Riesling enjoys a lot of praise and attention, especially in the wine geek/sommelier circles of the wine world. Honestly, I've never personally connected to the grape though many of the cool kids will quickly make sure you know that they LOVE riesling.
For sure I understand that there are great wines made of the riesling grape, that it does have the ability to translate 'terroir' into substance, but if I look at my personal collection at home or what I reach for off the shelf here in the shop to recommend, riesling almost never is my first choice.
So why am I telling you this? Why are we pouring German and Austrian rieslings (and a couple other things) if they don't inspire? Well, honestly...these few wines DO indeed inspire us. They leave us feeling fresh, light and more connected with this grape then ever. Frankly, as usual, it has to do with the producers of these wines, how they are making them and their perspective on this 'super grape'.
If you're already a riesling fan this is a great tasting to attend. But especially if you're a reluctant (like me) riesling skeptic this tasting is NECESSARY to attend. Don't miss it!
Oh, and also, we have a TON of great events coming up, please see the side bar and mark you calendars!
The What's So Special About Riesling Grown on Slate Lineup:
Hofgut Falkenstein, Riesling Sekt (Brut), Mosel, Germany $35 (limited)
Hofgut Falkenstein, Riesling Auslese, Krettnacher Euchariusber,$25
The wines from this very traditional producer in the Saar are what really sparked this tasting all together. We are pouring two, a rare sekt or sparkling wine and a delicate auslese. I'm going to essentially hand this over to Lars Carlberg for details, he's a guy we listen to when it comes to riesling (check out his website for some of the best information available):
"Erich Weber of Hofgut Falkenstein makes ultra-traditional, mostly dry-tasting Saar Rieslings. He likes to call himself "Winzer Weber." Winzer is German for winegrower. In other words, the emphasis is on the work in his vineyards. With his tan and rugged face, he looks the part, too.
Erich ferments exclusively with wild yeasts in old wooden casks in a deep, cool cellar, and most of his wines end up either naturally dry (trocken) or off-dry (feinherb). Falkenstein, therefore, is one of the rare Saar producers that specializes in distinctive, bracing, light, dry Rieslings, bottled traditionally by the cask."
Stein, Blauschiefer, Riesling Trocken, Mosel $20
An insane value this wine from Stein, a top notch producer that doesn't get much play up here in Boston, made us stand up and respect the grape just a little more. Blauschiefer means blue slate, the kind that these impossibly old vines cling to in the Middlemosel. This is truly dry yet balanced, telling of the concentrated 2012 vintage.
Tegernseerhof, Riesling Fererspiel 'Terrassen', Wachau, Austria $20
The contrast between German and Austrian riesling could not be more palpable as when you taste this directly after a flight of elegant yet dry-ish German wines. The Austrian's have a penchant towards power, tension and depth, especially in the Wachau. Steep terraced vineyards, soaring summer temperatures and brittle limestone soils all add up to a completely different, all together wonderful style. We've loved the Tegernseerhof wines for a long time, ask Katie about her visit there last spring!
Paul D, Zweigelt, Wagram, Austria $15
Make no mistake, liters of zweigelt are a dime a dozen these days. Finding one that's honestly made, tastes like pure wine and have no additives? That's where it gets tricky. This is a taverna classic, bright and fresh with a gentle peppery quality and brambly friut, an excellent vintage and great value of course.
Netzle, Carnuntum Cuvee, Carnuntum, Austria $23
Netzle tends to go for the deeper more concentrated style of red wine that is quite popular in the southeast of Austria. Here red grapes can get quite ripe and they have also added some Bordeaux varieties to the mix (cabernet, merlot, etc) to go along with their zweigelt and blaufrankish. Quintessential autumn wine that even the classic California drinker would appreciate.