Wines originating from some countries have filled our shelves for years, and in the case of other countries we are just starting to see a representative sampling of offerings. Wines from Germany are sort of in a third category; we’ve had wines from there available for many years but often many of the options weren’t as appealing as they could be. For the range of styles and wines that are made there, the majority of releases we saw were a bit limited in diversity. Thankfully that has been changing quite a bit the last few years. We are seeing more well made German wines. Case in point; A couple of days ago I had the opportunity to have lunch with and taste three releases made by Adolph Huesgen. He is the 9th generation owner and winemaker for his family’s Villa Huesgen. The focus at Villa Huesgen is laser like and aimed squarely at Riesling. As Adolph explained their vineyards and microclimate are perfectly suited for Riesling more than any other grape, therefore their aim is to make the best Rieslings they can. In the last few months their wines have entered the US market for the very first time. They are a boutique winery making relatively small quantities of authentic Riesling; in short precisely the sort of producer lovers of German wines will want to embrace. What follows are some details and impressions of the three releases. First up is the Villa Huesgen 2010 Nine Generations Riesling. The fruit is from their home region in the Mosel. The vines sourced have between 5 and 10 years of age on them. After undergoing soft air pressing the juice is moved to stainless steel where it sits for about 12 hours before moving to tank, 9,000 cases of this release were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $19.99. White and yellow stone fruit aromas fill the nose of this wine. Peach and apricot are of particular note. Those characteristics continue on the palate where they’re joined by mineral notes, racy spices and lemon zest. This wine has a crisp finish that leaves a lasting impression with tingly white pepper providing the final note. Of the trio this is the wine that I enjoyed best as a standalone offering. It will pair with lighter foods as well but it doesn’t need them.
Next up is the Villa Huesgen 2010 Schiefer Riesling. The grapes for this wine are from the Mosel; the vines sourced have 3o to 35 years of age on them. Fruit was soft air pressed and transferred into stainless steel tanks for 12 hours before being moved to tank for the fermentation process. 4,000 cases of this release were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $34.99. Apricot, Lychee fruit and yellow cling peach aromas burst forth from the glass of the Schiefer Riesling. The palate is rich and concentrated with powerful (relatively speaking as these are wines of finesse) Riesling character. Peaches and apricot are joined by a subtle hint of hazelnut and a touch of lemon crème. The finish of this wine is above average in length and the layered, complex and concentrated flavors continue. Lingering apricot notes tinged with spice provide a lasting impression. This wine paired wonderfully with both a rice-flour battered chicken dish and an artichoke risotto. It would work equally well with pungent cheeses and other dishes of some substance. The Schiefer Riesling wine was enjoyable on it’s own and it also worked phenomenally paired with food.
Finally we come to the Villa Huesgen 2010 Kabinett Riesling. Fruit for this wine was sourced in theMosel. The vines utilized have an average of 30 to 35 years of age on them. The soft air pressing, fermentation, and aging process is the same as the two prior wines. 2,000 cases of this offering were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $39.99. From the first whiff of this wine its semi-dry nature is apparent. The aromas of apricot, mango, nectarine and lemon zest come together and form a lovely nose that immediately inspires you to take a sip. The palate is quite a bit more mellifluous in nature than the other two wines with there being both more actual sweetness as well as a greater impression of sweetness simultaneously. Each of the fruits apparent in the nose has corresponding flavor components in evidence here as well. The finish has good length and leaves a lasting kiss of sweetness on the tongue and back of the throat. This wine will pair fabulously with spicy Indian cuisine as well as well selected desserts. That said it will work just as well all by itself.
This is an impressive trio of Rieslings from Villa Huesgen. Alcohol content for all 3 is well under 12% making them wines which you can easily enjoy several glasses of without your palate tiring. Tasting them side by side is a nice window into several sides of one grape. Each of these wines is distinct, well made and quite importantly worth your money. My personal favorite is the Schiefer, however I’d gladly enjoy any of these on a given day. These are proportionate wines which are delicious today but they will each drink well for a number of years. I highly recommend heading to your local wine shop and welcoming Villa Huesgen to the states by purchasing and enjoying one of their very fine Rieslings.