one of wine’s best kept secrets

Posted on March 6, 2009

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Riesling.  I’m not kidding.  I think the 80s and 90s killed white wines with white zins and chardonnays.  Rieslings, especially from Germany and Alsace, have been around all this time, and still represent KILLER value.  No, there are no tannins in rieslings, but I am telling you – pick up a riesling from mosel or alsace, serve it room temperature and treat it with the reverence you would a bordeaux or a burgundy.  The complexity is there. The aromatics are uplifting, flavour profiles exciting, the finishes are long, interesting and racing with acidity.

bernhardmehrlein_riesling

BERNHARD MEHRLEIN RIESLING KABINETT FEINHERB 2007

VINTAGES 89581 | 750 mL bottle

This wine is the colour of the first blonde you had a crush on.  You’re at camp and the sunlight is streaming through her blonde hair.  That shining, innocent blonde colour is this wine.  The nose is equally flirtatious – green apple, honey, stone of a ripe summer peach and a hint of a sweet rose petal.  You know some wines have personality; something just speaks to you from the glass.  There is definitely some major personality here.  Remarkable weight, apples, peaches and some almost graham cracker kind of spicy sweetness.  The acidity is bang on here and balances the residual sugar that’s here wonderfully.  The finish is an inspired dance on my palate of summer fruits and flowers, with a bit of minerality.  The acidity ensures it’s a clean refreshing feeling left on my palate, and my mouth is watering for the next sip with a bit of peachiness still lingering.

I’m telling you, Riesling is complex and wonderful.  The residual sugars and vibrant natural acidity from cool climates like Rheingau mean these puppies age too.  The best part is that they are a steal.  Check out your local vintages section next time you’re in the LCBO and peruse the German rieslings. 17 dollars for this great example, less than that is regularly available.  If nothing else pick one up to start your dinner party with as an experiment.

Without fail, this is the varietal that gets the most knowing smiles when I talk to sommeliers, restauranteurs and other wine connoisseurs.  The conversation usually ends with a wink and a smile, finger pressed to lips.  They don’t want the secret to get out – aromatics, complex flavour profiles, lengthy beautiful finishes AND built to age, all for under 20 bucks?  It’s one of wine’s best kept secrets.

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Posted in: tasting notes