16 July, 2014

Riesling Summer School: Dry vs. Sweet German Riesling

Mosel Riesling grapes
The Summer of Riesling continues as we celebrate July's 31 Days of German Riesling.

Having just returned from Santa Barbara County where Rieslings are as beautiful as denizens of Manhattan Beach (and as rare as those specimens among the rest of us), it's fun to turn to two examples of German Riesling waiting on my sample shelf.  One trocken, German for dry, and the other Spaetlese, which is the second level of ochsle or sweetness level of grapes when they are picked. Literally don't fear the reaper on this as acid in German Riesling balances any cloying you would expect and makes the wine very easy to pair with food.

Starting with G.H. von Mumm 2009 Ruedishiemer Berg Rottland, Rheingau ($29): It shows aromas of  honeyed apple slices, though the wine is bone dry.  The mouth feel is silky and the taste is golden. G.H. von Mumm is the producer.  Started in 1811 by a Frankfurt banker named Gottlieb von Mumm, who gambled on Riesling and won with a bumper crop of good wine.  He combined his Midas touch for wine with his financial acumen and built a successful Weingut or winery that today produces delicious Riesling in the Rheingau region of Germany.  He is the same GH Mumm who founded the champagne house in France but after WWI was kept by France--a different kind of history in a bottle

Next I had the 2010 Max Ferd Richter Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spaetlese, Mosel ($20) Aromas of petrol and butter jumped out of the glass.  Spaetlese means that the grapes are left on the vines a week after they are ripe to concentrate the sugars and yield a sweeter must.  Magic happens in Mosel where the Wehlener Sonnenurh, or Wehlen's Sundial, watches over the vines.  The texture of the wine is silky and the sweetness of it will allow for interesting food pairings since you can use any of the pillars of wine pairing.  My favorite is the surprise of spicy hot wings or jerk chicken with sweet Riesling.  Weingut Max Ferd Richter boasts "Riesling since 1680" and the family has continuously owned the winery with the 9th generation at the helm and the 10th waiting in the wings to keep their delicious tradition alive

It was fun to compare and contrast the wines. I know sometimes here at Chez Brixchick, Riesling is a hard sell to those who don't drink sweet wine.  This makes it easy breezy:
1) Try dry Riesling.  It has a wonderful intensity and texture
2) Pair sweet Riesling with food. It stands up to spicy food, makes a natural pair with creamy sauces, and the texture can lead you interesting places as well

So I hope you will try some Riesling during the month of July.  For more info about places near you where Riesling will be highlighted, click here

If you are in San Francisco, you can develop a passion for Riesling at Dee Vine Wines where it's an Endless Summer of Riesling

Many thanks to the Wines of Germany who provided the samples

Dry or sweet

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