Marc Kreydenweiss is a great fan of the 2002 vintage but considers 2005 to be the next best, even if the ripening came too quickly toward the end. "Compared to the 2002s, the 2005s will give pleasure earlier," he said. "They're easier to understand. It was a year of very good but not great ripeness. We waited a bit for noble rot, but then it came." Estate-wide yields averaged below 40 hectoliters per hectare. (Wilson-Daniels, St. Helena, CA)
Bright yellow. Aromas of honey, clove and menthol. Richer and suppler than the 2004 version, but with a refreshing citrus edge to the acidity. Very good dry, intense wine with a persistent finish.
Medium yellow. Ripe, slightly exotic aromas of soft citrus fruits, honey and spices; pure but restrained. Round, rich and tactile, with very nicely integrated acidity. Fairly big for this, and very sexy. There was lots of botrytis here, but the rot was in the early stages. "I picked all blue grapes very quickly rather than wait seven to ten days for the grapes to shrivel and shrink," Kreydenweiss explained.
($44) Pale, green-tinged yellow. Subtle aromas of pineapple, nutmeg and crushed stone. Rich, supple and enveloping, with a silky, elegant texture and a very tender quality for young grand cru riesling. There's a touch of sweetness here (actually 6.5 g/l r.s.), but firm spiciness and minerally acidity give this good grip. I'd wait at least two years before popping the cork.
($77) Bright yellow. Deep, brooding aromas of lemon peel, clove and powdered stone; the only 2005 grand cru picked without at least some botrytis, says Kreydenweiss. Ripe but subdued, even austere, with a stony ripeness at the core and firm lemony acidity keeping the flavors under wraps. Much less expressive than the Weibelsberg today, but there are chewy depths here. This big wine is still an infant: I'd wait at least five years. Kreydenweiss told me that he often does not like this wine at the beginning, "as in 2000 and 1997."
($29) Pale yellow-gold color. Exotic, musky aromas of honey, apricot, orange and spices. Slightly sweet but nicely enlivened by ripe acids and lifted by a spicy character; thick in texture if on the soft side. Finishes persistent, with a hint of tannins but no obvious dryness.
($42) Deep yellow. Deeply pitched but rather inexpressive on the nose, hinting at honey, wild strawberry and violet. Riesling-like acidity gives this powerful wine excellent cut. Dense, penetrating and long, but the acids here will need a couple years to harmonize.
($32) Pale color. Very fresh, floral nose offers brown spices, rose and violet. Sweet, lush and sappy, with perfectly integrated acidity framing the fruit and floral flavors. Finishes dusty but not dry, with moderate sweetness and noteworthy persistence. I find this very easy to drink. Kreydenweiss serves it with Japanese food and with curries.
($64; 13% alcohol with 50 g/l r.s.) Fairly pale yellow-gold color. Expressive aromas of quince, mirabelle and exotic spices. Quite sweet on the palate but with lovely life and definition to its superripe fruit and spice flavors. The wine's density is nicely leavened by penetrating acidity, leaving it quite light on its feet. From fruit rich in noble rot, but not the product of a single trie, says Kreydenweiss.
vendange tardive Pale yellow color. Subtle, pure aromas and flavors of exotic fruits, marzipan and spices. Densely packed but a bit youthfully austere; less succulent than the Moenchberg VT. With an impression of penetrating acidity, this seems clearly drier than the Moenchberg. Shows considerable potential but needs at least five years of cellaring. The marzipan note repeats on the very long finish.
($77) Pale gold. Apricot and white truffle on the nose; Kreydenweiss compared this to a great Rheingau riesling. Supersweet (150 g/l r.s.) and glyceral but with an extraordinarily tangy quality to its apricot and lime fruit, thanks to penetrating (12 grams per liter!) acidity. As powerful and precise as this is, it's also silky-smooth and refined. Unlike most of Kreydenweiss's wines, this one did not go through malolactic fermentation. I would describe this style as "ageless": one could drink a bottle now or wait 20 years.