German Wines


Everything is MSR if not otherwise stated.




96 Schloss Vollrads Not-Qualitatswein

Rancid. Welch’s Riesling. Bastard apple flavor. No finish. Maybe it wasn’t that bad. I’ve had better for $8 (cost $12). 1/00

01 Berg Roxheim (Nahe)
Good flavor. Medium body. Good finish. Worth $20 2/04

03 Vohn Buhl Pfalz Riesling QBA
Good flavor but a bit unfocused. Layzes around in your mouth like it just don’t care. But this is okay. I’d drink some more at that same price. $12 9/04



93 JJ Prum Kabinett
We hold these Rieslings to be self-evident, and refreshing too. And the lower alcohol is good for mid-week and early drinking. This is the wine I would drink if I were brother Cadfael, and I needed a break from solving a tough PBS mystery of programming, like what happened to The Young Ones, Monty Python’s Circus and about a hundred other good British shows that they don’t have on any more. $17 1/99

95 Basserman-Jordan Kabinett

Nice flavor, low acidity, fairly dry. Not much body or fruit. Still better than cheap chardonnay—at least it tastes good. $12 4/99 crisp, green apple. 11/00

95 Fritz Haag Kabinett
A tiny bit tart, but this is great stuff. I need more. $6 (on sale from $12) 10/00

(2) Crisp, green apple. 1/01


97 Dr. Loosen WS Kabinett
Not really that much going on here. For $12, I feel like I could get something more interesting in Alsace. I will say this, however. The cork had printed on the side of it the longest word I’ve seen since the last time I read anything written in German—erzeugerabfuillung. I mean, it isn’t every day you get to see a word like that. 4/00

97 Loosen ET Kabinett
Fading gracefully at this point. Still very balanced, though. Enjoyable. Well worth $15. Touch of grapefruit notes.

97 Gymnasium Graach Himmel Kabinett

Light body. Flavor not so good. Finish way too tart. Not the best Riesling for $15. 5/00

01 J & HA Strub Niersteiner Brückchen Kabinett

Off balance. Used gasoline. Eh. $19 10/04

01 Willi Haag Kabinett

Light/medium body. sprightly. Flavor is very close to 01 WS Kerpen A $22 but less sweet. Half the price and almost as good. $12 1/03

01 Selbach-Oster BB Kabinett

Similar to Willi Haag 01K. Perhaps slightly more tart? $14 1/03

(2) Decent body and flavor. Finish so-so. 2/04


01 Schloss Wallhausen Kabinett (Nahe)

Good medium body. Good fruit. Nice flavor. Very faintly tart, good. Worth way more than $12. 7/04

01 Mathern Kabinett (Nahe)

Strong flavor, apricot nectar love. Slightly odd finish like a weird orange French candy. But still a good effort overall. And worth it. $15 9/03

01 Meulenhoff ET Kabinett
It’s alright. Seemed a little too sour though. $15 7/03

01 Pfeffingen Kabinett

Medium body. Very nice flavor, which stays a lot longer than you might expect. Finish is medium length. Worth every bit of $15 4/03


01 Dr. Loosen UW Kabinett

Delicious. sprightly. Apple, citrus. Medium sweet. I suppose it’s like the 01 Pfeffingen. $15 6/03

01 Darting Muskateller Kabinett (Pfalz)

Crisp, sprightly. Good. Cost $14 Worth $18 at least. 6/05

02 Egon-Müller Kabinett

All’s I can remember is it was good. Probably worth the $30, or I figure I’d remember that. 2/06


02 Dr. Pauly Alterberg Bad Doc Kabinett

Kind of a hybrid MSR in core flavor, but with more Rheingau-like grip. It’s not particularly smooth nor elegant. And there’s only a medium amount of fruit. But it’s good fruit. It tastes good. And that’s enough. (Cost $18, Worth $20) 9/06


04 Dr. Pauly WS Kabinett

Almost exactly like I remember the 95 and 96 from a decade ago. The standard MSR flavor profile—but with a nod toward the more blue-collar “grip” you get from say, Rheingau. Perhaps also a shade too acidic. Or it could be my stomach these days. (Cost $18, worth $17) 9/06

04 Fritz Haag BJS Kabinett $20
Standard, solid MSR flavor. Good balance. Well worth $20. Screw cap though, Jesus! 11/05


04 Leitz Rudesheimer Klosterlay Kabinett (Rheingau)

It’s really good. Cost $18 (worth $19). 7/05

(2) Fantastic for this price. Nice acidity. Great flavor. Only reason this should not be even more expensive is the fruit kind of trails off just slightly in the finish. In other words, it’s delicious, it just leaves you wanting more and doesn’t blow you away. $14 (worth $20) 7/05




95 Dr. Thanisch BB Spatlese

Wonderful. Crisp. Aqua man rides again. $15-20 12/98

(2) Same story. 2/99
(3) Still sprightly. Fruit is fresh and full as ever. Try saying that 5 times. What a bargain at $17. 10/99
(4) Same as before, perhaps a tiny bit more tart on the finish. Still sprightly. I think there are more citrus flavors opening up a little, but overall, doesn’t seem like it’s changed so much from two years earlier. 3/01


89 Fritz Haag Spatlese

Odd. Smells like cranberry. Overall a bit tart. Not as crisp at this point as it probably would have been earlier. What? Maybe a bit sour too, but still tastes pretty good. Maybe softer. Or maybe there isn’t enough acid. Is that possible? Huh. Maybe that’s why it seems too dry. 5/01

90 Balbach Niersteiner Oelberg (Rheinhessen)
Normal nose. Medium-light bodied without much glycerol. The flavor is more Oilberg than Oelberg, and the finish was fairly decrepit. The fruit is still there, but it’s either mutated or was never that good in the first place? After a while of drinking it, however, the weird taste does kind of grow on you. Still not worth $16. 10/99

93 JJ Prum Spatlese WS
Great stuff. $23

95 Fritz Haag Spatlese

Delicious. Apples. Very similar to Dr. Thanisch. Perhaps more sprightly citric acids than the 93k Prum (younger? more sprites?) Maybe a little more body as well (hard to say at my skill level). $17 2/99

95 Dr. Pauly Bergweiler BB Spatlese

Crisp acids. Pleasant bouqet has begun to appear. Medium body. Overall, very nice. Not all that much fruit. $21 5/99

95 Dr. Pauly Bergweiler WS Spatlese

Wow. So much more oily now (as opposed to, before)?! But still good. Very smooth, very interesting experience. Wow, so smooth. 12/05


Lilting When a wine just falls off the sides of the tongue. Rare in a young wine, but not uncommon in well-aged wines (seems especially achievable in German Riesling).

95 JJ Prum Spatlese

Sweet, sprightly, green apple. Nice medium body. $23 11/01

96 Dr Pauly Bergweiler BB Spatlese

Good. Very crisp. Lots of flavor. Worth all of $20. 12/99

(2) Fruity, citrusy. A bomb of flavor. Drink now through some time later. $21 12/99


97 Dr. Pauly WS Spatlese

Standard (good) MSR nose. Nice attack flavor, acidity (almost too much), but late palate has very slight sub-par flavor (?souring). Slight, not major. Only cost like $18 anyway (worth $20). 11/05


97 Loosen UW Spatlese

Wonderful, medium-bodied MSR. Classic MSR nose and flavor. Gentle, crisp, good acidity level. Fine now, but I wonder how long it could have gone? $23 / worth $30 9/06

98 Von Wilhelm Piesporter Spatlese

Very light fruit. Not so concentrated. Goes down quite easily though, and it’s fine for $10. Perhaps a touch of spearmint or wintergreen or maybe it’s straw actually. 7/01 $10

99 Dr. Pauly BB Spatlese
Exactly what I expected. Tastes just like other MSR’s I’ve had. Worth $17. 4/03

01 Von Hovel Spatlese

Medium/light body. Flavor actually not that appealing. Finish is continuation of same flawed flavor. $13 1/03

01 Thanisch Spatlese

Medium. Apple. Slightly tart. Perhaps not as elegant as you might expect. Worth $18 but I might think the— 1/03

01 Dr. Burkin-Wolf Spatlese
I don’t remember now. Must have been okay. $19 9/04

01 Selbach-Oster Spatlese $16

Good. Medium-light body. sprightly. Standard, solid MSR quality. Finish is brief but nothing negative about it. Worth $16 12/02

01 Selbach-Oster ZS Spatlese
Best medium palate of the three? Finish is not bad although the very end leaves you with a kind of Italian smoked meat flavor, which I probably don’t have to point out, is not what you want in a German white. Or maybe it is? $20 2/04

01 Reinholt Haart Spatlese

Good. Sweet. Totally worth $23. 6/03

01 Sarsteiner Spatlese
It might just be me, I guess, but this one really seems too sour. I wouldn’t buy it again. 4/03

01 Kuhn Spatlese (Pfalz)

Slightly peculiar. Good taste, but the sugar is perhaps the slightest bit unbridled like a cheap, slutty tokaj. I find myself both disgusted by it, and strangely attracted to it. 4/03

01 Von Simmern Spatlese (Rheingau)
Whoa. Weird. Strong flavor. More oily and peculiar than the MSR’s I’ve been having. Almost getting into Gewürztraminer flavors. Aftertaste borders of cough syrupy. Not quite as immediately easy to drink as the MSR’s but something compelling in spite/because of the peculiarity. I don’t know what I’m talking about. Would try again for $22. $24 12/02

01 Strub Spatlese (Rheinhessen)

Sprightly. Good flavor, similar to MSR Spatlesen I’ve had. Medium body. Nice finish even. Great value at $14. 1/03

01 Leitz Spatlese Rheingau

This is really nice.  Lots of acidity (sprightliness), medium/good solid apple/citrus flavor. Fairly sweet. Finish is continuation of the same. There’s nothing wrong with this wine, I’m not sure it should cost more than $30, but okay. Cost $32 7/05

01 Kloster Eberbach Erbacher Marcobrunn Spatlese

Good balance. Starts to take on nice bouquet after opened a bit. Medium Rheingau flavor. Late palate actually takes an odd twist (not bad but just a bit weird), which carries through finish. Cork horrible. $30 (cannot justify $30 compared to Weil and some others). 12/05

01 Lingenfelder Scheurebe Spatlese Freinsheimer Goldberg (Pfalz)


“From a sandy soil-dominated terroir, the exotic fruit and white flower-scented 2001 Scheurebe Spatlese Freinsheimer Goldberg is a juicy, expressive wine. Sweet earth, currants, assorted red fruits, and pineapples make up this broad, medium-bodied wine's flavor profile. Lush and silky-textured, it is plump, fat, and boldly flavored. Projected maturity: Now-2012.” 12/05


What Mr. Rovani neglects to mention is that it tastes like grapefruit. Not good.


(2) Finish still a vague hint of grapefruit (for me). But the middle flavor is better than I remember from before. Pfalz not bad. Pfalz good. $21 (worth $20) 6/06


03 Dönnhoff KG Spatlese (Nahe)
Compared with the 03 Donnhoff OB Spatlese, the 03 KG Spatlese was very similar, but the OB had a more intense flavor from start to finish (which was much longer and decidedly better.) $30 (worth $28) 12/05
(2) I’m sure it was the same as previous, which was good, solid, impressive white fruit. $30 2/06


03 Dönnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Spatlese (Nahe)

God I can’t tell the difference among these 03 Dönnhoff spats. I just can’t, unless I have them side by side each other. But from memory…my god it’s just so close…I may stop trying and just consider them all the same—which is good—and solidly worth their roughly $30-40 price. 12/05

03 Dönnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Spatlese (Nahe)
Absolutely. So smooth it almost makes me wonder what’s the catch? This can’t really be this much pleasure? Surely, there must be something deficient about it that I’m just not appreciating? The wine (being so young, and with ample tannins), cannot lilt, but it does glide, surely. $40 (worth $40) 12/05
(2a) So round and smooth. Glides so goddamn smooth—I just can’t fathom how this wine is going to make it 10 yrs and yet I KNOW it will. I just can’t fathom it though. Riesling. [RP 93] 12/05

The 2003 Riesling Spatlese Oberhauser Brucke is flint-scented, medium-bodied, and silky-textured. Well-balanced, it explodes on the palate with loads of white fruits, notes of red berries, and spices. Suave, angle-free, and exceptionally long in the finish, this effort is a candidate for drinking between 2005 and 2020.” – Pierre Rovani

03 Robert Weil Grafenberg Spatlese (Rheingau)
What can I say? This is a really nice Spatlese. It has good tartly acids (but not too much, not out of balance). It has plenty of typical Rheingau flavor quality (in fact, this, to me, seems like the best thing about this wine; the late-palate has a solid punch of decent Rheingau flavor). It has a brief little drop-off finish, but let’s go back to the flavor. What great flavor. Worst cork ever. But really horrendous. Soaked right through, pushing out of the bottle (?CO2), doubt it would have lasted ten more minutes. Easily worth $30-35 (not sure about $38; I think I found some just now for $23; a steal at $23). 12/05

04 Dr. Pauly WS Spatlese

Same as K but sweeter, as expected. And not bad, but something is just not clicking perfectly here. (Cost $24, worth $20) 9/06


04 Robert Weil KG Spatlese

“Impertinent,” said one wine reviewer’s father. I agree. No idea what this wine is going to do over time, or why the Wine Advocate made it cost $47, but I have another. And let’s just leave it at that. Also, Robert Weil’s bottles are just beautiful. And we all know it. Even if their corks are bound to falter. 1/06


04 Dönnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Spatlese (Nahe)

My initial reaction is that this one seemed to have even more balance and smoothness, both in the middle and finish than the ’03, but that the actual flavor and drinking experience was not necessarily better, just different. I personally feel like making any sweeping predictions based on distinctions between these two different vintages (in this same vineyard) would be a challenge. The fact, for me, is that they are both great (and good values). 12/05


“From the 2004 Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Spatlese rise aromas of honey, grapefruit, candied lemon and blueberries. Blue fruit and honey are poured over the palate as well, creamy and rich, yet animated by insistently bright citricity, high-toned esters of distilled berries, nippy notes of invigoratingly tart fruit skin, and mineral salts. The finish is a veritable fugue of intricate flavors, exhibiting astonishing clarity and length. Less ethereal than the Norheim Spatlesen, this is uncanny in its balance and complexity and, given the proclivities of young Spatlese from this site, certainly a bit behind the other Spatlesen of this collection in its development.” – David Schildknecht


Not quite sure if I can go quite as far with the blue theme as Mr. Schildknecht, but I like his use of the terms “citricity, esters, tart fruit skin and mineral salts” and will have to start using them myself.


04 Leitz Magdalenenkreuz Spatlese (Rheingau)

And boom. Just like that I am in love again with Rheingau. In love would be an understatement. The Rheingau just kicks ass I’ve decided. Both Weil and Leitz have made me a believer. And I shall need to find more good examples. No finish, acids are in-your-face but still not too-much-so. But the flavor, the flavor is solid Rheingau punch. And it’s worth everything, anything. $22 (worth it). 12/05


“Leitz could start a new career in green-bottle Rieslings! The 2004 Rudesheimer Magdalenenkreuz Riesling Spatlese smells of peaches and strawberries and comes to the palate creamy yet with fresh acidity, apply crispness, and subtle saltiness. This exhibits a bit less poise and minerality than the Klosterlay, as befits a deeper-soiled site, but it offers compensatory richness and a similar infectious juiciness. As usual, Leitz is on a qualitative roll with these sweet wines from in principle less-good sites.” – David Schildknecht


Never mind the peaches, strawberries. That’s subjective/relative, and this isn’t a Beck song.. But what he says about “less poise” and “compensatory richness” is pretty much exactly what I was trying to say. Go David. Go David. And go Bob (Parker) for finding this guy. Great find.

Reflection: I don’t know. Thinking about the 03 Donnhoff OB Spatlese (see other). The Donnhoff certainly has a more velvety mouth feel and perhaps a more perfect balance as well. And is sweeter (and not cloyingly so either). And yet, in spite of all this, for some reason I feel I am more drawn to this Weil. Something about the grip of the Weil and also it could even be something as base as that I am simply more attracted to the Rheingau punch. This situation certainly bares further investigation.




88 Erdener Pralat Auslese

Apples and Pears. I can actually see them when I’m smelling it. Touch of lemon. Very concentrated flavor and a nice, long finish. This is really sweet stuff and worth every bit of $20 (375 ml). 10/99

89 Maximin Grunhaus MGA Auslese

Soft, fat but sprightly
Could question early palate
Rewards long swishing

Addendum: could be better for $32 11/99


89 Fritz Haag BJS Auslese

Sweet. Delicious. Finish is good, but not extraordinary. Precisely what I expected and worth exactly $30. Maybe more age will bring more complexity? 1/00

(2) Delicious. Smooth, delicate. Nice long finish. What else can I say? Doesn’t seem like it’s changed much since the last time. 6/01


90 Eitelsbacher Karthauserhof Auslese
Very crisp even at 9 years old (1990 was great). The tart acids leap out and dance on your tongue. If you let the wine come to room temperature, it yields more lemon flavor. Does this have anything to do with why one serves these wines chilled? Sadly, it was not particularly sweeter or more interesting than the spatlesen I’ve tasted so far. I guess I’ll have to buy the better stuff. 2/99

90 Fritz Haag Auslese
Apple, sweet and rich without being to sweet. Finish was medium length but very good. Mouth filling and flavor returns on prolonged swishing seemed indefinite. Not too much diesel. ?5-10 years. 7/02


95 Dr. Pauly BB Auslese

Crisp acidity. Rich. Sweet. Sweetie-Pie. My sweet little Riesling. Medium finish. Drank way too young. Statutory ripe. $35 (and worth it, you) 3/99

(2) Cork was leaking, so I opened it. Was fine. Identical to the previous one 5/01


95 Kerpen Auslese

Standard MSR Auslese. Pretty much what you expect from a $30 Auslese. Just I’m not sure I care that much about $30 Auslese anymore. At least not this one. 1/06


01 ET Loosen Auslese

Initial flavor good citrus. Medium palate is never-ending. Medium body. Finish is short but sprightly and same citrus flavor. 4/5 sprites. Worth $24 12/02

01 Karthauserhof Auslese
Sweet, crisp. I like it. $24 6/03

01 Patheiger Auslese

Super super sweet. Delicious. I really enjoyed it quite a bite. Definitely worth $30. Not terribly intriguing, just totally sweet without being “cheap tasting.” 3/03

(2) Very sweet even for Auslese. Could this be cloying? Could this be love? Cloying. $52 is way too much for this. It’s just not that good on many levels. 11/05 [wait, could this have been the same wine? was this a Goldkap?]

01 Eitelsberg Karthauserhofberg1
Not bad. Worth $21. 9/04

1 I think this may have actually broken my spell checker.

01 Selbach-Oster ZS Auslese
Very round full flavor. Good sweetness. Finish so-so. Can’t see paying $27 for this. 2/04

01 Kerpen WS Auslese

Initial flavor very good. Medium palate and swallow good, full citrusy flavor. Finish is mostly lime and possibly too sour/tart. 3/5 sprite level. Enjoyable. Worth at least $22. 12/02
(2) Late palate reveals not-so-much concentration of fruit and a sort of short (but not unpleasant) finish. I would pay $18-20 for this, but I wouldn’t make an effort to age it out. In fact, wait—the more I drink of this, the more amazed by just how not-concentrated it really is. And wait—oh my god, the acidity. It’s horrible. Sweet Jesus my esophagus! It’s burning me. Damn you Marty’s Liquors! $30 (on sale at Marty’s because it must have been stored improperly; Never again.) 11/05


04 Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Auslese

The nearest thing this wine reminds me of, interestingly or not, is the exact same wine from 1990, which I will now look forward to tasting side by side directly and comparing. I would say it’s about the same sweetness and concentration as the equally priced Dönnhoff Spatlesen I’ve tried from 03 and 04.  So I’d say it’s priced appropriately. Might get one or two to age out and see what happens. Need to try the 04 GKA of same and compare. 375ml $18




If you serve it, I will come. Just email me at least fifteen minutes ahead of opening it.




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