Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Lineup: Riesling Matches

Rieslings have been collecting for some time in my wine samples bin, so I tasted 18 of them this week in one swell foop. Of these, I thought 11 were quite enjoyable, six not worth noting, and one, a classic German one, was so over-sulphured it never really blew off.

Some of the ones from the West Coast not noted were quite dull and clumsy, and it seems as if they were there simply because someone said, "We need a Riesling in our product line."

Wines of the Week

2009 Johannishof "V" Rheingau Johannisberg Riesling Kabinett ($24). Lovely floral aromas with gamy edges - apricot and peaches melded into a balsamic-like flavors. It's one of those instances where an interesting flavor or aroma gets near the edge, but doesn't go over it. Would be fine with Alsatian dishes.

2009 Craggy Range "Fletcher Family" Marlborough Riesling ($20). Pleasant oily Riesling aromas blended in with orange peel smells and tastes. Mildly assertive. Stony, minerally, metallic under pinnings.

2009 Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt "Josephofer" Riesling Kabinett ($30). Clean aromas with delicious, ripe fruit - apricot and plum peel - but with a tart finish. Excellent structure. A lean, piano-wire Riesling that nevertheless has appealing fruitiness.

2008 Mercer Yakima Valley Riesling ($15). Nice and elegant, with a balance between full and lean styles. Petroleum aromas, metallic and minerally, with apricot and orange notes throughout. A nice drinking wine, with or without food.

Wines of Interest

2009 Villa Sacher "Rheingraf" Rheinhessen Dry Riesling ($14). Excellent mouth feel - luscious and velvety - with muted fruit, floral and dry herbal, forest-floor flavors. A savory wine that is long on the palate.

2009 Macari Finger Lakes Riesling ($30). Lots of petroleum in the lovely nose. Lean, minerally, slate-like with tart apple skins. Lightly tannic - a pleasantly assertive wine that would stand up to tuna steaks and sushi.

2009 Liebfrauenstift Rheinhessen Dry Riesling ($14). Very delicate, but well-balanced with light nectar flavors. A good sipping wine.

2008 Liebfrauenstift Rheinhessen Riesling Trocken ($14). Again, lightish with flavors high on the palate of peach peel, minerals, slate. Quite nice.

2008 Blackstone Monterey County Riesling ($12). A good, basic "peaches and plums" Riesling. Not elegant, but-well integrated fruit. Full without being dull.

2007 Firestone Central Coast Riesling ($12). Petroleum notes. Fairly big with lots of apricots and peaches, but with a touch of taffy. Far from classic, but a good larger-style Riesling.

2009 Pacific Rim Columbia Valley Sweet Riesling ($10). Better than in its drier styles. Clove aromas with almost creamy, floral peaches. Well-balanced acidity.

Prices are approximate. For more-precise pricing and availability, check out:

Until next time...

Roger Morris