13 December 2010

The Latest Pair of Rieslings

Rieslings were one of the first wines I ever tried, and certainly among the first that I purchased legally in the United States when I turned 21. Part of that was leftover from German class in high school, part of it was my German-descended roommate at the time, but the biggest factor was the fact that something sweet, light, and inexpensive was perfect for an inexperienced palate. This is a good and bad thing, because people can end up avoiding Riesling for a few years before they discover the broad range of styles that are able to be coaxed out of a single grape.

This happens with other styles of wine: you start with fizzy, or pink, or sweet (maybe all at once!), and then move away from them for a few years. Later, when you know more about wine, you discover the joys of proper Champagne, rosé, and well-made dessert wines. It's the way that someone will consider Chardonnay a simple starter wine early in life and in retirement spend vast sums on vintage white Burgundy.

Recently I've had the opportunity to receive samples through Wines of Germany. I like their promotional strategy: send out two wines every couple of months, one sweeter, one drier, and typically in the $15-20 range. Here are the latest arrivals:

2008 Weingut Ökonomierat
Johann Geil I. Erben

Riesling Kabinett
Bechtheimer Rosengarten
$15, 9% abv.
Notes of green apple on the nose. These flavors follow through on the tongue. It's lightly sweet with a crisp finish. With only 9% alcohol, it's a perfect mid-afternoon wine with a late lunch, or something to go along with a salad course at a longer dinner.

2008 Weingut K.F. Groebe
Westhofener Aulerde
$17, 13% abv.
This wine bears the VDP eagle. Aromas of apricot and minerals. Nicely dry, with firm acidity and a floral aftertaste. I paired this one with a bacon-wrapped pork filet and some braised greens.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

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