Posts Tagged ‘Riesling’

Expensive wine & upcoming TOTT & Riesling tastings

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

I had a story forwarded by a reader I thought I’d share.  Also want to give a heads up about two of my favorite tastings of the year; first the annual TOTT (Wine Enthusiast’s Toast of the Town) & next week’s Riesling (Wines of Germany) tasting.  I expect to attend both and hope to write about each shortly thereafter…

In the meantime, enjoy!

“Expensive Wine Indistinguishable from the Cheap Stuff”

The case for boxed wine just got stronger. In a blind taste test at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, 578 volunteers tasted wines ranging from 3.49 British pounds (or about $5.78 in American dollars) per bottle to £29.99 (just shy of $50). They were told that they were drinking one cheap wine, classified as being under £5 per bottle, and one expensive wine that cost £10 or more, and asked to identify which was which. Read on to see how they fared.

As reported in The Guardian, the volunteers managed to identify the more expensive wine only 53% of the time, and even less than that (47%) when the wines in question were red. Essentially, you’d have an equal chance of guessing an unborn baby’s gender or calling a flipped coin mid-air as you would of determining which wine is of higher value by taste alone. The wine with the highest accuracy rate was a pinot grigio, and that with the lowest was a claret, for which 61% of tasters thought the £3.49 bottle cost more than its £15.99 counterpart.

The moral here seems clear: If you want to drink free wine, sign up for more European science festivals. Also, if there is a costly wine you legitimately love, by all means, go ahead and splurge. But don’t venture down the wine aisle hoping to stumble on something tasty using price alone as your guideline, particularly with reds. Time to stock back up on that Two Buck Chuck.

Riesling World Tour 2010

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

I was attending a Spanish wine tasting in the city a little over a week ago that happened to be taking place the same day as the big Riesling tasting.  Which provided me with just enough time to sneak away to one of my favorite tastings of the year.

The 2010 Riesling tasting was very much like previous Riesling tastings I’ve attended.  A nice representation of producers who presently import their wines with several seeking importers.  And of course the favorite table, the library selection, called “1990’s – a decade of great Rieslings”.  Here the exhibitors had a chance to submit a wine from their library to be shown to the attendees.

I find Riesling to be interesting for several reasons.  It is a white & is often sweet wine (or at least there is residual sugar in it).  Often disrespected, there are many highly regarded wine people who are cult Riesling lovers.  Before attending the first Riesling tasting I’m not sure that I understood the Riesling fascination.  But I think I have since gotten it.  These are wines that when at their best possess an array of tantalizing aromas.  They are incredibly versatile in their food pair-ability.  They can run the gamut from bone dry to thick, rich & sweet.  They come from a cool climate region so they generally have a fair share of acidity – necessary to balance the residual sugar found in many Rieslings.  And as I have learned from the library table at these tastings, Rieslings can have very long lives.

While I tasted a ’97 Spatlese & 90 Spatlese that I thought had hints of oxidation, I also tasted Spatlese from ’90, ’91, ’97 & ’98 that I found to be incredibly youthful.  The library table also had Auslese, beerenauslese & a trockenbeerenauslese that kind of blew me away.  Sure these are not chugging wines (which wines are?), but the assortment of smells and flavors really is mind blowing.  My favorites were two Auslese.  The 1995 Mo-Rhe-Na Mosel Auslese had a deep lemon color bursting with aromas of honey, lychee, and other exotic fruit.  It was nicely balanced by a lively and youthful acidity and a finish that lingered quite pleasantly.  My other favorite was the 1992 Weingut Pauly-Bergweiler, another Mosel Auslese that was golden in color, and it too possessed exotic fruits, to go along with floral and bubblegum aromas and flavors.  Once again a wine that despite its age, was crisp and lively and showed no signs of slowing down.

So the next time you are out picking up Sushi, Thai or Indian takeout for dinner, stop by your favorite wine shop and grab a bottle of chilled Riesling.  I’m quite confident that you will love the way the wine cools the heat of the spiciness while cleansing your palate with its clean crispness.

Happy Riesling Wine Tasting!


