Monday, February 27, 2017

The Annual Rieslingfeast in New York: Rieslingfeier 2017

Picture: Annette and Christian Schiller at the Rieslingfeier 2017 in New York City with Clemens Busch, Weingut Clemens Busch, Mosel

Rieslingfeier is an annual event in New York City that celebrates Riesling, in particular German Riesling. The cornerstone event is the Rieslingfeier Gala Dinner. Inspired by Daniel Johnnes’ famous Burgundy fête “La Paulée” it is very likely the greatest German wine BYOB dinner in the world, with both winemakers and guests bringing special bottles from their cellars to share.

Rieslingfeier is orchestrated by Stephen Bitterolf of the vom Boden wine importing company.

Pictures: New York Impressions

This year, Rieslingfeier took place on Friday, February 17 and Saturday February 18. 13 top German wine producers and (for the first time) 2 top Austrian winemakers were in attendance.

Almost all of the photos are mine. I used a few photos from other participants, which they put on facebook.

For last year's Rieslingfeier, see:

Here is a list of all postings:

A German Riesling Feast in New York City: Rieslingfeier 2015, USA
The 11 Winemakers: Rieslingfeier 2015 in New York City, USA
Riesling Crawl in New York City – Or, Where to Buy German Wine in Manhattan: Schiller's Favorite Wine Stores, USA
The Gala Dinner of the Rieslingfeier 2015 in New York City, USA

Joining

Annette Schiller, who organizes wines tours (ombiasyPR and WineTours), and Christian Schiller, who blogs on schiller-wine, joined the 2017 celebration of German Riesling. We were happy to meet the participating German elite winemakers. Many of them we know personally. Some of them we call our friends.

See: Announcement: ombiasy WineTours 2017 to Germany, Bordeaux and Burgundy with Annette and Christian Schiller

Pictures: Christian Schiller and Caroline Diel with Anouk at Schlossgut Diel. See: Tasting with Sylvain Taurisson Diel at Schlossgut Diel, Nahe – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Pictures: With Johannes Leitz at Weingut Leitz. See: Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Leitz in Rüdesheim, with Johannes Leitz – Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours

Picture: With Johannes Selbach at Weingut Selbach-Oster in Zeltingen, Mosel. See: Cellar Tour and Wine Tasting at Weingut Selbach-Oster in Zeltingen, Mosel, with Johannes Selbach – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Picture: At Weingut von Winning in Deidesheim, Pfalz. See: Tour and Tasting at Weingut von Winning in Deidesheim, Pfalz – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), Germany

Pictures: At Weingut Clemens Busch with Rita and Clemens Busch. See:Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting at Weingut Clemens Busch – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Picture: Tasting at Weingut Schloss Lieser in Lieser with Owner/ Winemaker Thomas Haag. See: Tasting at Weingut Schloss Lieser in Lieser with Owner/ Winemaker Thomas Haag – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016

Picture: Thomas Haag, Weingut Schloss Lieser, and Christian Schiller in Mainz

Picture: Annette Schiller and Helmut Dönnhoff at Weingut Dönnhoff. See: Wine Tasting and Cellar Tour at Weingut Dönnhoff with Christina Dönnhoff – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Official Rieslingfeier and Rieslingfeier Side Events

There were 2 kinds of events. First, there was the official Rieslingfeier program: The official program comprised 3 major blocks: (1) A series of 4 seminars on Friday; (2) the Grändtasting on Saturday during the day and the (3) Rieslingfeier Gala Dinner on Saturday evening.

Second, there were Rieslingfeier side events, including winemaker dinners and tastings. A very special side event was a BYOB dinner on Friday evening at a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, with many Rieslingfeier winemakers participating, organized by a Riesling fanatic based in New York. Finally, Annette and I did a few things unrelated to the Rieslingfeier, which I am also ncluding in the Rieslingfeier Side Events part of this posting.

Official Rieslingfeier 2017 Events

Friday February 17

Seminars

The kick-off was Friday, February 17 at Cork Restaurant with of a series of 4 seminars.

10:30am-11:30am: “Speaking German” – German wines in the contemporary landscape

Growers: Caroline Diel, Cornelius Dönnhoff and Johannes Leitz

Moderators: Eduardo Porto Carreiro (Untitled), and Raj Vaidya (Restaurant Daniel)

“Speaking German” was an industry-only tasting/discussion focusing on the challenges, and rewards, of German wines, with a focus on restaurant and retail practices. The 3 producers each poured a GG and a Kabinett wine. This was a free, industry-only seminar.

