Posts tagged riesling

Dry Riesling for Dinner: Experiences with Dr. Loosen’s New Wines

Though most people say they like dry wine, until now we haven’t been able to find that many good German dry Rieslings. This week I tried several, from famed Dr. Loosen. (They still make the traditional Rieslings too, don’t worry.) One evening, Luiz Alberto (@TheWineHub) came over and tasted with me.
I found that all the wines had good acidity and some finesse. We paired the wines with pork loin with gravy, accompanied by oven-roasted root vegs sparked with dried cranberries. Sweet and savory together. And this did interesting things to the wines – some better, some not.dr. loosen estate
Before dinner, my fave was the 2012 Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Alte Reben GG ($42) from the steepest of grand cru vineyards, planted with old vines known for their spiciness. It’s a big wine, with finesse and complexity, that feels fully mature even now. Though the official tasting notes mention tropical fruits, I found flavors reminded me of fruit leather made with stone fruit. This was accompanied by hints of baking spices on the mid- and end-palate and in the finish, too. In the end, I enjoyed this wine much more on its own than with dinner because the finesse got lost in these foods. So the next night I sipped the wine on its own: excellent!
Dr. Loosen’s 2012 Wehlener Sonnenhur Riesling GG ($42) was a bit milder, having been aged in larger, more neutral oak for a shorter period of time. This grand cru vineyard is blue slate, producing a wine with lots of minerality and acidity, and stone fruit flavors. This would require more delicate pairings than our hearty winter food – or perhaps with no food at all.
The 2012 Erdener Treppchen Riesling GG Alte Reben ($42) is from a grand cru vineyard on red slate, with old vines. Though the aromas were (typically) slight, the wine was a little sweeter, with flavors of candied grapefruit on the palate and in the moderate finish: a rather delicate wine — unfortunately too delicate to pair with our dinner that night. The next night it paired well with very simple crabcakes.
Then there was the youngest wine, the 2013 Reisling Dry “Red Slate,” produced in neutral oak with native yeasts, just as Ernie Loosen’s grandfather used to do. It opens ($18) with spritzy acidity, has ripe stone fruit on the palate and a longish finish. This wine ended up being the favorite of the evening, as it opened into an enriching match for the food – at a good price, too.
20150111_183815 Dr. Loosen dry

Black Box Wines: More to Like? Yes and No

black box pinot-noir-hamIf you’re like me and you want great wine at a great price, sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince. (Though, as a positive-type person, I don’t tend to write about most of the frogs because I like to concentrate on recommendations, not warnings.)
Anyway, when the Black Box Wines people asked me if I’d like to sample their wines, I remembered trying some good ones years ago. Between their samples and visiting friends, I’ve tried two whites and two reds in the past few weeks. What I like about all the boxed wines is that they really do last for weeks, since there’s no aeration to start degrading the wine quality immediately (which is what happens with wines in bottles). Also, each box contains the same amount as four bottles of wine, so there is some saving in $$ as well as in manufacturing and shipping.
But how are the wines themselves, you ask? I liked the 2013 Pinot Noir (around $20/box) because it’s what you would expect from a reasonably good California Pinot. Made with grapes from several California regions (78% pinot noir, 21% syrah, 1% “dry red” whatever that means), it has strawberry and cherry flavors augmented by some green leafiness, along with acidity and mild tannins — meaning that the wine pairs well with many different types of foods. A medium-long finish, too.
What about the Chardonnay, Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon? At various gatherings, people seemed to like them but I was unimpressed. They all lacked balance and complexity, and I, personally, would not go back for more. Stick with the Pinot Noir this season…

