Mittelrhein strikes gold at Best of Riesling

Organising a major wine competition isn’t easy in the middle of a pandemic. But the results show how the world of Riesling is evolving.

Christian Wolf, tasting director; Ilka Lindemann, editor-in-chief, Weinwelt
Christian Wolf, tasting director; Ilka Lindemann, editor-in-chief, Weinwelt

The results of the world’s biggest Riesling competition are out – and show that less well-known regions are now producing award-winning wines. The winners came from countries as diverse as Luxemburg, Australia, and even the Czech Republic – but it was the Riesling of Germany’s Mittelrhein that truly struck gold.

Altogether, 2,017 wines from around the world were tasted and rated over 12 days by a diverse judging panel. This was not easy to organise in a pandemic.

"It was a great challenge for us this year to conduct Best of Riesling: On the one hand, we had to take appropriate hygiene measures to protect the health of our tasters and employees,” said Christian Wolf,  the tasting director of Meininger Verlag, the organisers of the competition. “On the other hand, managed to provide a professional environment for the wines and for our tasters.”

The winners

Mittelrhein, which stretches out along the middle section of the Rhine River, had five first place winners this year, all of which came from the Bopparder Hamm, a famous steep slope. Two of the winning wineries, Matthias Müller and Weingart from Spay, have had great successes in previous years, and are now joined by the up-and-coming Didinger winery from Osterspai.

Other first place winners include Weingut A. Christmann, Eymann, Johann F. Ohler and Philipp Kuhn from the Rheinland Pfalz, Didinger from the Mittelrhein, Weingut Künstler from the Rheingau, and Weingut am Stein in Franconia. 

Overall, wineries from the Rheinland Pfalz region collected 399 awards. Rheinhessen was next with 287 and then came the Mosel with 269.

Internationally, Rieslings from Austria (43), Alsace (30), Luxembourg (11), the Czech Republic, Australia and Italy scored well.

“The vintages tasted show that the new 2019 vintage has great potential,” said Wolf, adding that 11 out of the 27 first-placed Rieslings were from the 2019, while “the great Rieslings from 2018 now show that even in a vintage with a larger harvest, real top qualities are produced.” 

A virtual award ceremony was held at Meininger Verlag in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse in the Rheinland Pfalz. The awards were announced by Wolf and Ilka Lindemann, editor-in-chief of Weinwelt magazine.

Dr Volker Wissing, the Rheinland Pfalz Minister of Viticulture, sent a video message congratulating the winners.

A full list of the winning Rieslings can be found here.

Meininger Verlag is the publisher of Meininger's Wine Business International magazine.

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