Pictures: “Speaking German” – German wines in the contemporary landscape

12:00-1:00pm: Different Strokes for Different Slopes: Germany and Austria

Growers: Leo Alzinger, Clemens Busch, Eva Fricke and Franz Hirtzberger

Moderator: David Schildknecht, Vinous Media

Steep slope, riverside viticulture: Riesling lovers inevitably celebrate it, and few growers have more formidably mastered it than these four. But terraces of slate overlooking the Mosel or Rhine and those of Urgestein along the Danube differ dramatically from one another. The seminar explored how the techniques and styles of these estates and their respective regions have adapted to their terroirs, and challenge their proprietors to explain: “What’s so special about steep slopes, terraces or river exposure?” $35.00

Picture: Different Strokes for Different Slopes: Germany and Austria

1:30-2:30pm: GIANTS: 2005 vs. 2015

Growers: Thomas Haag (Schloss Lieser), Egon Müller IV, Johannes Selbach and Daniel Vollenweider

Moderator: Stephen Bitterolf, Rieslingfeier Founder

The vintages 2005 and 2015 are perhaps the two most critically acclaimed German vintages of this young century. While both vintages came to the market with big scores and big expectations, this tasting offered a chance to compare the vintages, side by side. How do these two giants compare? This tasting focused on Mosel estates, with each grower presenting the same bottling from the two different vintages. $50.00

Picture: Thomas Haag and his Son Arriving at the Seminar

3:00-4:00pm: Radikals: business as not usual

Growers: Hans-Joseph Becker, Jochen Beurer, Andreas Hütwohl (Von Winning) and Johannes Weber (Hofgut Falkenstein)

Moderator: Paul Grieco (Terroir)

This seminar focused on the radicals of German winemaking, growers who have gone against the grain by either pushing beyond the historical boundaries of their region, or, in fact, returning to traditions long forgotten. Four unique estates, each representing a unique terroir of Germany: Rheingau, Swabia, Pfalz and Saar. Think you know German wine? To quote the bard: “There are more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” $35.00

Pictures: Radikals: business as not usual

Saturday, February 18

Rieslingfeier Gränd Tasting

All the Rieslingfeier growers were be in attendance for this walk-around tasting. The event largely focused on wines from the 2015 vintage.

Pictures: Stephen Bitterolf at the Gränd Tasting

Pictures: Annette Schiller, Eva Becker, Hajo Becker, Stephen Bitterolf

Picture: Egon Müller

Picture: Thomas Haag and Evan Springarn, David Bowler Wine

Picture: Johannes Selbach

Picture: Andreas Hütwohl of Weingut Von Winning, Pfalz, with Annette Schiller

Picture: Clemens Busch

Picture: Eva Fricke, Annette Schiller, Christian Schiller

Picture: Jochen Beurer

Picture: Caroline and Sylvain Diel

Picture: Cornelius Dönnhoff

Picture: Johannes Leitz

Picture: Johannes Weber of Hofgut Falkenstein, Mosel

Picture: Daniel Vollenweider of Weingut Vollenweider, Mosel, with Xiao Peng

Picture: Rieslingfeier Gränd Tasting

5th Annual Rieslingfeier Gala Dinner

Saturday, February 18th, 2017 | 7pm
Reynard | Wythe Hotel
80 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Picture: Wythe Hotel

The arguably most spectacular Riesling Party of North America took place at the trendy Reynard in the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn, on Saturday, February 18. About 130 wine freaks made the pilgrimage from across the country to NYC to be with 13 top German producers and 2 Austrian producers, leading wine and food journalists, importers, and sommeliers to enjoy a casual dinner and Riesling rarities.

Picture: Hajo Becker

There were 14 tables with 1 winemaker and 10 guests at each table. There was one table with 2 winemakers at the same table.

The five course meal was customized by Reynard’s Chef Sean Rembold to pair with dry and off-dry Riesling.

The wine service was presided over by Rieslingfeier Chef Sommelier Raj Vaidya along with a group of the country's top sommeliers.

Picture: Rieslingfeier Chef Sommelier Raj Vaidya

My wife Annette Schiller and I were sitting with Clemens Busch, Weingut Clemens Busch from the Mosel. At each table, about 20 wines were served. At my table, were pouring the wines.

All the wines were outstanding, but some of them were out of this world. You could walk to other tables and taste the wines poured there. Guests and winemakers also walked around and shared the wines with other people.

The evening began at 7pm with a Weingut Dreissigacker Sekt reception. Dinner started at 8:00pm sharp and ended at around midnight. Some of us went to the rooftop bar of the Wythe Hotel to end the evening with a gorgious view of Manhattan.

Attending German star winemaker Johannes Leitz called it a „slaughterhouse event“.

Reception with Dreissigacker Sekt

The evening began at 7pm with a Weingut Dreissigacker Sekt reception.

