Germans love dry wine - this still comes as surprise to many foreigners who think of Germany as country of sweet wine. Actually, almost two thirds of all wine produced in Germany is dry. On top of that the VdP, the association of top producers, are currently pushing for a new top category in the wine classification system that applies to dry wine only. This is where the label 'GG', short for 'Großes Gewächs' (literally 'great growth') of today's Riesling from Baden comes from.
In order to be classified as GG, a wine has to come from a certified top vineyard, yields have to be low, only grape varieties that have some tradition in the region can be used, grapes have to be harvested selectively by hand and the wine has to have the same quality level as a late harvest. And, of course, the producer has to be a member of VdP. The Baden winemaker family Salwey are, and this is their 2008 GG Riesling.
The colour is a fairly saturated yellow going towards gold - so much so that the Riesling looked as if it were a few years older than it actually was. The nose is herbal, in a menthol-sage kind of way, with enticing notes of peach and pear, mineral and that hint of petrol Riesling fans love. More witty than sharp, I would say.
On the tongue the Salwey shows juicy fruit (German Riesling's trademark stone fruit says hello again, accompanied by some tropical fruit) and fading memories of vegetable; the wine has good structure, more on the elegant than the powerful side. It is lighter mid-palate, but has a strong 'tropical menthol-sage witty acidic comeback', as my drinking companion remarked; towards the end the finish blends spice, pepper and juice with good acidity.
Lovers of sweeter Riesling may be pleased to hear that this dry Riesling still has a bit of sugar, 6.6 g/l actually, balanced by 7.6 g/l acidity. This gives it a fresh and very balanced appearance.
While perhaps not an utterly mind-blowing miracle, this is a very convincing showing from Baden; and still at a fair price, considering what many producers charge for their GG wines.