Eric Kientzler is fond of his 2004 rieslings but considers 2005 to be the more homogeneous set of wines here. "They have good balance, and they remind me of our 2002s in their richness," he told me. "We had a beautiful autumn with foggy mornings and dry afternoons, and the wines show a liqueur-like quality." The 2004s were more spicy at the same stage than the 2005s, he went on, "but it's too early to compare 2005 and 2004." Note that this estate is slow to release its top bottlings, so don't expect to see the grand crus in 2007. (Dee Vine Wines, San Francisco, CA; Vin de Garde Wines, Portland, OR; Grand Cru Imports, Souderton, PA; Vinifrance Imports, Alexandria, VA)
Also recommended: 2005 Pinot Gris (86).
($24) Pale color. Ripe nose verging on exotic, offering pineapple, lime skin, stone and white flowers. Solidly built if a bit less pure than the '04 version, but there's still lovely delicacy to the pineapple and grapefruit flavors. There's firm acidity here but the flesh to support it. A fairly dry style that finishes with a slight youthful shrillness that calls for 6 to 12 months of patience.
Pale, green-tinged color. Pineapple and wet stone on the nose; at once riper and more backward than the '04 version. Denser and sweeter but a bit less precise, with a suggestion of exotic fruits. This is stuffed with material but was tough going immediately after the bottling. Showing a hint of warmth on the back end.
($30; there is no Geisberg pinot gris in 2005, as Kientzer considered this wine too rich to make a classic grand cru) Exotic note of honey on the nose. Very sweet (25 g/l r.s.) and fat, with a slightly high-toned character to the rich apricot and honey flavors. I get a distinct botrytis suggestion, but the wine just avoids heaviness thanks to its ripe acidity. Ultimately offers moderate complexity.
($19) Green-tinged color. Highly perfumed nose melds musky lime, ginger, quinine, rose oil and cinnamon; aromatic without being at all crude. Juicy and detailed, with lovely lift in the mouth; broad but not heavy. Finishes spicy and fairly dry. Not superconcentrated but very easy to drink, and strong for a basic bottling.
($26) Pale, green-tinged color. Discreet nose offers lime, white flowers and mint, with a hint of rose petal emerging with aeration. Sweet, concentrated and nicely filled in; thicker than the normale but less pliant and in need of patience. In fact, this is a bit inscrutable today, showing more of a phenolic character, which gives the finish a slight dryness.