Sweet, Halbtrocken, or Trocken?

Welcome Dr. Ernst Loosen of Germany's Mosel Valley to Wine Berserkers. He will join us for Q/A as our Special Wine Guest
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Brian G r a f s t r o m
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Sweet, Halbtrocken, or Trocken?

#1 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » March 3rd, 2013, 3:06 pm

In your opinion, which is best, and why?

Is the American market the only reason sweet Riesling continues to be produced in the Mosel?
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Roberto Rogness
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Re: Sweet, Halbtrocken, or Trocken?

#2 Post by Roberto Rogness » March 3rd, 2013, 3:13 pm

Best with what food and at what ambient temp and humidity? Seriously.
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Brian G r a f s t r o m
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Re: Sweet, Halbtrocken, or Trocken?

#3 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » March 3rd, 2013, 3:22 pm

Roberto Rogness wrote:Best with what food and at what ambient temp and humidity? Seriously.
Absolutely. I left the question wide open on purpose. [cheers.gif]
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Ernst Loosen
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Re: Sweet, Halbtrocken, or Trocken?

#4 Post by Ernst Loosen » March 3rd, 2013, 7:48 pm

I think it is very difficult to answer the question "which is the best" sweet, medium-dry or dry!
First it is a question of personal taste and what everybody prefers! It is much easier to answer the question if it comes to food pairing. Here Riesling can be a great player, because of it's unusual versatility, which nearly no grape can do. Riesling, you can produce in the dry style with high alcohol or lower degrees of alcohol. You can produce it with moderate residual sweetness in the medium dry or feinherb style, or in a light sweet and fruity style with 7-8 % Alc, as in the noble sweet style between with 5.5 - 7 % Alc. as we do in the Mosel or up to 14-15 % Alc. as you find it in Alsace. An English wine journalist once wrote: Riesling is a great actor which can play in many different plays!
"Is the American market the only reason that we produce sweet Rieslings?" No we produce all these different style since a long time and it is a tradition to produce these different styles. We will never give up to produce these different styles because we believe in the versatility of Riesling.
Sure, for me a dry Riesling works best with all kind of traditional European style of fish dishes, poached, pan fried or grilled like a nice red mullet from the grill, salted and tossed wit a marinate of olive oil, lemon, garlic and parsley. Or the classic German trout prepared as "Müllerin style" or "Blau". These dishes with a fresh, crisp and dry Riesling is superb. A medium dry or feinherb Riesling is very much used here in Germany if it comes to the national dish of June, white asparagus with sauce hollandaise. Poached fish or pan seared scallops with a " Beurre Blanc " is great too. I always add on top of the scallops some dried chilli filaments, to give it a hint of spiciness, which again works with a little bit of sweetness.
After a 10 days tour through Asia, I am now sitting here at the airport of Bangkok waiting for my flight to Vietnam. The last day we had a lot of great Thai food, Indonesian cuisine in Jakarta, Asian fusion cuisine in Singapore; this is the food where a little bit sweeter and fruitier Riesling shows best. We did a wine & dine at the Mövenpick Resort in Pukhet and som Swiss wine lovers had been sitting next to me. They said, that they drink only dry wines and are not used to the fruity style. One of the courses had been a Thai salad with fresh green mango, fruity in aroma and taste as quit spicy. I put a dry estate Riesling as a fruity, sweet Riesling in front of my neighbor, and he immediately agreed that the dry wine is to austere with the heat of the dish and that the sweeter Riesling is the better match.
I think everybody should experiment himself, which style suits him best with which kind of dishes. Nowadays which wine with which food, is by far not anymore as rigid as it used to be 30 years ago!

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Re: Sweet, Halbtrocken, or Trocken?

#5 Post by Paul Savage » March 3rd, 2013, 10:30 pm

Dr. Loosen,

Welcome, and Thank You for all the wonderful wines of yours that I have enjoyed over the years!

As for the question, "best" is hardly a reasonable question! It depends on what you "need" at the time, and/or what you are in the mood for. There is NO substitute for sweet German wines in my opinion. The extra ripeness can bring out their best in terms of personality, elegance, and precision, and of course the sweetness is natural and lovely. They age magnificently too.

...Paul

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Charlie Gierling
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Re: Sweet, Halbtrocken, or Trocken?

#6 Post by Charlie Gierling » March 4th, 2013, 2:30 am

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote: Is the American market the only reason sweet Riesling continues to be produced in the Mosel?
No. There still are Germans who drink (and enjoy) this style. Some of them are young. So there is hope
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Rolf Winterthur
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Re: Sweet, Halbtrocken, or Trocken?

#7 Post by Rolf Winterthur » March 4th, 2013, 3:45 pm

Oh there is a best.... Feinherb of course ! Loosely (pronounced Lows-ley ;-) ) defined as mid point between Trockene and Liebling/sweet, when done right can be about as versatile as a wine can be. Not that easy to find in the US, most of mine were brought back on the plane I was on. Of course I am kidding about the it being the best, since that is personal, but for me reveals Riesling's apex.
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Re: Sweet, Halbtrocken, or Trocken?

#8 Post by Tran Bronstein » March 5th, 2013, 1:29 pm

Just a note that sweet Riesling sells consistently well here in Ontario, Canada at all levels (Kabinett, Spatlese, Auslese, BA and TBA). I have also seen it for sale in the SAQ stores in Quebec, Canada but it doesn't appear to have anywhere near the demand or popularity levels as it does here in Ontario.
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Paul Cunningham
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Re: Sweet, Halbtrocken, or Trocken?

#9 Post by Paul Cunningham » March 5th, 2013, 2:58 pm

I can imagine a time in the future in which the trend swings back to the fruity wines, driven by the demographic forces of a swelling asian market. In the meantime, I would gladly see more choice in the U.S. market, including more feinherb and trocken Rieslings.

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Re: Sweet, Halbtrocken, or Trocken?

#10 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » March 6th, 2013, 4:46 am

Thank you for your reply, Mr. Loosen. [cheers.gif]

What type of Riesling (if any) do you feel pairs best with Schweinshaxe? (pork knuckle)
“All these characters spend their time explaining themselves, and happily recognizing that they hold the same opinions … how important they consider it to think the same things all together.” --- A.R.

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