Riesling & Co. NY 2009

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

I had the good fortune of attending the NY Riesling tasting organized by the wines of Germany.  The tasting was held this past Wednesday at the Tribeca rooftop in downtown NYC.  In attendance were wineries primarily from Germany, but there were also a few reps from Alsace & Austria.  I tasted wines made of Weiburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Rivander (Muller-Thurgau), Grauburgunder (Pinot Grigio), Chardonnay, Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) and of course, the star of the show RIESLING…

Riesling is a grape that I am still trying to figure out.  Sweet wines are often mocked in the wine world and not taken seriously and just about all Rieslings contain a fair amount of residual sugar.  Ranging from about 3-6 grams of RS (grams of residual sugar per liter) for the “dry” wines up to 120 grams of RS for the sweet, late harvest Auslese’s.  However it is the balance of a fine Riesling, its harmonious relationship between acidity & sweetness, combined with its sensual bouquet that I think is what has led to its cult varietal status.

Apparently over 50,000 acres or 60% of the worlds 85,000 acres planted in Riesling is grown in Germany.  Riesling, according to AC Nielsen, is the fastest growing white wine varietal in the US for the third staright year, with consumption growing by about 25% the past two years.  Riesling, in its different styles is a very versatile food wine, and of the 76 wines I tasted there was not (in my opinion) a bad wine in the batch.

Having stated all the positive I must now confess that I was not blown away at this tasting.  Last years Riesling tasting contained some older vintage wines and tasting the wines at 5, 10 and 20 years of age was eye opening, proved the cellar worthiness of these wines, and well…blew me away.  This tasting focused primarily on wines from the 2008 vintage.  The wines were fresh & refreshing.  They had lively acidity and nice fruit.  Many of them were kept in large ice buckets and the resulting COLD temperature made it difficult to properly assess their bouquets.  But overall not much that I would call UNUSUAL or that really stood out to me.

Given the state of our economy or at least the state of wine purchases in and around NY I was interested in finding some value wines.  And when I happened upon the Kendermann table and some friendly and familiar faces from last year I was happy to hear that many of their wines have a suggested retail price of $9.99.  All of their wines were tasty and refreshing.  The packaging is clean and modern.  And everything from their Riesling & Gewurtztraminer to their Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir, at $9.99 present excellent value for the price conscious consumer.

Of the others I was getting less of the cotton candy or bubble gum that I often get in a good Riesling and where I was able to pick up the aromas I was getting more floral notes.  I wonder if that has anything to do with the vintage or if it is more a reflection on the temperature of the wines.  I can see the appeal of the drier, crisp wines as good food wines, but several of them seemed to have tart or even bitter flavors.  Finally,  I was once again amazed at the acidity in some of the sweeter Kabinetts (~40 g RS), Spatlese (~80 g RS) & Auslese (~120 g RS).  That acidity really makes these wines lively, where their inherent sweetness could otherwise have made them cloying or flabby.

In all it was a nice tasting.  Maybe not the best, but there were certainly some very nice wines, some terrific value wines, and some producers seeking US reps whose wines I have not written about as in the coming days I will be speaking with and encouraging clients/colleagues to consider the possibility of importing some of their goods.

Happy Riesling wine tasting!


Chambers Street wines follow up

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Ahhh, what a day. Made my way to Yankee Stadium this afternoon during what is the final season at the original Yankee stadium for a game against the Anaheim Angels who have in recent years dominated the Yankees. The Angels won the first two games of the 4 game series and the Yankees won yesterday. So today the Yankees needed a win to salvage a split of the 4 game series. Things started off poorly as the Angels jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Seemed like the beginning of another long afternoon at the stadium. But a solo HR by the newest Yankee; “Pudge” Rodriguez followed by some timely hitting by another recent Yankee acquisition, Xavier Nady and the stadium was rocking as the Yankees managed 8 runs over three innings to take an 8-5 lead. Two outs into the top of the 8th inning and things seemed great as Yankee reliever Edwar Ramirez was cruising. But in the blink of an eye the Angels loaded the bases and New Angel Mark Texiera hit a grand slam – Angels lead 9-8. On this day however Xavier Nady was not done and a 3-run homer plus some other clutch hitting and the Yankees scored 6 in the bottom of the 8th to retake the lead, 14-9, that would prove to ultimately be the final score.

Yankee wine

Following a great baseball game I went to the gym for a quickie workout and then went shopping to pick up some stuff for dinner. Quinoa with mushrooms. A salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, hearts of palm & yellow corn. And for the main, a pistachio crusted tilapia. (more…)

Riesling & Co. World Tour 2008

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Riesling 08

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I went to the NYC Riesling tasting at the Tribecca rooftop. A beautiful venue right off Hudson Street near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, the Tribecca Rooftop provides a great escape from the hectic nature of NYC. The tasting had 39 official tables, in addition to an Austrian table, a French table and my favorite, the “1990’s: a decade of German Riesling” table. (more…)