Top Mosel Riesling: tasting 64 Grosses Gewächs at the 2020 VDP tasting

Here are my notes on 64 Mosel Rieslings from the 2020 Grosses Gewächs tasting, featuring new releases from some of Germany’s top wine estates, all of whom are members of the VDP.

Some explanation is in order. VDP stands for Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (which translates as the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates). Fortunately, it’s simply abbreviated as VDP.

There are around 250 members (you get invited…) and the basis of this wine classification is terroir. Since a revision in 2012, vineyards are classified on four levels:

  • VDP Grosse Lage (equivalent to Grand Cru)
  • VDP Erste Lage (premier cru)
  • VDP Ortswein (village level)
  • VDP Gutsein (regional)

Only the first two tiers are allowed to mention the vineyard name on the label. So a Grosses Gewächs (GG) is a top wine made from a Grosse Lage by a member of the VDP. These wines have to be dry (under 9 g/l residual sugar), and they are the wines we tasted in Wiesbaden. If you see GG on a bottle, then you know it is pretty serious, and that it’s made in a dry style (trocken) from a top vineyard site.

Heymann-Löwenstein Hatzenport Kirchberg Riesling GG 2019
Concentrated and limey with nice precision. There’s some depth to the fruit here. A hint of mint, and finishes quite dry. Crystalline. 93/100

Heymann-Löwenstein Hatzenport Stolzenberg Riesling GG 2019
Delicate and quite fine. Dry with some crystalline structure. Has a freshness to it, with lovely balance. Light on its feet, showing fresh lemon on the finish. 93/100                              

Heymann-Löwenstein Winningen Röttgen Riesling GG 2019
Quite beautiful, with a brightness and focus, showing a detailed palate with lime and lemon, and also some floral overtones. Really expressive, and quite delicate, but not lacking flavour. 94/100                          

Knebel Winningen Röttgen Riesling GG 2019
Bright limey aromatics and a lovely precision on the palate. Has a sense of finesse with nice intensity and purity. Lots of lime here, with a bit of juiciness. 92/100                                

Knebel Winningen Uhlen Riesling GG 2019
Fresh, lively nose is quite intense and vivid. Lots of lime. Lovely juicy palate with fresh, linear citrus notes. Very primary. 92/100                                 

Heymann-Löwenstein Winningen Uhlen “Blaufüßer Lay” Riesling GG 2019
Taut, with a bit of structure, showing spice and herbs, and a nice focused limey core. Quite juicy on the finish. Bright and refined. 92/100                             

Heymann-Löwenstein Winningen Uhlen “Laubach” Riesling GG 2019
Great purity here with nice focus to the citrus fruit. More lemon than lime with a sense of delicacy and brightness, showing lots of character. Long finish. 93/100                            

Heymann-Löwenstein Winningen Uhlen “Roth Lay” Riesling GG 2018
Quite powerful and pithy with good structure, and some notes of honey. Floral. Has a bit of sweetness on the palate with lots of ripe fruit. Very rich in style. 93/100                           

Clemens Busch Pünderich Marienburg Riesling GG 2019
Very fresh and lemony with good acidity. Bright, primary and direct. A pure style. 91/100

Clemens Busch Pünderich Marienburg “Rothenpfad” Riesling GG 2019
Juicy and vivid with nice intensity. Linear, pure, lemony and bright. Compact. 91/100                              

Clemens Busch Pünderich Marienburg “Fahrlay” Riesling GG 2018                         
Pure and fresh, but also slightly honeyed. Has brightness with a core of lemony fruit, and a bit of sweetness on the finish. 90/100

Clemens Busch Pünderich Marienburg “Falkenlay” Riesling GG 2018                                 
Focused, juicy and lemony with nice precision to the lemony fruit, with a touch of green apple and honey, too. 92/100

Clemens Busch Pünderich Marienburg “Fahrlay-Terrassen” Riesling GG 2018
Juicy, bright and with a bit of crunch, showing pure lemony fruit, together with apples and fine herbs, finishing with a bit of spice. 93/100

Dr. Loosen Erden Treppchen Riesling GG 2019
Such an exotic, expressive nose with lime, peach and spice. The palate is generous – exotic even – with rounded pear and peach fruit, a touch of apricot, and delicate spiciness. Such a lovely wine. 95/100

Dr. Loosen Ürzig Würzgarten Riesling GG 2019
Amazing tropical notes on the nose lead to a really pure palate with pear and peach fruit, some fine spice, some orange peel and a real sense of harmony – but there’s power here too. Finishes finely spicy with a hint of sweetness. 94/100                             

Dr. Loosen Lösnich Försterlay Riesling GG 2019        
Intense limey nose with some honey and tropical notes. Fresh, dry, linear and precise on the palate, showing some structure. Real flavour impact here: just lovely. 94/100                    

Dr. Loosen Kinheim Rosenberg Riesling GG 2019
Honeyed on the nose with pear and mango exotic notes. The palate is dry and precise with a hint of pith and a really nice spicy core. Shows delicacy and weight at the same time. 93/100                                 

