This was an very good master class with the interesting and charismatic Ernst Loosen. This was the second of three master classes on day two of the Frankland Estate International Riesling Tasting.

First up was a wine that is part of a joint venture between Chateau Ste. Michelle in the USA and Ernst Loosen that was started in 1999. Ernst spoke about the goal of this venture as being the best mix of old world knowledge and technique along with the best unique expression of Washington Riesling.

Chateau Ste. Michelle “Eroica” 2005 – (Columbia Valley, Washington, USA):

Essence of banana on the nose, along with apple, mango and other tropical fruits (mostly pineapple and passionfruit). Medium weighted palate shows crisp acidity and just a very slight hint of sweetness.

After this new world wine, Ernst took us through a set of three wines from J.L Wolf (an estate that he took over in 1996) that he says were from the same region, picked at similar times, had similar vinification process (including the same strain of yeast) and should display the differences in these three “Grand Cru” vineyards for the 2004 vintage.

J. L. Wolf Forster Pechstein (Blackstone) Spatlese Trocken 2004 – (Pfalz):

Rather weird nose – some vegemite like yeast as well as minerals, candy and some soap characters. Palate seems to lack balance at the moment, with acid prominent especially on the front and back palate.

J. L. Wolf Forster Ungeheuer (Monster) Spatlese Trocken 2004 – (Pfalz):

Flinty, mineraly and some struck match sulphur characters on the nose. The palate is focused, rich and powerful. Shows excellent balance and structure as well as a good length to the finish.

J. L. Wolf Forster Jesuitengarten Spatlese Trocken 2004 – (Pfalz):

An elegant nose of peach, orange peel, honeydew melon, wet pebblecrete, minerals and a soft floral note. Palate exhibits freshness and vibrancy, with a core of minerally acid providing structure. Should age wonderfully well.

Then onto a flight of Dr Loosen estate wines which were all from the Mosel region and were again an example in the difference that can be granted from these three different (and again rated as “Grand Cru”) vineyard sites and soil types from 2004.

Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr (Sundial of Wehlen) Auslese 2004 – (Mosel):

From blue slate and very thin topsoil. Stone fruit, very peachy and apples. Some nice intense fruit flavour and beautifully balanced sweetness on the palate. A long, lingering finish and very enjoyable to drink.

Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten (Spicegarden of Urzig) Auslese 2004 – (Mosel):

From red volcanic sandstone soil. Violets, white peaches, apple, minerals and spice. Lovely fresh palate with excellent intensity and concentration, again superb balance. Very good length and structure. Delicious drinking now and will surely be better with time and added complexity. If it is any indication of how much I liked this, we were given the chance to take any of the wines from the first two master classes with us to lunch and this was the one that I picked.

Dr. Loosen Erdener Pralat (Bishop of Erden) Auslese 2004 – (Mosel):

From a red slate based site that is only 4 acres in size (1 acre of which is owned by Loosen). A complex nose bursting with aromas of peach, pineapple, guava, spice, flint and floral notes. The palate is rich, ripe and concentrated, but still pulls off excellent balance and shows all around class. The best depth of flavour and length of the wines in this flight.

Then back to the new world for a wine that is made in a Trockenbeerenauslese hand selected and hand sorted style. Ernst recounted the initial difficulty that he had getting the managers and accountants of Ste. Michelle to produce this wine, they cited the extremely high labour costs involved in manual berry selection, apparently after Ernst told them that they would be able to sell it for $200 – $250 USD the first question that the accountants asked excitedly was how many bottles they could make of it starting the next year. 145 cases of half bottles made in the third vintage that this wine has been produced.

Chateau Ste. Michelle “Single Berry Select” 2001 – (Columbia Valley, Washington, USA):

Dark golden colour. Exceptionally intense, explosive nose with strong botrytis influence, apricot, pear, honey and a bit of a spirity like note just throwing things off a touch. Incredibly viscous, concentrated palate coats the mouth with flavour. Sweetness is probably a bit over the top, with an acid structure that seems smothered a bit by the richness – very good length. An interesting experience and a pretty good attempt at a USA TBA wine, just lacking a bit of balance to get a full recommendation.

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