When You Don’t Want to Give up Summer Whites: Wines of Alsace for Dinner

When it has cooled off enough to go back into the kitchen, we’re thinking about cooking again. Maybe grilling sausages, roasting meats, even putting potato gratin back on the menu. But we don’t want to give up our white wines just yet…So here is the third of three suggestions about how to extend summer in your glass, during dinner.Alsace cork
We’re looking toward Alsace for the answer. A hilly region in the northeastern part of France, this area specializes in fine country-style cooking, with an emphasis on “fine,” from hearty meats to dishes with mushrooms and eggs, and even some freshwater fish occasionally.
Start out with a delectable sparkling Cremant d’Alsace – this region is near Champagne, after all – like the nicely balanced Albert Mann Cremant d’Alsace Brut 2011 or the pale rose NV Willm Cremant D’Alsace Blanc de Noirs Brut.
With eggs, mushrooms, grilled meat and fish, move on to two more whites like the light but complex 2012 Willy Gisselbrecht Pinot Blanc or the earthy 2011 Sipp Mack Pinot Gris. And if you can’t find these, go for a dry Alsace Riesling; I recently sampled the lovely, fresh 2012 Mader Riesling and the nicely developed 2007 Becker Riesling Grand Cru Froehn.
With a very light cheese in your cheese course, you might even stray into the classic rose-aromas of the 2011 Hugel Gewurtztraminer; stronger cheese can pair with a late harvest wine like 2001 Trimbach Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile Vendanges Tardives –as can a light tarte or cake if you prefer a sweeter dessert course.Alscace in mist

Wine for Chinese Take-Out

Earlier this year, I received 3 bottles of Pacific Rim Riesling. I took a clue from the Asian pictures on the labels, and immediately ordered take-out Chinese food. Which turned out to be the right thing to do. With the Asian spices of one dish and the sweetness of another, the Dry Riesling and the Riesling worked very well.
The third wine, Sweet Riesling, is really more of a dessert wine. It’s fairly uncomplicated, so try it with ripe fruit, plain cake or cookies (not chocolate).
Luckily, it took me a while to write about the wines. When I took them out again, I discovered the beautiful designs visible on the inside of the label when the bottles are empty.
Another great thing: the International Riesling Scale appears on the back of each bottle
Pacific Rim 2007 Dry Riesling, Columbia Valley ($9-$12)
Pacific Rim 2009 Riesling, Columbia Valley ($9-$14)
Pacific Rim 2009 Sweet Riesling, Columbia Valley ($8-$12)

Winetasting at 35,000 feet

I asked so many wine questions I had to come clean.
When I confessed to the crew of Singapore flight 25 I was going to the Singapore Airlines wine forum, an off-duty crew member overheard and took me through an impromptu wine-tasting at 33,000 feet — or whatever the actual altitude was. It was also 2:30 am, or perhaps 2:30 pm, depending on whether you’d changed your watch yet.
Anyhow, there I was with Faizal, who is a young and very polite air-sommelier-in-training. He took me through several whites and reds. In his experience, some wines become “dumb” or closed at high altitudes, showing much less aroma and flavor than the exact same bottle sampled on the ground. I’m hoping to find out more about this from Steven Spurrier and the other wine judges for Singapore Air in the next few days.
One of the best wines to drink in the air — especially with the spiced Thai dishes on the menu — is a Riesling from Balthasar Ress, 2006 Rudesheim Rheingau Spatlese. Its floral and fruit aromas wafted up pleasantly in the glass, and a bit of sweetness pairs well with Thai spices.Bouchard’s Beaune de Chateau 2006 Premier Cru was enjoyable with Western flavors including cheeses, though some of the aromas seemed lost in the altitude.
With hearty meat dishes, Faizal favors the Rive Barbera d’Asti 2006 Il Cascione or the Dry Creek Vineyard 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley. It was a treat for me to taste the Cos d’Estournel 1999 St. Estephe and we had an interesting discussion about what people expect from “older wines” these days. Twenty or 30 years ago, knowledgeable wine drinkers looked for these secondary developmental characteristics in “properly aged” wines; today’s consumers favor bigger fruit flavors from younger wines and perhaps don’t even understand how a wine does evolve over time because they never experience this.
Faizal and the whole crew regret recently running out of the Clos de los Siete 2007 cabernet sauvignon-malbec-merlot blend. Apparently this was a great favorite of passengers as well as crew.