2002 Spreitzer Oestricher Lenchen Spätlese #303

SKU #1005544 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Named after a parcel that holds the record for the highest must weight ever achieved in the Rheingau (set in 1920), the 2002 Riesling Spatlese Oestricher Lenchen '303' explodes from the glass with botrytis-laced smoky apricot aromas. This big, bold, masculine effort slathers the palate with peaches, apricots, red cherries, currants, and well-integrated botrytis flavors. Medium-bodied, intensely expressive, and deep, it also proudly displays an extensive, sultry, and fruit-packed finish. I would love to try this beauty alongside the 2001 (rated 92 points in issue #144) in a dozen years! Anticipated maturity: 2005-2020.  (2/2003)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Beautiful from beginning to end. Not a showy white, yet there’s a coiled spring of apricot, passion fruit, mandarin orange and mineral etched in the fine structure. There’s a density here that suggests the best is yet to come. Lovely tangy finish. Drink now through 2015.  (2/2004)

K&L Notes

According to Terry Theise: "It hails from a hillside separate from the rest of the vineyard, from which a legendary TBA with 303 degrees Oechsle was gathered in 1920, the highest-ever must weight for Rheingau Riesling. This has a truly grand aroma; reminded me of great Erbacher Siegelsberg; more cox-orange and real orange on the palate. A Significant Spätlese from a fine vintage, the kind of wine which will later be called Classic. Again, fruit-driven and lusty."

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Price: $39.99
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- While the rest of the world has often misappropriated the name--Welchriesling, Riesling Italico, Gray Riesling and Emerald Riesling are all names applied to varieties that are NOT Riesling--this exceptional German varietal has managed to maintain its identity. Perhaps its biggest claims to fame are its intoxicating perfume, often described as having honeyed stone fruit, herb, apple and citrus notes, and its incredible longevity - the wines lasting for decades. Aged Rieslings often take on a distinctive and alluring Petrol-like aroma. Within Germany, the grape seems to do best in the warming slate soils of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. Other German regions that turn out great Rieslings include Pfalz, Rheingau and Nahe. German Rieslings are made in a range of ripeness levels. The top wines are assigned Prädikat levels to describe their ripeness at harvest. These are: Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese. Riesling has also achieved acclaim in France's Alsace, the only region in that country where the grape is officially permitted. Alsatian Rieslings are typically dry and wonderfully aromatic. Austrian Riesling is also steadily gaining praise and fine Riesling is also produced in Italy's Alto-Adige and Friuli, in Slovenia and much of Central and Eastern Europe. In the New World its stronghold is Australia, where it does best in the Eden and Clare Valleys. It is also planted in smaller amounts in New Zealand. In the US, winemakers are eschewing the syrupy sweet versions of the 1970s and 1980s, instead making elegant and balanced wines in both California and Washington State.


- Thanks to a recent string of excellent vintages and to the reemergence of Germany onto the international wine writing scene, this is a country that's hot, hot, hot! Germany is divided into 13 wine Region and produces a very wide variety of wine styles, from incredibly high-acid, dry wines to some of the sweetest, most unctuous concoctions on the planet and even a few surprisingly hearty reds. Most of the highest-quality wines are grown on steep banks along the rivers in these Region. Small vineyards are still mostly hand tended and picked, due to the difficult nature of mechanization on these slopes. White wine production accounts for nearly 80% of the total with Riesling being the most important varietal, though Muller-Thurgau is still more widely planted.