I’m a huge fan of rieslings, but only the dry stuff, so I was delighted to discover upon disembarking downtown that the Riesling & Co.’s world tour was plenty stocked with mouth-puckering, steely, bone-dry wines.
With 39 tables to visit in three hours, this was not an event for the meek or weak. With our booklets in hand (being a German affair, each table was numbered and charted, with a listing of every producer and wine), at times, my friend Jenn and I were jostled around tables, where I often had to aggressively elbow my way in.
The crowd was an interesting mix of connoisseurs and those looking for a cheap drunk, with perhaps only a rationale differentiating between the two. (To be on the safe side, we hovered in the middle of the mix, with the natural ability to slip easily toward the downward side.)
Our first mistake was to skip the buffet, figuring we’d sip a bit before breaking to refuel. Seeing people walking around with plates of sushi and sashimi, did nothing to detract me from my focus–what a fool. By the time we broke, the food was gone, and we were left to pick like pigeons from baskets of crusty stale bread. Thank god for riesling’s lower alcohol content; we made it through the night sans tragicomic events.
Now for the wines.
Green apple, apricot, limestone, lychee, peach and pear, petrol, honey, and lime–these were the flavors that dominated the night. And though I avoided most things semi-sweet and beyond, my taste buds were dizzy by the second hour, tired from trying to distinguish the differences found in each wine.
A few favorites worth noting:
- 2004 Riesling Late Harvest, produced by T & T Premium Brands Marketing, dry, Summa cum laude–This wine had a whole lotta petrol going on, which I liked because I found it so unique, followed by a bit of soft peach.
- 2006 Riesling Erstes Gewächs, produced by Domdechant Werner’sches Weingut, Kirchenstuck Hochheim–Clean and fruity, this wine turned dry mid-palate, then finished with a bite of apricot/lime.
- 2006 Riesling Erstes Gewächs, produced by Weingut J. Koegler KG, halbtrocken, Eltviller Sonnenberg–Champagne taste, beer budget, naturally I loved this wine because it’s more than I can afford. A complex wine with evolving flavors, it had a petrol bouquet that lingered in the mouth finishing with a bit of nutmeg at the end.
- 2007 Riesling Spätlese, produced by Weingut Schätzel, troken, General von Zastrow–Fruity and floral, a bit of pear, with a dry finish–just the way I like my rieslings, yum!
- 2007 Scheurebe Spätlese, produced by Weingut Lingenfelder, dry, Burgweg–Beginning with peach and apricot, followed by a zesty bite, with a mineral finish–a delicious wine.
- 2007 Ebling, trochen, Schloss Thorn, Mosel–Light (like Chablis) a bit salty, nice!
- 2007 Müller-Thurgau, halbtrocken, “BELLE AMIE”, Baden-Badener Winzergenossenschaft, Baden–A thin wine, with a touch of peach followed by lime/apricot zest.
A number of wines had an interesting mid-sip zip/zest, with a touch of carbonation. I’ll have to look into that.
The evening also emphasized the importance of knowing how to read a label. (Which I realized a few weeks ago, that when it comes to Spanish wines, I clearly DO NOT–but that’s another story.)
A few helpful terms (as defined by a few reps):
- Kabinett–grapes harvested early, producing a dry wine
- Spätlese–a late harvest and therefore medium to medium-sweet in flavor
- Auslese–an even later harvest and SWEET