentle earthy minerality. Ambient yeasts are allowed the final word with a fresh green-herbal notion. (MS)

Drink
2021
2029
18.5

Gunderloch, Nackenheimer Rothenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

The Rothenberg’s fragrance impresses primarily with fresh herbal and mineral aromas, fruit represented by a gentle notion of apricot. The taste is defined by a rich salty minerality, cool herbal notes and a very delicate expression of peach and grapefruit. A firm structure indicates great ageing potential. (MS)

Drink
2022
2030
18

Gunderloch, Niersteiner Hipping Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

Still a little shy on the nose, but showing encouraging signs of herbal freshness, supported by the merest notion of caramel. The palate rocks with flinty and salty minerality, brazen acidity, phenolic herbaceousness and not an ounce of sweetness in sight. Truly trocken, not for the squeamish. (MS)

Drink
2022
2030
18

Gunderloch, Niersteiner Pettenthal Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

Gentle notes of local vineyard fruit add an appealing touch to the animating expression of fresh and green-vegetal aromas. A mere hint of caramel can be interpreted as the result of vinification in wooden barrels. On the palate the Pettenthal bristles with energy, instigated by reverberating acidity and a solid block of salty minerality. The alcohol content may be modest, but the extract is high. (MS)

Drink
2022
2030
18.5

Gutzler, Wormser Liebfrauenstift Kirchenstück Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

Caramel, roasted and toasted notions leave the nose in no doubt about the contribution of wood to the vinification of the Kirchenstück. Quite sweet and also a little medicinal on the palate with bitter-sweet nuances of orange and mandarin, including notes of peel. The tannins of the oak may also partly be to 'blame' for the bitter piquancy. (MS)

Drink
2021
2028
17

Keller, Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

A pungent herbaceous nose settles down after a bit of airing into an animating green-herbal fragrance, complemented by earthy and chalky mineral notions. On the palate there are some fine nuances of citrus fruit, but the main flavour revolves around a refined combination of fresh green mint and pronounced salty minerality, supported by vibrant acidity and a delicate sprinkling of spice. (MS)

Drink
2021
2030
18

Keller, Dalsheimer Hubacker Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

Really cool and fresh on the nose with aromas of crushed basil and mint. A hint of almond blossom makes a delicate floral contribution. The flavour of the Hubacker combines sappy herbaceous and herbal elements with subtle notes of mandarin and citrus peel, served on a creamy texture. Acidity is well integrated, just adding a slight lemony touch to the finish. (MS)

Drink
2021
2030
18.5

Keller, Westhofener Abts E Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

Although the Abts E gets out of the starting blocks with an assertive herbaceous fragrance, further airing reveals gentle floral nuances and a potpourri of garden herbs with oregano and marjoram the most recognisable ones. On the palate the herbal expression is quite concentrated, yet at the same time fairly soft and complemented by just a smidgeon of aniseed. A deliciously salty tang adds further sensory delight. Gentle, cool and elegant. (MS)

Drink
2022
2032
19

Keller, Westhofener Morstein Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

A fresh and exhilarating expression of herbal and vegetal aromas not only declares the use of spontaneous fermentation, but also successfully avoids its main flaw of medicinal pungency. On the palate minerality takes charge with compact and cool earthy and stony notes. The mineral impact is tastefully buffered by juicy fruit, but riveting acidity keeps the taste buds on their toes. Has plenty of edge without being aggressive. Long term. (MS)

Drink
2022
2032
19

Schätzel, Niersteiner Hipping Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

Kai Schätzel’s predilection for natural yeasts finds expression in an exhilarating fragrance of fresh green-herbaceous notes, with just a hint of stone fruit in support. The taste is lip-smacking and mouth-watering at the same time, with a juicy saline flavour and riveting acidity. If you blink, you will miss the slightly sweet finish. With an alcohol content of 11.5% you could call this lean and mean, but less body means more energy. (MS)

11.5%
Drink
2022
2030
18

Schätzel, Niersteiner Ölberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

Kai Schätzel is a staunch follower of the school of spontaneous fermentation, which can sometimes result in some uncompromising wines, particularly in their youth. His Ölberg rocks the palate with salty minerality and vigorous acidity. And yet, the suspiciously minded also seem to detect smidgeons of caramel and vanilla. In this case, used with great moderation and thus the wood contributes more to structure than flavour. (MS)

Drink
2022
2030
18

Schätzel, Niersteiner Pettenthal Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

Almost as if to demonstrate that there is no need for ostentatious fruit, Kai Schätzel banks on the freshness of green-herbal and vegetal aromas to produce an exhilarating fragrance. A taste of crunchy sorrel gives the taste buds a workout, salty and herbaceous nuances contribute to an invigoratingly cool character. (MS)

Drink
2022
2030
18

St Antony, Niersteiner Orbel Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

The nose is pleased by a generous offering of ripe yellow fruit. On the palate the taste of juicy peach is ably complemented by grapefruit with all its dimensions, from animating acidity to ripe flesh and zesty peel notes. A hint of quinine adds further peel piquancy. Dry, but not in an austere way. (MS)

Drink
2021
2028
17.5

St Antony, Niersteiner Pettenthal Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

On the nose St Antony’s Pettenthal shows plenty of ripe fruit augmented by seductive notes of candied orange and caramel. The palate shows plenty of substance, with fruit not the only dimension. Bitter orange and quinine add animating piquancy. Any sweet leanings are kept well in check by assertive acidity. (MS)

Drink
2021
2028
17.5

Wagner-Stempel, Binger Scharlachberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

I believe that Daniel Wagner has swapped part of his Heerkretz vineyard for a plot in the Scharlachberg, but I think he’s still in search of the soul of this new acquisition. What he has managed is to give it an exhilarating expression, with mint and even a hint of fresh parsley, as a result of the use of natural yeasts. The substance on the palate appears a little delicate, although fruit and acidity are well balanced. Herbal freshness adds value to the finish. (MS)

Drink
2021
2028
17.5

Wagner-Stempel, Siefersheimer Heerkretz Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

Still quite reticent on the nose, a little yellow fruit shares the olfactory stage with gentle notes of mint, tea leaves and spirit of melissa. The palate shows plenty of grip and it is difficult to differentiate at this stage whether this comes from wood tannins or a phenolic herbaceousness, probably both. Compact minerality dominates at this early stage, giving the wine some truly sharp contours. (MS)

Drink
2022
2030
18.5

Wagner-Stempel, Siefersheimer Höllberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2019 Rheinhessen

After the austerity of the preceding Heerkretz, the Höllberg seems quite exuberant with an almost tropical-fruit fragrance. The palate offers juicy fruit, maracuja and ripe gooseberry the main proponents, a citrusy freshness and a well-pitched mineral tangent add finesse. Sweetened with a dash of residual sugar. (MS)

Drink
2021
2029
18