There is a subtle spice component within the nose, along with slightly baked apple and tropical nut. The sip can offer an almost chewy expanse of applelike nougat, almond, and a fresh note of white fruit in the long, dry finish. This is a big and opulent wine.
Dr. Bürklin-Wolf "Pechstein" Riesling, Pfalz 2003, $40
Pechstein means "black stone," for which this vineyard is known. The black stones remain from nearby quarry works resulting in cobblestones for the village of Forst. There can be luscious peach and floral in the nose, along with complex mineral. The sip offers complex white fruit, delicate peach, cashew, and a range of mineral throughout the predictably long finish.
Pfeffingen "Pfeffo" Riesling Kabinett, Pfalz 2004, $20
The nose will be dry and earthy. The sip promises flavors of orange peel, citrus, and delicate mineral. Pfeffo is the Roman who first settled this whole region in the fifth century. It is also where the village of Pfeffingen gets its name.
Pfeffingen Scheurebe Spätlese, Pfalz 2004, $25
There will be lychee nut, lime, and likely a touch of cilantro spice in the nose. There can be candied orange, apricot, and elements of cold tea. The Scheurebe (pronounced schoy-ray-ba) grape is a crossing of Sylvaner and Riesling, done so by a Dr. Georg Scheu. Rebe means vine, thus the name of the grape.
Pfeffingen "Weilberg" Riesling, Pfalz 2003/04, $38
The nose promises delicate apple floral, grapefruit, and a mineral base note. The sip can be bright with tropical citrus, bright floral, and refreshing complexity. The soil of the vineyard is very unusual for Germany. It is red clay with bits of broken limestone, then solid limestone below (similar to Coonawarra in Australia).
Rebholz Riesling Spätlese Trocken, Pfalz 2004, $32
The nose can be rich with cashew butter and floral. The flavors are likely of grapefruit, white fruit, tropical nut, floral, and interesting mineral notes. This estate tends to harvest as late as possible to achieve the biggest concentrations of flavor.
Rebholz "Kastanienbusch" Riesling Grosses Gewächs Pfalz 2004, $32
The nose is predictably powerful with flint, laurel leaf, and maybe a touch of lavender. The sip can offer lime, oily citrus, and lightly baked apple. There will be numerous layers of complexity to this white. The length will be long and subtly complex.
Reading the Wine LabelThe good news is that German wine labels are being redesigned, making them easier for the average consumer to read. Contrary to common belief, not all German wines are sweet.
Troken: indicates a dry wine without perceptible residual sweetness
Halbtrocken: considered half-dry by most wine lovers, though not bone-dry
Quality: The four categories (rated lowest to highest) are Deutscher Tafelwein, Landwein, Qualitätswein, and Qualitätswein mit Prädikat.
Ripeness: The Qualitätswein mit Prädikat are divided into levels of ripeness (less ripe to most ripe, not to be confused with sweetness), being Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein (ice wine), and Trockenbeerenauslese.
Weingut (pronounced vine-goot): a wine-producing property in Germany