Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week might as well be called German Riesling week, or for that matter. Dr. Loosen week. I grabbed a lot of tall bottles to taste this week.

But before we get deep into the Rieslings, I’ve got a couple of other fresh white wines for you.

The first is the positively charming Pinot Blanc (aka Weissburgunder) made by Wittmann in Germany’s Rheinhessen region. The “100 Hills” is a second, more value-oriented label from this venerable producer, but the wines are quite high quality as this Pinot Blanc and the other dry Riesling below demonstrate. The Pinot Blanc, in particular, goes down extremely easy, especially for less than twenty bucks.

I’ve also got a Gëwurztraminer from Villa Wolf, Ernie Loosen’s property in the Pfalz region of Germany. This one is textbook in its lovely lychee and orange peel freshness, and while perhaps not quite as brisk as I would like, it certainly offers a wonderful aromatic freshness that avoids the cloying qualities that can mark poorly made examples of the grape.

OK, shall we drink some Riesling?

Let’s start with the Wittmann Estate Riesling Trocken, a bone-dry and very mineral-driven expression of Riesling that, despite a touch of austerity, manages to be quite tasty, especially for the price.

Then we’ve got a couple of the value Rieslings from Dr. Loosen that are affectionately labeled “Dr. L” — a dry version and an off-dry version, both of which have their charms, but I found myself gravitating to the dry version. At $12, it’s pretty difficult to argue with either.

Stepping up a notch in price, we then proceed to the Red Slate and Blue Slate bottlings of Mosel Riesling from Dr. Loosen, which are both excellent but the Blue Slate has something quite special in character, offering incredible quality for the price.

And then finally we finish our Riesling tour with two outstanding single-vineyard expressions of the Mosel River Valley from Dr. Loosen: the Erdener Treppchen vineyard, which is one of the region’s steepest vineyards, named after the stone stairs (ladder?) that workers had to install in order to make it up the precipitous slopes; and the famous Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard, with its namesake sundial in the midst of the slope. Both Rieslings are cracking with acidity and offer that kind of weightlessness that great Riesling achieves on the best slate soils and in competent hands.

But wait! There’s more. Just in case anyone felt bereft without a red wine this week, I also opened Wittmann’s Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir to us Americans) and found it to be a tart, savory mouthful of herbs and berries, and one that grew on me with some air and time.

Notes on all these below.

Tasting Notes

2018 Wittmann “100 Hills” Pinot Blanc, Rheinhessen, Germany
Pale greenish-gold in color, this wine smells of lemon zest and white flowers. In the mouth, juicy and aromatically sweet flavors of lemon curd, pink grapefruit, and meyer lemonade have a lovely brisk bite to them thanks to excellent acidity. Labeled as dry, but comes off as evert-so-faintly-sweet, and rather charming because of it. 13% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $20. click to buy.

2018 Villa Wolf Gewürztraminer, Pfalz, Germany
Palest greenish-gold in color, this wine smells of candied orange peel and roses. In the mouth, flavors of lychee, orange peel, and rose petals have a very faint sweetness to them that is more aromatic than it is sugary. Good acidity keeps this wine quite light on its feet, but I found myself wishing for more zip to it. The lovely floral aromatics are hard to argue with, however. 11.5% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $12. click to buy.

2018 Wittmann “100 Hills” Dry Riesling, Rheinhessen, Germany
Pale greenish-gold in the glass, this wine smells of tangerine oil and mandarin zest. In the mouth, flavors of Asian pear and mandarin oranges are backed by a wet slate minerality and served up on a silky texture. I wish there were a bit more bright acidity here, but this is a competent and tasty wine. 12% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $20. click to buy.

2018 Wittmann “Estate” Riesling Trocken, Rheinhessen, Germany
Light gold in color, this wine smells of tangerine oil and wet chalkboard. In the mouth, silky flavors of Asian pear, grapefruit, and mandarin orange pith are zippy thanks to excellent acidity. Wonderfully dry, without any trace of sweetness, there’s a wet chalkboard quality that lingers in the finish along with citrus pith. Quite lean, but very pretty. 12.5% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 9. Cost: $23. click to buy.

2018 Dr. L Dry Riesling, Mosel, Germany
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of wet chalkboard and citrus pith. In the mouth, flavors of citrus pith, rainwater, and wet chalkboard have a wonderfully bright crystalline quality to them, as mandarin orange pith and grapefruit pith notes emerge towards the finish. Light and zingy, thanks to excellent acidity. 12% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $12. click to buy.

2018 Dr. L Riesling, Mosel, Germany
Pale greenish-gold in color, this wine smells of candle wax, wet chalkboard, and a spritz of citrus oil. In the mouth, light to moderately sweet flavors of Asian pear, lemongrass, and oyster shell manage to retain a little saline quality, like a touch of oyster “liqueur” remaining in the shell that eventually gives way to star fruit and Asian pear flavors to linger in the finish. Good, but not fantastic acidity. 8.5% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $12. click to buy.

2018 Dr. Loosen “Red Slate” Dry Riesling, Mosel, Germany
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon cucumber, wet chalkboard, and unripe pear. In the mouth, crackling acidity makes flavors of grapefruit pith and unripe pear shimmer with electricity and give way to a deeply stony underbelly. Hints of kumquat linger in the finish with that fruit’s astringent citrus bite. Perhaps slightly austere, but quite a pretty wine. 12% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $18. click to buy.

2018 Dr. Loosen “Blue Slate” Riesling Kabinett Mosel, Germany
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of wet pavement and white flowers with a hint of citrus. In the mouth, honeysuckle and Asian pear flavors mix with a touch of ruby grapefruit and mandarin orange. Excellent acidity makes this wine quartz-like in its clarity. Very pretty. 8.5% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $18. click to buy.

2018 Dr. Loosen “Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett” Riesling, Mosel, Germany
Light greenish-gold in the glass, this wine smells of mandarin oil, Asian pear, and a touch of candle wax. In the mouth, the wine bursts with Asian pear, tangerine, and honeysuckle flavors, as electric acidity makes the mouth water unstoppably. Incredibly juicy, with a stony underbelly that gives the wine a weightless, crystalline quality that is quite compelling. Fantastic. 9% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2018 Dr. Loosen “Erdener Treppchen Kabinett” Riesling, Mosel, Germany
Palest greenish-gold in color, this wine smells of mandarin oil, mandarin zest, and Asian pears. In the mouth, flavors of star fruit, Asian pears, lemon cucumber, and white flowers have a moderate sweetness that fades quickly towards a perception of dryness thanks to the stony acidity that pervades the wine. The dusty flavor of wet chalkboard lingers in the finish. Like many great Rieslings, this has a weightlessness to it that is breathtaking. 8.5% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $28. click to buy.

2017 Wittmann Spätburgunder, Rheinhessen, Germany
Light ruby in color the point of easily being mistaken for a rosé, this wine smells of comfrey, red berries, and chopped herbs. In the mouth, notes of dried herbs, redcurrant, and citrus peel have a light, bouncy quality thanks to excellent acidity. There’s a faint bitterness that lingers in the finish with a hint of licorice root flavor and dried herbs. Lean and savory, with barely perceptible tannins. While many might not peg this as Pinot Noir, it is nonetheless a pleasant wine to drink. 13% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $38. click to buy.