Dr. Loosen Wehlen Sonnenuhr Riesling GG 2019
Midweight, ripe and delicate with purity to the citrus fruit, a touch of melon, and nice fine-grained structure. Very pleasant, perhaps lacking a bit in intensity, but delicious. An elegant style with a tapering finish. 92/100

Geheimrat J. Wegeler Wehlen Sonnenuhr Riesling GG 2019
Enticing finely-spiced nose. Good concentration on the palate with nice acidity, some notes of lime and flower blossom, and good structure on the finish. This is very expressive and has a nice structure. 94/100           

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Graach Josephshöfer Riesling GG 2018  
Intense stony, limey nose. The palate is mid-weight with a touch of honey. Has a stony, mineral undercurrent. A bit subdued and lacking intensity. 90/100                   

Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag Graach Himmelreich Riesling GG 2019                                 
Fine, aromatic nose with nice brightness. The palate is crystalline and vivid with good acidity. Nicely structured. Lots of interest here, with a lovely vivid finish. 94/100

Dr. Loosen Graach Himmelreich Riesling GG 2019
Very fine, with green tea, spice and crystalline citrus fruits. A linear style that’s quite mineral and intense. There’s a lovely purity to the fruit. 95/100           

Dr. Loosen Graach Domprobst Riesling GG 2019      
Fabulously pure, with some delicacy to the fine-grained citrus fruit, and a slight hint of mint. Very mineral with a little tingle to the acidity. Such precision and beauty. 95/100

Nik Weis – St. Urbans-Hof Mehringer Layet Riesling GG 2019
Fruity and rounded, with a subtle nuttiness. Fresh and bright with a juicy quality to the citrus fruit. 89/100

Dr. Loosen Bernkastel Lay Riesling GG 2019
This is bright and quite crystalline with some spicy structure to the citrus fruits. There’s a nice acid line, with a slight saltiness on the finish. 93/100           

Dr. Loosen Bernkastel Johannisbrünnchen Riesling GG 2019
Has freshness, a slight mintiness, and bright limey fruit. Lovely purity here with lively acidity and nice texture. A very bright style. 94/100

Geheimrat J. Wegeler Bernkastel Doctor Riesling GG 2019
Smoky, spicy nose shows nice intensity. Fresh palate with bright acidity. Lots of lemon and lime here, showing detail and precision. Lovely fruit expression. 93/100                            

Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag Lieser Niederberg Helden Riesling GG 2019             
Supple and nicely concentrated with nice brightness to the fruit. Some mint here, with fine spices and a note of green tea. Juicy and linear. 93/100

Fritz Haag Brauneberg Juffer Riesling GG 2019
Piercing, bright and limey with amazing intensity. Stony and mineral with a nice lemony core. 93/100   

Fritz Haag Brauneberg Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling GG 2019
Subtle mint and spice here alongside the powerful lemony fruit. There’s a touch of herbiness, too. Lovely acid core to this. 93/100                             

Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag Brauneberg Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling GG 2019      
Bright, supple and fruity with a touch of grapefruit pith and some liminess. This is juicy and stony, finishing taut and savoury. 91/100             

Fritz Haag Brauneberg Juffer-Sonnenuhr Im Falkenberg Riesling GG 2019
Supple and quite elegant with a mineral core to the juicy lemony fruit. Vivid and well structured, this is dry and focused. 93/100                    

Fritz Haag Kesten Paulinshofberg Riesling GG 2019 
Bright, fresh and linear with some stony minerality as well as focused lemony fruit. Quite dry with nice linear character. 92/100                     

Grans-Fassian Dhron Hofberg Riesling GG 2019       
Honeyed and a bit smoky on the nose. Limey and vivid on the palate with a very stony finish. 90/100

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Piesport Goldtröpfchen Riesling GG 2018
This is bright and lively. Midweight, with a juicy quality to the fruit. Finely spiced lemon to the fore. 92/100

Grans-Fassian Piesport Goldtröpfchen Riesling GG 2019     
This is very bright and intense with a crystalline burst to the citrus fruit. Amazing precision and complexity with a keen acidic finish that has a fine spicy quality. 94/100             

Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag Piesport Goldtröpfchen Riesling GG 2019
Smoky, spicy and quite mineral on the nose. The palate has some ripe tropical characters as well as spicy lime fruit. Very refined and appealing. 94/100                                  

Grans-Fassian Trittenheim Apotheke Riesling GG 2019       
Really vivid and intense with keen acidity, lemon and lime fruit, and nice concentration and structure. There’s an amazing intensity and precision to this wine: just beautiful. 95/100               

Grans-Fassian Leiwen Laurentiuslay Riesling GG 2019
Great concentration here to this vivid wine with its keen acid line and crystalline citrus fruit. Really beautiful with purity and concentration. 94/100                       

Nik Weis – St. Urbans-Hof Leiwen Laurentiuslay Riesling GG 2019
Distinctive aromatics: lime, mint, fine herbs. Beautifully mineral on the palate with some melon and pear notes, a touch of apple, and a long finish. 95/100               


Maximin Grünhaus – Familie von Schubert Mertesdorf-Maximin Grünhaus Abstsberg Riesling GG 2019
Taut and stony with bright citrus and pear fruit. Quite linear and dry, this is a lemony, intense wine. 92/100     

Maximin Grünhaus – Familie von Schubert Mertesdorf-Maximin Grünhaus Herrenberg Riesling GG 2019                        
Supple and linear with a juicy lemony core and some mineral hints. Has focus and elegance, with a touch of sweetness countering the high acidity. 93/100

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Kasel Nies’chen Riesling GG 2018
Nice balance here with a tapering finish, revealing layers of textured citrus fruit. Has some roundedness and softness on the midpalate. Very appealing. 92/100      


van Volxem Wawern Goldberg Riesling GG 2019     
Intense and limey, with some mint and herb characters supporting the vivid, intense citrus fruit. This is a powerful wine with a strong savouriness to it. 93/100               

von Hövel Oberemmel Hütte Riesling GG 2019        
Fresh, delicate and slightly minty. Midweight with nice detail to the limey fruit. 91/100               

von Othegraven Kanzem Altenberg Riesling GG 2019
A very taut, linear style with nice intensity of citrus fruit. Shows high acidity and a compact, linear profile. 93/100

van Volxem Kanzem Altenberg Riesling GG 2019
This is fabulous: juicy, linear, limey and intense with lovely purity to the fruit. Has a wonderful vital, finely spiced structure and acid line. Lovely wine. 94/100                         

Versteigerung von Othegraven Wiltingen Kupp Riesling GG 2018
There’s a slight creaminess here under the citrus fruit. Is it oaked? Textured and harmonious, this really needs some time for the creamy vanilla character to go. 88/100         

van Volxem  Wiltingen Gottesfuß Riesling GG 2019
Juicy, linear, crystalline with lovely pear and citrus fruit, and even a bit of ripe apple. Long, slightly saline, stony finish. 93/100                        

van Volxem Wiltingen Volz Riesling GG 2019
Mineral, a bit saline, with nice concentration of citrus fruit. Nice detail here, with a spicy flourish at the end. Refined. 93/100                         

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Wiltingen Scharzhofberger Riesling GG 2018
This has a nice delicacy with a finely-spiced structure to the apple, pear and citrus fruit. It has a lovely weight and poise, with some crystalline citrus fruit on the finish. 92/100

von Hövel Wiltingen Scharzhofberger Riesling GG 2019      
Refined lime and spice on the nose. The palate has some pink grapefruit, lime and green tea character. Really refined and nicely complex. 94/100

van Volxem Wiltingen Scharzhofberger Riesling GG 2019
Stony, vivid, bright and nicely focused. A touch of cabbage and herb under the limey fruit. Long, bright, refined lemony finish. Real interest here. 93/100

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Wiltingen Scharzhofberger “Pergentsknopp” Riesling GG 2018
Softly textured with some ripe apple and pear notes. Has a nice fine-grained structure and shows real elegance with a tapered, detailed finish. Very harmonious with some softness. 93/100

van Volxem Wiltingen Scharzhofberger “Pergentsknopp” Riesling GG 2019
Concentrated and very expressive with bright lemon and pear fruit, showing a crystalline quality on the palate. Very nice acidity here: this is dense and refined. 94/100                            

Peter Lauer Ayl Kupp Riesling GG 2019
Rounded and detailed at the same time, showing lemony fruit with nice texture and acidity. Has a lot of freshness. 92/100     

Peter Lauer Ayl Schonfels Riesling GG 2019
This is pure and shows good weight to the linear lemony fruit. There’s a hint of green tea and some grapefruit pith. Quite dry and mineral. 93/100

van Volxem Ayl Schonfels Riesling GG 2019
Really bright, concentrated, pure and linear with a lovely acid line, lemony fruit and great precision. Crystalline and fine. Mineral. 94/100

Nik Weis – St. Urbans-Hof Ockfen Bockstein Riesling GG 2019
Open, mineral, quite transparent. Midweight with a distinctive stony edge to the fruit. Quite savoury and very mineral. 92/100

von Othegraven Ockfen Bockstein Riesling GG 2019
Stony, smoky and quite transparent with a savoury, mineral character rather than lots of fruit. Very mineral. 93/100

van Volxem Ockfen Bockstein Riesling GG 2019       
Smoky, spicy, mineral nose. The palate is linear and quite taut, but has an openness to it. There’s some lemony fruit and bright acidity, but there’s also a flinty, mineral character. Pronounced acidity here. 93/100              

Peter Lauer Biebelhausen Feils Riesling GG 2019
Lovely concentration and intensity here with some spice and herbs. Crystalline and vivid with some apricot hints as well as a core of lime. 93/100

Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken Saarburg Rausch Riesling GG 2019
Nice purity to this with bright lemon and lime fruit, good concentration, and good length on the finish. Nice purity. 92/100                             

Schloss Saarstein Serrig Schloss Saarsteiner Riesling GG 2019
Bright, refined and showing nice intensity, this is lemony and pure with good concentration, and a rounded quality to the fruit. Finishes with a spicy flourish. Lovely wine. 93/100      

See also

Spätburgunder: tasting some top German Pinot Noirs

A study on Baden Chardonnay

Silvaner from Franconia: a really interesting variety