Many consumers have a difficult time buying Riesling wines, in part because of the labeling of German wines. American Riesling producers often put a "sweetness meter" on the label, to help show the wine buyer what's in the bottle. That is a seldom-seen help on German bottlings.
Schloss Johannisberg bills themselves on the label and the website as "the first Riesling wine estate of the world," born from "1200 years of wine culture." During the 18th century, the grapes were brought back from harvest to the winery late, infected with noble rot. Surprise … they liked it that way. They liked it so much, they put up a statue of the tardy grape carrier. This wine has an extremely low alcohol content of 8% abv. It retails for $60.
The 2016 Schloss Johannisberg Rheingau Grünlack Spätlese Riesling wine is made from late-harvested grapes, so it is sweet (spätlese.) However, it is sweet in a different way than a dessert wine is sweet. There is no layered sugar, no raisiny note. I get the sweetness of the grapes, but also the minerals which accompany them. Stone fruit is apparent, as is the smell of a wet driveway, a whiff of ozone and the faint petrol notes that begin to show in Rieslings over time. This may be one of the best sweet examples of the grape that I have had.
The 2018 Schloss Johannisberg Silberlack Trocken is Rheingau Riesling done in the dry style (trocken.) The wine has a higher, but still quite reasonable alcohol content of 12.5% abv. It retails for $90.
This wine is dry. Its nose gives minerals, apricot, a bit of lemon and some slate. On the palate, acidity is fresh and the minerality is up front. It is a great Riesling to pair with oysters or crab cakes.