The concept of selecting wines seasonally is a great one and an approach that I highly recommend. However, even within a class of wine, pairing food seasonally is also a way to bring more joy from a certain bottle. For instance, let's look at Riesling. I always serve it cool, not cold, which would seem perfect for the summer. However, it is wonderful in the fall and winter with classic hearty German fare. Even though our Memphis summer has been fairly mild so far, I'm not really in the mood for a heavy plate of Weiβwurst und Spätzle. When it's hot outside, I love the combination of Riesling and spicy food with lots of fresh ingredients, so those tall thin bottles get opened up in the presence of Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, and Japanese food. Even Mexican, though more along the lines of ceviche and bright coastal fare rather than goopy Tex-Mex. The chiles play nicely with the sweet or dry grapes, and the low alcohol provides for light refreshment.
Here are four bottles that I've had the opportunity to try recently:
2010 G.H. von Mumm Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland Riesling Trocken
$13, 13% abv.
This bottle has an overall profile of light pear elements. Good acidity with a dry and crisp finish. The wine has a big enough body to stand up to heavily spiced dishes, so I had it with a lamb vindaloo.
2012 St. Urbans-Hof Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett
$22, 8% abv.
Gentle ripe apple aromas with an earthy undertone, slight sweetness, low acidity and a round mouthfeel. I found it absolutely delightful with sushi and gyoza dumplings.
2012 Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Riesling
$20, 10% abv.
Dark aroma of honey and jasmine, medium sweetness with a little lemon on the finish. This one was a natural match for a bowl of phở tái bò viên with lots of crushed basil.
2012 Alexander Laible Riesling Trocken Chara
The fourth bottle was sampled on its own but had a fascinating nose of quince and herbs. Dry and tart with a mineral finish, it represents a very Old World style and is one of those wines that you keep coming back to in order to pick out the complex aromas and flavors. Highly recommended.
Note: These wines were provided as samples for review.