Racy and vivid with mouthwateringly fresh acidity and moderate alcohol – what more could you want for your summer garden quaffing wine? That is what dry German rieslings taste like, but so many of us avoid them, thinking they are either too sweet or too sickly.
Added to that, indecipherable Gothic script and complicated front labels often do not help us in our plight, but German winemakers are now making a real effort to produce clear labels with all the detail on the back. Here are a dozen crackers.
Mineralstein Riesling 2014 - STAR BUY
Former M&S buyer Gerd Stepp now supplies the supermarket with wine from his family estate. He has cleverly combined the mineral slatey flavours of Mosel with the riper peach tones of Pfalz to make a superb refreshing summery white.
£10, Marks & Spencer
Dr L Riesling 2014
You cannot fault this as an inexpensive introduction to German riesling. With light floral notes, it’s just off-dry with a touch of minerality and low alcohol.
£5.98, reduced from £7, at Asda until 14 July
Ruppertsberg Hoheburg Riesling Kabinett 2015 - STAR BUY
Hugely popular with our tasters who loved its “tutti-frutti sweetness”. A brilliant bargain buy from the Ruppertsberg co-operative’s original Hoheburg vineyard. Shows the quality of the 2015 vintage. A wonderful lunch wine with salmon terrine.
£6.50, The Wine Society, www.thewinesociety.com
Grey Slate Dr L Private Reserve Riesling 2014
If you see ‘Feinherb’ on a label, it indicates medium-dry rather than crisp dryness. Tasters found this Dr Loosen example slightly too sweet for quaffing – suggesting it might be better with food.
Villa Wolf Riesling 2014
Made by winemakers Sumi Gebauer and Patrick Moellendorf, this has a distinct spritz on opening with a very dry, clean linear palate with light orchard fruits, apple and lime notes.The best Loosen wine in our tasting.
£9.99, Luvians, Cupar/St Andrews
Philipps Eckstein Grauschiefer Riesling Trocken 2011
Grauschiefer is the grey slate soils found near Graach on Mosel’s steep slopes. Made by Patrick Philipps on his small family estate (they also have a guest house if you want to visit), this Trocken is described as a dash of lemon on hot slate, which is pretty accurate. Mature aromas with diesel notes from long bottle age, lime and lemon flavours make this a vibrant, sleek riesling.
£15.60, Alpine Wines, www.alpinewines.co.uk
My Karp Riesling Feinherb 2014
Low(ish) alcohol, so expect a bit of sweetness here – hence the ‘Feinherb’ on the label. There are apricot and rich honeyed notes, but it’s very refreshing on the finish with a steely length.
£11.49, Laithwaites, www.laithwaites.co.uk
Eva Fricke Riesling Trocken 2014 - STAR BUY
If you are a riesling fanatic and have not tried Eva Fricke’s wine yet, you must – she offers brilliantly made wines at a reasonable price – so buy before her prices start to rise. This young well-travelled winemaker originates from Lower Saxony, but has experience in South Africa, Spain and Australia. Our tasters remarked on its “fresh minerality”, so pure and refined.
£16.15, Berry Bros & Rudd, www.bbr.com
Axel Pauly Purist Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2014
Described as having “dagger-like acidity”; this is extremely dry, too dry for some tasters. For those who liked piercingly dry styles, this is elegant and minerally.
£14.50-£17.50, Drinkmonger, Edinburgh & Pitlochry; Vino Wine Shops, Edinburgh
Karl May Riesling Trocken 2014 - STAR BUY
Very popular with tasters who loved its apple and lime fruits. The label states Trocken, but tasters found it “fruitier and better balanced than other Trockens”.
£12.49 bt or £11.24 each for 12, www.laithwaites.co.uk
Knipser Johannishof Riesling Trocken 2015
Very steely, searingly dry, with a slight spritz on opening; a mixed rating from tasters with a good average score across the board.
£13.95, Vino Wine Shops, Edinburgh
Dreissigacker ‘Organic’ Estate Riesling 2014 - STAR BUY
The highest scorer in our tasting – tasters noted its balance between ripe fruit and mouthwatering acidity. A key member of the Rheinhessen-revival, Bechtheim-based winemaker Jochen Dreissigacker has caused a stir in Germany and abroad for the quality of his wine range from low yielding vines. A real winner.
£13.50, Drinkmonger, Edinburgh/Pitlochry; Cornelius Wines, Edinburgh; WoodWinters, Edinburgh/Bridge of Allan; Valvona & Crolla, Edinburgh; Aitken Wines, Dundee
• Join Rose’s Down the Danube wine tasting on 19 October in Edinburgh, £42, www.rose murraybrown.com