Picture: Weingut Dreissigacker 2013 Riesling Brut Sekt

Picture: Sekt Reception

Picture: Annette Schiller and Daniel Vollenweider of Weingut Vollenweider, Mosel

Picture: Clemens Busch and David Schildknecht

Picture Johannes Selbach and Valerie Masten of Skurnik Wines with Husband Jon Bonné

Picture: Eva and Hajo Becker

Picture: Caroline Diel, Schlossgut Diel, and Andreas Hütwohl, Weingut Von Winning

Picture: Egon Müller and Cornelius Dönnhoff

Picture: Pascaline Lepeletier, Rouge Tomate, and Jochen Beurer

14 Tables

There were 14 tables with one winemaker and 10 guests or so sitting at one table. (There was one table with 2 winemakers).

Picture: Stephen Bitterolf Opening the Dinner

Picture: Weingut Selbach Oster Table

Picture: Weingut Egon Müller Table

Picture: Weingut Leitz Table

Picture: Weingut Hirtzberger Table

Picture: Weingut J.B. Becker Table

Picture: Weingut Schloss Lieser Thomas Haag Table

Picture: Hofgut Falkenstein Table

Picture: Weingut Vollenweider Table

Picture: Weingut Von Winning Table

Picture: Weingut Dönnhoff Table

Picture: Weingut Beurer Table

Picture: Weingut Eva Fricke Table

Picture: Schlossgut Diel Table

Picture:Weingut Alzinger Table

Picture: Weingut Clemens Busch Table

The Dinner

Picture: Eduardo Porto Carreiro (Untitled) and Taylor Parsons ((Whole Clusters) were the Somms at the Weingut Clemens Busch Table

Picture: The Menu

Picture: Fluke Crudo with Coriander, Caraway, Chili

Picture Clemens Busch and Pascaline Lepeletier, Rouge Tomate

Picture: Cornelius Dönnhoff Sharing his Wine with us

Picture: Beef Carpaccio, Spiced Butter, Pickled Collard Greens

Picture: 2010 Keller Kirchspiel

Picture: Taylor Parsons Pouring

Picture: Blackened Trout, Smoked Celery Root Puree, Fresh Lemon

Picture: Annette Schiller Sharing, with Andreas Hütwohl, Weingut von Winning, Valerie Masten, Skurnik Wines and Husband and Wine Writer Jon Bonné

Picture: Andreas Hütwohl, Weingut von Winning, Valerie Masten, Skurnik Wines and Husband and Wine Writer Jon Bonné

Picture: Annette Schiller Sharing with David Schildknecht

Picture: Annette Schiller Sharing with David Schildknecht

Picture: Sylvain Diel

Picture: Duck Breast, Harissa Spice, Lentils, Butter Cabbage

Picture: Our BYOB Wines - Weingut Schloss Proschwitz in Sachseb and Weingut Lützkendorf in Saale Unstrut, both GGs

Picture: Tables are Filling up with Bottles

Picture: Tables are Filling up with Bottles

Picture: Tables are Filling up with Bottles

Picture: Weingut Leitz Big Bottle

Picture: Tomme de Chevre and Muffato with Lemon Verbena Honey, Almonds

Picture: Evening is Coming to an End

Picture: Annette Schiller and Egon Müller

Picture: Hajo Becker and  Pascaline Lepeletier, Rouge Tomate

Picture: Thomas Haag and Clemens Busch

Picture: Hajo Becker and Eva Fricke

Picture: Evening is Coming to an End

Picture: Weingut Keller TBA 2003

Picture: Weingut Leitz 1976

Picture: Annette Schiller and Stephen Bitterolf

Picture: Johannes Selbach Signing

Picture: Clemens Busch, Annette Schiller, Christian Schiller

Picture: Annette Schiller and Jochen Beurer

Picture: Christian Schiller, Annette Schiller and Jochen Beurer

Picture: The End

Picture: Hajo and Eva Becker with Annette Schiller

Picture: Rare Wines

Picture: Hajo Becker Taking a Final look

Picture: After Dinner Drinks at the Rooftop Bar with a Great View of Manhattan

Rieslingfeier Side Events

Wednesday, February 15

Pre-Rieslingfeier Event in Washington DC

For us, the Rieslingfeier started on Wednesday evening (February 15) in Washington DC at MacArthur Beverages. Phil Bernstein of MacArthur Beverages had convinced Johannes Selbach to travel from Germany to New York via Washington DC and to show his new vintage to Phil‘s customers in Washington DC.

Pictures: Johannes Selbach of Weingut Selbach-Oster at MacArthur Beverages in Washington DC, with Phil Bernstein and Annette Schiller

Thursday, February 16

Annette and I travelled to New York via bus on Thursday. We had made reservations at the Metropolitan Opera. Before the opera, we joined Johannes Leitz at a tasting close by the opera.

