Ratings: Steely, Dry and Elegant: Eight German ‘Great Growth’ Rieslings | Wine Enthusiast
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Steely, Dry and Elegant: Eight German ‘Great Growth’ Rieslings

Grosses Gewächs, or “great growths,” (GG) is Germany’s top designation, which can be used for grapes like Pinot Noir and Silvaner. But Riesling is the most common.

These German Rieslings are always vinified completely dry with acidity that is often described as searing. The exceptional quality also means these wines are built to age.

Here are eight GG Rieslings to enjoy now or cellar away.

Maximin Grünhäuser 2019 Abtsberg GG Riesling (Mosel); $70, 97 points. Struck flint and river rocks introduce this brilliantly steely dry Riesling. Compared to the youthful, almost tropical, charm of the producer’s 2019 Herrenberg GG, lime and grapefruit flavors in the Abtsberg are bracing and linear in youth but suggest a depth and elegance that should reward cellaring. Best to hold till 2024 at least. It should evolve wonderfully through 2035 and hold longer still. Loosen Bros. USA. Cellar Selection. —Anna Lee C. Iijima

Schäfer-Fröhlich 2018 Bockenauer Stromberg GG Dry Gold Cap Riesling (Nahe); $125, 97 points. Sourced from volcanic soils, this is a smoldering, intensely mineral wine highlighted by streaks of lime and lemon. It’s piercing and concentrated in pure, pristine citrus flavors but powerful and sinewy on the finish. This bold dry Riesling that should reach peak from 2023 and improve well through 2040. The German Wine Collection. Cellar Selection. —A.I.

Ökonomierat Rebholz 2018 Kastanienbusch GG Riesling (Pfalz); $125, 96 points. A rare expression of red-slate soils from the Pfalz, this dry, richly textured Riesling balances piercing gooseberry and grapefruit flavors against a rambling backdrop of scorched earth and spice. Zesty and penetrating, it’s a stately wine that deserves a few more years of cellaring to show its full color. At peak from 2023–2040 but likely to hold longer as well. The German Wine Collection. Cellar Selection. —A.I.

Zilliken 2019 Rausch GG Riesling (Mosel); $80, 96 points. This dry bottling from its famed Saarburger Rausch vineyard, this is a sleek, hauntingly concentrated wine. While light in body, it’s a ripe, almost cream-textured Riesling layered with luscious white peach, grapefruit and gooseberry flavors. Reflective of the vintage, it’s a distinctly richer, more extracted expression of the Saar, yet maintains a steely, earthen edge. Approachable now but should improve through 2035 and hold longer still. Loosen Bros. USA. Editors’ Choice. —A.I.

Dr. Loosen 2018 Ürziger Würzgarten Alte Reben GG Dry Riesling (Mosel); $54, 95 points. Deep ripples of smoke and spice permeate through this smoldering dry Riesling. Packed with bristling lemon and grapefruit flavors, its palate is rich in texture yet steely and firm on the backbone. Tasted in early 2021, it’s nervous and demure in youth but should gain nuance and depth from 2023 and evolve beautifully through 2035 and beyond. Loosen Bros. USA. Cellar Selection. —A.I.

Fritz Haag 2019 Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Trocken GG Riesling (Mosel); $58, 95 points. Notes of nectarine and apricot are cutting and spry in this full-bodied but vital, rejuvenating dry Riesling. Tasted young, it’s gloriously fresh and fruity, etched by streaks of lime acidity and a dazzling mineral undertow. Through 2035 and likely longer, it’s a wine that should gain intensity, earthen complexity and texture. Loosen Bros. USA. —A.I.

Schloss Johannisberger 2018 Silberback Trocken GG Riesling (Rheingau); $90, 95 points. Wafting of spring blossoms, smoke and raspberry brambles, this is such a delicately perfumed Riesling. It’s slim in profile but beautifully defined, etched by layers of luminous white peach and grapefruit along with a bold, intensely slaty core. It’s quiet in youth but should gain depth well through 2030 and hold further still. Freixenet Mionetto USA. Editors’ Choice. —A.I.

Prinz von Hessen 2016 Johannisberger Klaus Grosses Gewäches Riesling (Rheingau); $45, 93 points. Enticing whiffs of smoke, hazelnut and dried sage mingle into succulent lime and lemon here. It’s dry and lusciously full bodied but calibrated by spine-tingling streaks of acid and minerality. It should improve through 2030 and hold further. Folio Fine Wine Partners. —A.I.

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