Thursday, 24 May 2007

VDP Grosser Ring, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Riesling Tasting, 23 May 2007, Stockholm, Sweden

Last evening saw me visiting the Grosser Ring 2007 Riesling tasting held a the Swedish-German Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm. The vintage that was the focus was 2006. This was the second time that the Grosser Ring had exhibited in Sweden.

The Grosser Ring is an association of 29 wine producers dedicated to producing high quality Riesling and storing each parcel in separate fuder (1000 litre) barrels. It was founded in 1908 which is 99 years ago !. 20 members were present in Stockholm yesterday.

I got to talk to Ernst Loosen who was there representing his wines and he told me some interesting snippets of information which I will repeat here. Global warming isn't really affecting him. It is now very difficult to find people to work in the vineyards. Nobody wants to be known as a vineyard manager for instance (it is just not that socially acceptable). It is no problem to get a winemaker; everybody wants to be the star. Dr. Loosen usually get workers from Poland, for instance, to help with the harvets but Germany's employment laws are making this more and more difficult. The Eroica Riesling, from Washington state, will be available in Sweden this year. Ernst's first Oregon Pinot Noir will be bottled this year. Ernst flies over to the USA once a month to vist Oregon and Chateau St Michelle in Washington State. Ernst is now stating to put is "low-end" wines under screwcap; both the 2006 Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett and 2006 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spaetlese were under screwcap. Ernst said that Brian Croser had shown him some 30 year-old Australian Rieslings that were bottled with screwcaps and were showing just fine. I found the 2006 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spaetlese to be better, to my taste, than the 2005; it had a more acidic finish, thus wasn't so cloying, and more delicate, not so rich. Ernst said that we just drink his wines young, the first two or three years, or older, after 10, if stored under perfect conditions though he claimed that wine cellars, particularly in the USA were too warm which meant that one could drink his wines after 5 or 6 years. He mentioned that he had a 1959 that was stored at friends under ground, very cold, and at 100% humidity that was as fresh as when it was bottled. Dr Loosen is only bottling Rieslings but at J L Wolf, which is run as completely separate business with a different team, they have all three Pinots and a Gewurztraminer.

The highlights for me were Dr. Loosen, Fritz Haag, and St Urbans-Hof. Wines that I didn't really enjoy were the feinherb style (I find the herbiness clashes with the sweetness) and the very high minerality that was found in some wines (especially those on show from Dr. H. Thanisch).

According the organisers, the Grosser Ring tasting will be back in Stockholm in May next year.

Website : Grosser Ring Tasting Programme
Website : Grosser Ring

No comments: