German Gems…..

I had the pleasure of attending the Rudi Wiest Selections German Vintage Tasting at the Culver Hotel this week.  Interesting note on the hotel is that it opened in 1924 and during the filming of “The Wizard of Oz” in 1938, most of the cast including the Munchkins stayed at this hotel. If you have not visited the hotel, take some time to visit, it is truly a treasure.

Rudi Wiest is the preeminent importer of fine German wines in the United States. Rudi started his wine business in 1978 representing mostly French wines. It wasn’t until the early 1980’s that his portfolio veered exclusively to German wines. I have been an ardent fan of German wines since my good friend Dore Kraus introduced me to fine German wine about 10 years ago. Most people think Germany produces only riesling and only sweet riesling at that. It is also a misconception that Germany doesn’t produce quality red wine. Well, I am here to tell you that Germany produces rieslings that are sweet but they produce rieslings that are bone dry also. They also produce some of the finest pinot noir in the world.

There were close to 80 wines at the tasting I attended this week. I didn’t have time to taste all of them but I did try close to 70 of the wines. I don’t know how those 10 wines got away from me! At the event was Matthew Lewis who is our sales rep from Rudi Wiest. Matthew is one of the most knowledgeable people on German wines and for part of the event was my very helpful guide. The wines were magnificent. Usually, at a trade tasting, I might like 30% of the wines. However, at any German wine tasting that I have attended, I usually enjoy 90% or more of the wines being poured. Believe me when I say that Germany is producing some of the best wines in the world. Wines that are excellent by themselves, but even better when paired with food. I can’t go into detail on all the wines I tasted at the event but I will give you some of the highlights.

2012 Raumland Rosé Prestige Brut is an eye opener! Raumland is Germany’s finest producer of sekt – sparkling wine. The Rosé is 100% pinot noir with a subtle aroma of yeast on the nose. It’s a creamy yet refreshing and clean sparkling wine that rivals non vintage champagne in both quality and pricing. This wine is elegant and crisp with a fine bubble.  Raumland utilizes organic vineyard practices. Only about 900 cases produced. Available at The Bottle Shop.  $39.99

2015 Rebholz Pinot Blanc Dry Estate is one of my favorite wines in Rudi’s book. I first tasted Rebholz Pinot Blanc several years ago and fell in love with the wine. The winery is certified organic and farms bio-dynamically. 99% of their wine production is dry wine versus sweet wine. This pinot blanc is spectacular. I got juicy bits of apple and pear along with well balanced minerality such as river rock or wet stone. There’s wonderful depth and character to this wine. Once you try this wine, you will elevate pinot blanc to one of your favorite varietals. Unfortunately The Bottle Shop doesn’t carry this wine right now, but hopefully it will be in stock soon!

Stop by the shop and I’ll recommend more German wines. We have the best selection of German wines in the area. One of my favorites right now is the 2014 Salwey Pinot Noir GG Henkenberg.  The GG equates to Grand Cru in Burgundy at much better prices. An outstanding wine! Prost!


    1. Since this is a wine blog….. no munchkin trivia….. just wine trivia…. so here goes….the actor who played Uncle Henry in The Wizard of Oz, began his career in the late 19th century as a circus trapeze artist, and also appeared as Grandpa Joad in 1940’s The Grapes of Wrath. His name….Charley Grapewin! How’s that for a tie-in to wine?


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