Riesling Rocks

For many wine lovers, Riesling is the greatest white grape there is. Able to make wines in countless different styles, from chiselled, dry examples, to lusciously sweet, and with an almost unrivalled ability to age, the best examples have offered us some of our most profound vinous experiences. We’ve put together a range of some of our favourites, in a range of styles from bone dry to sweet, to allow you to discover this wonderful grape variety.

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Albert Boxler

2019 Riesling Grand Cru Brand, Albert Boxler

Dry | White | Still | 13.5%

Brand is one of the great Alsace grand cru sites. In Jean Boxler’s hand, this famous granite site does not disappoint. Compared to its cellar neighbours, it is usually the most forward and approachable of the Boxler grands crus. In 2019 it is more aromatic and expressive than the Sommerberg cuvées are early on, and it also feels a little weightier, but still has this penetrating, zippy line of acidity that gives the finish a long, sustained drive. It feels silky and bright, balanced and with vibrant grapefruit and bitter orange flavours. It is utterly delicious.

Young: 2022 - 2036
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Domaine Zind Humbrecht

2018 Riesling Grand Cru Rangen de Thann, Clos St Urbain, Zind Humbrecht

Dry | White | Still

Rangen de Thann is the most southerly of the Alsace Grands Crus, and the quality of its wines have been documented as far back as the 12th century. Olivier Humbrecht MW's immmaculate vineyard work and low yields mean this 2018 Riesling has exquisite concentration and minerality. The volcanic soil of this grand cru produces tension and power in the wine. It is reserved in its youth, but you can feel the coiled energy beneath the surface, as well as the desnity of the 2018 vintage. The south-facing site gets fairly warm during the day, but chills down quickly at night, so the freshness is beautifully maintained.

Young: 2022 - 2038
Dr Loosen

2019 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett, Dr Loosen, Mosel

Off Dry | White | Still

Dr Loosen is one of the top producers in Mosel, arguably Germany’s most famous region for Riesling. Ernst “Ernie” Loosen took the helm in 1988 with acute focus on one thing: his vines. With the good fortune to inherit vines averaging sixty years old in some of the Mosel’s best terroir, he’s reduced yields, moved to organic farming and placed great emphasis on the vineyard site itself. Loosen wines are perhaps some of the most iconic in the region. Kabinett is the lightest of Germany’s fruity styles of Riesling. Off dry, and coming in at just 8.5% alcohol, it’s an utterly delicious wine: the perfect bottling to start - or end - a meal. Kabinett is a style of wine you have to discover, and this is the perfect way to do so.

Ready: 2021 - 2035
Eva Fricke

2019 Riesling, Lay & Wheeler & Eva Fricke, Rheingau

Dry | White | Still

Eva Fricke is one of our favourite producers, from anywhere in the world. So when she agreed to bottle a dry Rheingau Riesling exclusively for us, we jumped at the chance. This comes from vineyards across the Rheingau, from the 2019 vintage - a year when Eva’s top wines have received a number of 100 point scores. It’s fresh, zesty, and utterly delicious, and we’re incredibly proud to put our name to it, alongside Eva’s.

Ready: 2021 - 2027

2019 Kiedrich Riesling QbA Trocken, Eva Fricke

Dry | White | Still

Eva Fricke is a superstar of the Rheingau, with her 13 hectare estate, that she only started in 2006. Not from winemaking stock - both her parents are doctors - she only discovered an interest in wine, and more specifically farming, when she did an internship at Buitenverwachting in South Africa at the age of 18. She’s worked at numerous top estates, from Château Cissac to Schloss Johannisberg, from Pingus to Castello di Verduno, before settling down as operations manager at Leitz from 2004 to 2011. Since then she’s been fully committed to her own project. She works with parcels of older vineyards across the region, and her 2019s have received incredible critical acclaim. From the vineyards around the village of Kiedrich, this is an elegant, finessed, beautifully balanced Riesling: the perfect way to discover her wines.

Young: 2022 - 2035
G.D. Vajra

2020 Langhe DOC Riesling Pètracine, G.D. Vajra

Dry | White | Still

Riesling may not be the first grape variety you’d expect to find in the rolling hills of the Langhe. But Aldo Vajra was fascinated by the grape variety while at university, and decided to try his hand at making a few bottles of the grape, planting his first vineyard in 1985. Now made from a blend of clones from Alsace, Geisenheim, and the Pfalz, from two separate vineyards, one of which is the legendary Barolo vineyard of Fossati, this is a taut yet generous dry Riesling which, like the Nebbiolos of the region will require patience to show its very best.

Young: 2023 - 2035
Jeffrey Grosset

2020 Springvale, Riesling Watervale, Grosset, Clare Valley

Dry | White | Still

The Springvale vineyard sits just under 500 metres above sea level, on red loam-over-limestones soils, with plenty of slate sitting underneath. This combination of altitude and complex geology make for a wine that wows with its crisp, fresh acidity and pure, zingy lime flavours. So little Springvale was made in 2020 that it was originally destined to only be sold in restaurants: we’ve managed to pry some away for you to enjoy at home.

Ready: 2021 - 2035
Jessica Saurwein

2020 Chi Riesling, Jessica Saurwein, Villiersdorp

Off Dry | White | Still

Chi Riesling is from the cool region of Elgin, and reflects Jessica’s love for all things Mosel. Indeed, the soils here, at 300m of altitude and 10km from the ocean, are red slate, just like the hillsides above Urzig. It’s slightly off-dry (although in German classifications it would be classed as dry), and is a pure, savoury Riesling that’s simply delicious. Chi means ‘life force’, reflecting the energy Jessica seeks in her Riesling, and also refers to Chiuta, the African rain god: Elgin is the wettest part of the Cape.

Ready: 2020 - 2030
Kanaan Winery

2018 Ningxia Riesling, Kanaan Winery, China

Dry | White | Still

The Kanaan Winery has 16.8 hectares of vineyards, of which just 1.3 hectares of sandy soils are planted to ungrafted Riesling vines. In this corner of central China, winter temperatures can reach as low as -20˚C, so every winter the team have to bury the vines to ensure they’re not killed by the frost. Winemaker Fang Wang spent time in Germany, where her love of Riesling began. Yet this dry Riesling is more Alsatian in style, with beautiful richness of fruit, finely balanced acidity, and a long, saline finish. This is so much more than a curiosity.

Ready: 2021 - 2024
Mac Forbes

2019 RS3 Riesling, Mac Forbes

Dry | White | Still

While Riesling in Australia is most associated with the Clare and Eden valleys in South Australia, Mac Forbes is making some brilliant examples from the Strathboogie ranges to the east, in Victoria. Mac is one of our favourite wine makers, crafting wines that impress with their clarity and terroir definition, and his Rieslings are the hidden gems of his range. The number on the label is the Residual Sugar here - no one that we know of releases as much information about their wines as Mac - and this, the 2019 RS3 is bone dry, with incredibly vibrant acidity, wonderful minerality, and a long and pure finish. It demonstrates what a brilliant winemaker Mac is.

Ready: 2021 - 2035
Mount Horrocks

2020 Watervale Riesling, Mount Horrocks, Clare Valley

Dry | White | Still

Mount Horrocks is run and owned by Stephanie Toole, wife of Jeffrey Grosset, and since taking over this Clare Valley estate in 1993 she’s taken it to a position as one of Australia’s finest. The Watervale vineyards face north, with red loam soils over limestone, while 2020 was a tiny yielding vintage, but one of impressive quality. This dry Riesling is tightly wound, with amazing concentration of lime fruit and wonderfully vibrant acidity. A brilliant, benchmark Aussie Riesling.

Ready: 2021 - 2033
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Pegasus Bay

2019 Riesling, Pegasus Bay, Waipara

Off Dry | White | Still

What started as a weekend hobby, following a gift of Hugh Johnson’s legendary book Wine, has developed into one of New Zealand’s best regarded estates, and a pioneer of the production of Riesling in the country, as well as of the region of North Canterbury. It was Consultant Neurologist, Ivan Donaldson, who founded the estate, and he’s been succeeded by his four sons. The Riesling is the country’s benchmark, with warm days but cool nights crafting an example that has ripe, intense fruit as well as bright acidity. Off-dry, it’s an utterly delicious Riesling, to challenge the world’s best.

Ready: 2021 - 2035
Weingut Dönnhoff

2019 Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spätlese, Dönnhoff, Nahe

Medium | White | Still

In the beautiful Nahe region of Germany, Dönnhoff reigns supreme. Now run by the perfectionist Cornelius Dönnhoff, who’s fully taken over from his father Helmut, this charming, generous family makes it one of our favourite estates to visit, anywhere in the world. Spätlese might just be the most underrated of all Germany’s styles of wine: sweeter than the juicy, vibrant Kabinetts yet less sweet than the luscious, pudding-friendly Ausleses, it’s in danger of being lost. Yet this demonstrates exactly why it shouldn’t be overlooked. Juicy, pure, and oh-so-moreish, from one of the Nahe’s most historic vineyards that was named after a cherry tree, everyone should have a bottle or two of this in their cellar. And with a few years’ bottle age, it will be the perfect match for roast pork, or for Asian cooking.

Young: 2023 - 2045
Weingut Emmerich Knoll

2019 Riesling Ried Loibenberg, Federspiel, Weingut Knoll, Wachau

Dry | White | Still

Very floral and elegant, there’s a lightness of touch here. Notes of orange blossom and plenty of citrus zest, and just a hint of spearmint on the finish. Vibrant.

Ready: 2021 - 2033
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Weingut Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken

2019 Saarburger Rausch Riesling Auslese, Zilliken, Saar

Sweet | White | Still

Hans-Joachim (“Hanno”) and his wife Ruth Zilliken mark the tenth generation to make wine predominantly around their famed Saarburger Rausch vineyard, and they’ve now been joined by their daughter, Dorothee. They barrel ferment all of their wines using natural yeasts and traditional “moselfuder casks”, some of which are more than a half-century old. With long, cool fermentations allowing complex flavours to emerge slowly, these are Rieslings to age with the very best. For many, the sweet Auslese category is where German Riesling reaches its pinnacle, with incredible complexity and longevity, and remarkable acidity balancing that ripeness. This is the perfect example: a wine that wows with its explosive fruit yet stunning freshness.

Young: 2023 - 2045
Weingut Franz Hirtzberger

2019 Ried Hochrain Riesling Smaragd, Franz Hirtzberger, Wachau

Dry | White | Still

Situated at the far western end of the Wachau, where the wines tend to be cooler and more mineral, Weingut Franz Hirtzberger crafts some of the most viscerally thrilling white wines that we’ve come across. Franz himself is a perfectionist, and his wines show remarkable balance of fruit and vibrant acidity. While he’s best known for the legendary Singerriedel vineyard, we think the Hochrain is the hidden gem of the range. It’s a wine of opulent fruit and chiselled acidity, that will drink beautifully right away, but that will age spectacularly.

Young: 2025 - 2045
Weingut Gunderloch

2018 Hipping Riesling Grosses Gewächs, Gunderloch, Rheinhessen

Dry | White | Still

Impressive depth and texture, very good length and ripe, and intense. Lovely orange blossom, blood orange, really open and lovely length. Very typical Riesling. Much more about fruit and texture. Lovely richness. Johannes Hasselbach is making stunning wines from some of Rheinhessen’s best sites on the Roter Hang, the red slate slopes that overlook the river Rhine. Johannes took over the family domaine (which bears the name of its 1890 founder, Carl Gunderloch) a few years ago, with his father Fritz moving into the background, but remaining ever present to help and support his son. Sadly Fritz passed away in December 2016, but Johannes has continued the upward trajectory: these are stunning wines that offer incredible value for money. Grosses Gewächs are dry wines from the very top sites, and Hipping is one of Rheinhessen’s greatest - you may recognise it from the Keller portfolio, too, where the wines sell for many times the price. This is all about texture: it’s an utterly delicious dry Riesling, from a talented young winemaker.

Young: 2022 - 2035
Weingut Moric

2019 Balaton Furmint/Riesling, Weingut Moric

Dry | White | Still

Roland Moric is best known as the greatest producer of Blaufrankisch, in Austria’s Burgenland region. But this is his other project, dubbed ‘Hidden Treasures’, and crafted alongside Villa Tolnay just across the border in Hungary. The Lake Balaton region of Hungary was once highly prized for the quality of its wines, but phylloxera, World Wars, and communism all destroyed demand for this historic wine region. Roland is trying to put it back in the spotlight, and with wines like this, you can understand why. A blend of mostly Riesling with a little Furmint, it’s dry, crisp, focused, savoury, and utterly delicious. A real bargain.

Ready: 2021 - 2026
Weingut Schloss Gobelsburg

2019 Riesling Gaisberg 1.ÖTW, Schloss Gobelsburg, Kamptal

Dry | White | Still

A really beautiful nose on the 2019 Gaisberg, that comes from some of the winery’s oldest vineyards. This is sometimes called the baby Heliginstein, due to the similarities in terroir. The palate is so intense and concentrated, but with a lightness of touch about it. Notes of honeysuckle and pure lemon oil last for minutes. Bravo.

Young: 2023 - 2040