A Cool Breeze of Riesling by Rick Riozza
Summertime . . . and the living is . . .well—a bit slower. It’s hot out there, so it’s not a bad thing to take some time to try out some new or different light-bodied wines.
In our previous columns—which you can go to on-line at coachellavalleyweekly.com ( click on Vino Voice ) to catch up on—we covered some of the summer-type wines that include the un-oaked charms of Chardonnay and the season’s take on Sauvignon Blanc. We’ve also gone in and out with the bubblies that include a Rosé Cava and Prosecco.
One of the most delicious wines of the world is Riesiling [Ree-sling]. This white grape seems to have originated around the Rhine area of Germany where, in my opinion, production there still reigns as the most sublime Riesling—a racy elegance that no one, anywhere, can imitate.
There is great art in liquid when a vintage Riesling exquisitely balances fine acidity to an impressive and understated sweetness. It’s been said that, in wine, sweetness without acidity would be flat or flabby, and acidity without sweetness would be sharp. In a great Riesling there is the fusion of the grape’s fantastic essences intertwined within the “unfashionable” ingredients of acid and sugar.
Because these German vineyards are located so far north, ripening, when it happens, brilliantly maintains its foray of flavors with low alcohol levels. Indeed! This is the white wine for our luncheons and patio parties here in the desert. It may be hot out, but you’ll definitely be considered “cool” serving this refreshing, thirst-quenching quaffer.
When autumn comes round, we’ll discuss the sweeter more complex versions of this grape for holiday fare, but for now, we are on the lookout for a Kabinett [KAH-bee-NETT ].
I remember the first time trying the German Kabinett, we were all a little skeptical. Back in the 70’s there was a plethora of limpid Liebfraumilch that a few really liked because of its cloying sweetness, but, it was sold in a cool ceramic tower of a bottle with black cat German art and writing.
So when I ventured into a case of Kabinett, the white wine world opened up—imagine rose petals, green apples, citrus, apricots, stones, steel, and light herb spices. And as these tasting notes reflect, there’s a natural fruit sweetness going on, but it is still considered a “dry” wine that, again, is balanced beautifully with acidity that wakes up the palate.
This light bodied wine is crisp, juicy—rich in texture. Served at around 45 to 50 degrees, it pairs wonderfully with salads, Asian cuisine, chicken, fish, Mexican meals, pork, seafood, and vegetables.
If you’re familiar with a Kabinett—especially ones from the Rheingau, Mosel, Nahe, or Saar regions, this discussion may cause your mouth to water, and hopefully, gets you out to the wine shop to rekindle those great taste memories. For those yet to try a German Kabinett, I assure you, it will bring a smile to your brunch and lunch crowd.
Currently, the The Wine Bar at Old Town, 78015 Main St.#109 La Quinta Ca. 760.564.2201 is offering the delicious 2010 Dr. Loosen Blue Slate Kabinett for around $24. Ken’s Wine Guide.com states: “This white gold colored Riesling opens with fragrant and inviting lemon-lime bouquet with a hint of wet stone. On the palate, this wine is light bodied, a little effervescent and slightly acidic. The flavor profile is a tart green apple with a hint of lemon and minerality. The finish is mildly sweet and lingers nicely.”
The winemaker adds: “It is bright and pure with the classic white peach fruit and floral, flinty minerality that is so typical from blue slate. A plush attack on the mid-palate leads to a deliciously firm, delicate finish. This wine makes an elegant aperitif and is an excellent match for seafood, spicy Asian cuisine and lighter dishes.”
What an exciting light-bodied white wine! If you treat yourself to at least one scrumptious summertime quaff, this is a great choice.
Here’s to keeping cool! Cheers!
Rick continues to host corporate & private wine tastings and consults on wine for special engagements. Contact winespectrum@aol.com