Pictures: Tasting with Johannes Leitz, Weingut Leitz, in New York City

Pictures: Werther (Jules Massenet) at the Metropolitan Opera with Dinner during the Intermission (36 minutes)

Following the opera, we were torn between joining Clemens Busch at Rouge Tomate where Star Sommelier Pascaline Lepeletier had organized a winemaker dinner with Weingut Clemens Busch and Weingut Falkenhof that evening.

Picture: Eva Fricke, Clemens Busch, Pascaline Lepeletier, Rouge Tomate, Paul Grieco, Terroir, Johannes Weber of Hofgut Falkenstein, Mosel, Lars Carlberg

We left the Met at 11:00 pm and felt that it was too late for Rouge Tomate, which usually closes at midnight. However, we were wrong. Somm Pascale Lepeltithe er told us the next day that guest and winemakers stayed until 2:00 pm.

Instead, we went to Williamsburg to Maison Premier, a well known for oysters and cocktails and open until 2:00 pm during the week and 4:00 pm during the weekend, for our project: On the Heels of Stuart Pigott. Leading German wine journalist Stuart Pigott used to live in Williamsburg for a few years. He just published an article in Der Feinschmecker, a leading German Gourmet Journal, in which he describes afew of his favorite New York spots, including Maison Premier, which is just around the corner from where Stuart used to live.

Pictures: On the Heels of Stuart Pigott - Maison Premier in Williamsburg

Friday, February 17

Lunch at The Lobster Place in Chelsea

Annette and I attended the first seminar only. We then went to the The Lobster Place in the Chelsea Market for a light lunch.

Pictures: Sushi at The Lobster Place

Happy Hour at Terroir

At 4:00 we met for Happy Hour drinks at Paul Greco‘s Terroir with German Wine Importer Justin Christoph an his wife.

Picture: Danielle King, Caroline Diel, Sylvain Diel, Justin Christoph, Christian Schiller

Picture: Annette Schiller and Paul Grieco

Picture: Valerie Masten of Skurnik Wines and Husband and Wine Journalist Jon Bonnéwith Sommelier/ Wine Consultant Sabra Lewis

BYOB Dinner with Rieslingfeier Producers in Chinatown

A very special side event was a BYOB dinner on Friday evening at a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, with many Rieslingfeier winemakers participating, organized by a Riesling fanatic based in New York.

Picture: Stephen Bitterolf

Picture: Clemens Busch

Picture: Eva and Hajo Becker, Egon Müller, Daniel Vollenweider

Picture: Jochen Beurer and Annette Schiller

Picture: Annette Schiller, Thomas Haag with his Son (Weingut Schloss Lieser) and Stephen Bitterolf

Picture: Annette Schiller and Clemens Busch

Picture: Hajo Becker, Stephen Bitterolf, David Schildknecht, Daniel Vollenweider

Saturday

Between the Gränd Tasting (see above) during the day and the Rieslingfeier Gala Dinner in the evening (see above), we had a couple of hours to kill. We went to The Four Horsemen in Williamsburg, also a recommendation of Stuart Pigott. The Four Horsemen focusses on natural wines.

Pictures: Annette and Christian Schiller at The Four Horsemen

Sunday

Lunch at Eatelly

Before hopping on the Vamoose bus to go back to Washington DC, we met with German Wine Society (Washington DC Chapter) Board Member Al Friedman for lunch at Eatelly (Flatiron).

Pictures: Lunch at Eatelly (Flatiron)

Stephen Bitterolf

Rieslingfeier was founded in 2012 by Stephen Bitterolf, a passionate advocate for Germany's culture of winemaking. He was the Wine Director at Crush Wine & Spirits in New York where he helped develop one of the largest German wine programs in the country before founding his own import company, vom Boden.

The Rieslingfeier 2017 Producers

Leo Alzinger of Weingut Alzinger, Wachau

Hajo and Eva Becker of Weingut J.B. Becker, Rheingau

Jochen Beurer of Weingut Beurer, Württemberg

Clemens Busch of Weingut Clemens Busch, Mosel

Caroline and Sylvain Diel of Schlossgut Diel, Nahe

Cornelius Dönnhoff of Weingut Dönnhoff, Nahe

Eva Fricke of Weingut Eva Fricke, Rheingau

Franz Hirtzberger of Weingut Hirtzberger, Wachau

Johannes Weber of Hofgut Falkenstein, Mosel

Johannes Leitz of Weingut Leitz, Rheingau

Egon Müller of Weingut Egon Müller-Scharzhof, Mosel

Thomas Haag and his son of Weingut Schloss Lieser, Mosel

Johannes Selbach of Weingut Selbach-Oster, Mosel

Daniel Vollenweider of Weingut Vollenweider, Mosel

Andreas Hütwohl of Weingut Von Winning, Pfalz

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