The entire list of Rieslings is available in the restaurant and bar by the bottle (most go for about $30), glass or 2-ounce tasting. Dean came up with the idea for the festival two years ago. "I came from Honolulu, where Riesling sold very well in restaurants," he said. "Nobody was doing it in New York, and I thought it would be something different. It just grew."
Last year, Dean added German winemaker dinners. This year, he has created two $18 tasting flights: "Riesling of the World" consists of four wines from different countries, and "Great German Estates" serves up four wines from trocken (dry) to auslese (sweet). Dean will also be holding a series of wine classes introducing the Riesling grape.
Roughly half of The Mark's Riesling list represents top German estates, including Joh. Jos. Prum, C. von Schubert, Selbach-Oster and Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region; Robert Weil, Georg Breuer and Franz Kunstler from Rheingau; Gunderloch from Rheinhessen; and Dr. Burklin-Wolf and Muller-Catoir from the Pfalz. For example, the Joh. Jos. Prum Spatlese Wehlener Sonnenuhr 1997, rated 92 points by Wine Spectator, is $40 per bottle, $10 by the glass or $3.50 for a 2-ounce tasting.
Austria weighs in with the likes of Brundlmayer, Jamek, Knoll, Rudolf Pichler, Prager and Loimer. The latter's Langenloiser Steinmassl from the excellent 1997 vintage (89 points) sells for $50.
Though a few of the top Alsatian producers and wines are noticeably absent, it's difficult to argue with the five selections from Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, topped by the Rangen de Thann Clos St.-Urbain 1995 (92 points), at $125 the most expensive entry on the list.
Dean doesn't stop there, covering most of the world's areas where Riesling is grown. Australia, New Zealand, California, New York's Finger Lakes region and Washington make up the balance of the list. Stylistically, Dean showcases Riesling's versatility, from dry to late-harvest dessert wines.
For more information on upcoming winemaker dinners and classes, call Mark's Restaurant at (212) 879-1864 or The Mark hotel at (212) 744-4300. The Mark is located on Madison Avenue at the corner of 77th Street.
For ratings of the above-mentioned producers' wines, check the Wine Search.
To learn more about Riesling: