Celebrating 31 Days of Riesling - an exploration of German Riesling

Celebrating 31 Days of Riesling - an exploration of German Riesling

The Riesling grape makes one of the finest white wines in the World and is a firm favourite, (bordering on the obsessive) at Fourth and Church. Riesling is incredibly versatile, ranging from bone dry to super sweet, will continue to develop for decades but can also be enjoyed young. Some of the best Rieslings produced on the planet are from Germany which has been cultivated there since before the Roman era. 

Travelling through the changing landscape on a recent trip to Germany, visiting the vineyards and wineries of Jean Stodden in Ahr, Furst in Franken, Dr Loosen in Mosel, Donnhoff in Nahe, Villa Wolf in Pfalz and Gunderloch in Rheinhessen, it really hits home how the different climate, soils and altitude translates into what is poured into our glasses. 

In the hands of these Masters of Riesling you can really taste the terroir: the steel minerality of the flinty slate of the Mosel or the spiciness of red sandstone of the vineyards of Nahe. The challenges of creating these wines and the massive amounts of energy, skill and experience it takes to grow vines on some of the steepest terrain in the World is awe inspiring. 

A couple of favourites tasted on the trip were the Dr Loosen Erdener Treppchen Grosses Gewächs 2018 from a parcel of extremely old ungrafted vines over 100 years old on the estate's Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) vineyard, one of the World’s best (and steepest!). Golden in the glass, red apple skin, quince, white peaches and stone. Complex layers of honeysuckle, hazelnut and wet slate. Rich yet balanced with a beautiful minerality. Fantastic length.

The other highlight was tasting the 2022 vintages of Donnhoff’s wines. We have very limited allocation of Dönnhoff Höllenpfad im Mühlenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2020 from a parcel within the Höllenpfad Erste Lage Grosse Lage vineyard. Pure and flinty on the nose with dried rosemary and white pepper. Concentrated minerality, bright and crystalline on the palate. Depth of flavour and extremely long, saline and spicy finish.

Wines of Germany is the UK arm of Deutsches Weininstitut whose mission is to create greater awareness of German wines in the UK. Deutsches Weininstitut annual Riesling campaign takes part in 13 countries, with the UK celebrating 31 Days of German Riesling throughout July. Needless to say, July is one of our favourite months.

Last year Fourth and Church won the national award for best on trade with over 130 businesses taking part in promotions. There were over 60 different offerings of Riesling available, a daily changing wine list by the glass and a delicious seven course tasting menu with our Fourth and Church twist. 

This year Fourth and Church are enthusiastically preparing for 31 Days of German Riesling, having selected wines from the recent trip to Germany from some of the World’s top producers for a daily changing wine menu, shelves stocked to bursting, with two tasting events planned and a super passionate and knowledgeable team. We have bottles from Donnhoff, Furst, Gunderloch, Maximin Grauhaus, Jos Jos Prum, Villa Wolf, Dr Loosen and many more amazing producers. Brighton and Hove you are in for a treat! 

Some of rare and exciting wines available include the three-bottle case 'Flutedition' (Flood Edition), Mixed Wooden Collection Case from Jean Stodden. Following the dramatic floods in 2021, this collection of extremely fine Spatburgunders was created. Having lost many barrels and vineyards to the devastating floods the Stodden family vowed to carry on and restore everything back to its former glory. 

Other highlights are the Jean Baptise Kabinett 2021 from Gunderloch, A blend of grapes from the lower terraces of Gunderloch’s three top vineyard sites: Nierstein Hipping, Nierstein Pettenthal and Nackenheim Rothenberg, all of which are grand cru sites.  All green apples, young peaches and lemon zest on the nose. Off-dry with a balanced fine acidity and a fabulous finish.

Our first event was a roaring success, a Barstool Session held Thursday 6th July, with five wines paired with five small plates followed by our Sunday Session on the 23rd July 1-4pm, a luxurious six course lunch with some exceptional Rieslings to pair. Both will showcase the different styles of this versatile grape and both are selling out fast! 

And remember, Riesling isn’t just for July. 

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