German Wines to Welcome in 2015

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Rieslings and pinot noirs provide fresh beginning to a New Year
German Wines to Welcome in 2015
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German rieslings and pinot noir ring in 2015.

German wines, even the red spätburgunders (pinot noirs), provide a freshness and liveliness that is perfect for ushering in the new year.

One reliable producer and importer whose products are widely available is P.J. Valckenberg, which selects a varied portfolio to sell in the United States, many at entry-level prices. In addition to rieslings and pinot noirs, there are also a pinot blanc, a gewürztraminer and a lemberger.

So here we go with the first of our 2015 wine reviews:

P. J. Valckenberg Rheinhessen pinot blanc 2013 ($13)

Very nice green fruit, mainly juicy gooseberries, a little soft in the middle but with a crisp finish.

P. J. Valckenberg Pfalz gewürztraimer 2013 ($14)

Good, spicy aromas and flavors of peach and tangerine, pleasantly plump and a tad sweet — a natural with mildly spicy Asian foods.

P. J. Valckenberg “Undone” Rheinhessen dry riesling 2013 ($11)

The tart, crisp side of riesling, with a tin-can minerality in the finish. Not complex, but pleasant everyday drinking.

Prinz zu Salm “Two Princes” Rheinhessen riesling 2013 ($17)

A seductive entry-level wine with lightly sweet, floral flavors upfront and a citrusy finish.

Liebfrauenstift Rheinhessen riesling 2013 ($17)

Another take on the sweet-citrusy profile, with notes of peach, orange, and grapefruit — sweet up front, citrusy in the finish. Enjoyable.

Baron Knyphausen Kiedricher Sandgrub riesling spätlese 2013 ($39)

Quite nice — big and rich, yet well-structured with long flavors of peaches and oranges and even a touch of tannins. Like many spätlese wines, it’s low in alcohol — only 8 percent — so you can drink more of it.

Schloss Saarstein Serriger Schloss Saarsteiner riesling spätlese 2013 ($42)

Juicy and rich with pear/woody notes, flavors of stone fruits and citrus and savory touches. Lively and fresh — almost spritzy — yet full-bodied. Alcohol — 8.5 percent.

Karl Schaefer Wachenstein “Sonnentröpfchen” medium dry riesling 2013 ($29)

Its tart peach intensity more than balances its sweetness. Lots of tin-can minerality. Very nice wine from the Nahe.

Pflüger Dürkheimer spätburgunder trocken 2012 ($27)

Lovely spicy-berry nose with dark cherry flavors with spicy, savory undertones. More of a food-pairing pinot than a sipping one.

Castell Casteller Reitsteig spätburgunder 2012 ($54)

Lovely, light pinot from Franken region with floral cherry flavors but savory bitters in the end.

Grafen Neipperg Württemberg lemberger trocken 2012 ($25)

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A grape and wine seldom seem outside of Germany, this lemberger has neutral red fruit with lots of savory bitters around the edges. Think carafe wine.