My family is one of those that likes sweet wine. Moscato, bubbles that give you cavities, and any other white wine that has more sweetness in it than a cheesecake is one that my grandmother is guaranteed to enjoy. At work, I’m also frequently asked what my favorite sweet red wine is. Therefore, I rarely buy them. Any responses I give to wine queries generally result in blank stares or a shake of the head. My friends don’t care about the work or the vineyard or the bottling date. They just want something that they like. Period.
That being said, despite my general desire to turn up my nose at anything too popular, I have a soft spot for Riesling. I’m a bit of an acid junkie (in wine, not in drugs), and I can find that in my favorite German grape. So a few months ago when #WineStudio’s focus was all on Karthäuserhof and Richter, two producers that Massanois Imports brings in for us Americans, I was into it.
#WineStudio, which I’m sure most of you have heard of many times through my blog, is still around and kicking. If there is one thing all wine enthusiasts can agree on, it’s that you can never know everything about wine. However, #WineStudio is here to help with that. Bringing together wine makers, importers, and drinkers, this twitter session occurs weekly, delving deep into the world of wine knowledge and tasting, and you never have to leave your couch to participate. Isn’t that the millennial dream?
Kicking off January the right way, the first bottle I opened was a refined wine that still hit my sweet tooth. This 2015 Karthäuserhof Riesling Ruwer lead with sweetness, yet still contained a freshness that kept the bottle from being cloying. Against the simple labeling, there was complexity within the bottle. The crisp green apple flavors and the touch of acid added more dimension to this option, and it’s one I would buy again. In an effort to really experiment with this grape, I played with my pairings this month. With this bottle, I went more traditional and ordered up some Chinese food. Playing against the fattiness of egg rolls, I was digging this, but it admittedly held up less well alongside the meatier pork dumplings. So, maybe save this one for the fried veggie options over others.
The second bottle I opened was the special one. The 2015 Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett from Richter was my jam. The persistent sweetness was balanced well by the forceful acid, and it all came together to sing beautifully with the salty Polish sausage I made for dinner that evening. Everything from the crisp pale gold color to the bold zingy flavors to the fresh lemon zest aromas reminded me of an episode of the defunct series Magic City. It wasn’t a balmy January day in Baltimore. I was in Miami in the late fifties by a pool. I count that bottle as a win. You could age this one until 2030, but you could also be like me and go after the pleasure now.
Stepping away from the sweeter first wines, with an bottle from Karthäuserhof I dove into more tropical territory. The 2011 Riesling Grosses Gewächs featured intense tropics including pineapple, with the acid factor coming up toward the end. There was nuance to it with just a hint of sweetness, although this wasn’t the bottle for me. While I can appreciate a nice vacation on the beach, tropical flavors are about as exciting to me as the idea of more Fast and the Furious films. Much like caramel, Snapchatting, and high heels, some people get the appeal, but I am not one of them. However, if that description makes your mouth water, ignore everything I’ve just said and go out and buy a bottle. Don’t listen to me. I’m just here to satisfy my own ego.
Demonstrating that not all Mosel wines are the same and that things like terroir, barrels, and the winery itself actually matter, we ended our session with the 2015 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett. Lemon rind, lime, and wet stone was found inside rustic looking bottle. This offered up a lot initially, neither being too coy nor too simple, and still lingered long enough. This didn’t burst with acid like I usually prefer, but the acid to be found balanced out the sweetness well. Light enough for a picnic or to pull out early on in a dinner party, this isn’t a bad one to consistently have on hand. There’s nothing wrong with a decent crowd pleaser.
As the weather gets warmer, or you’re craving something sweet, or you just want to enjoy a tasty wine, these Mosel wines are the ones to hunt down. They each have something a little different to offer, but they also offer up a universality that ensures everyone can find something to love inside each bottle. They’re ones that I would share with my friends who don’t “get” wine, but also ones I could confidently open up for my fellow winos. Heck, I may have just talked myself into opening up another bottle right now. Cin cin.