Showing posts with label Mosel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mosel. Show all posts

Monday, October 2, 2023

German Riesling On A Budget

When I brought the Schmitt Söhne Riesling out of the grocery bag, the blue bottle caused my wife to say, 'What do you have there, Blue Nun?' No, but close. The wine is cited on the front label as being 'crisp and fruity,' and that is a fairly accurate description. 

The Schmitt Söhne winery has a line of five Rieslings, ranging from dry to quite sweet. This one falls in the middle. The Riesling grapes come from regions that will be familiar to fans of the grape - Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and Rheinhessen, mainly. This wine's alcohol level hits only 9.5% abv and the price sticker is less than $10.

This wine has a pale yellow tint once it's out of the blue bottle. The scent of stone fruit and honey dominates the nose, with traces of citrus minerality coming through. The palate has plenty of the fruit and enough acidity to make things interesting. The off-dry style is not a favorite of mine, but this wine would serve very well in a pairing with seafood or salad or as a sipper before dinner. 

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Selbach Riesling Dry 2006

The Selbach Riesling is a quality wine from the Mosel region, with grapes taken from the vineyards on the steep banks of the Mosel River.  It's described as a Kabinett wine in German wine terms, produced in dry style.  The alcohol content is 11.5% abv, so it's fairly easy to drink.  The wine came to the United States courtesy of Terry Theise, an importer and writer whose book, "Reading Between the Wines," has gotten a lot of fantastic press.  The bottle was listed at $14 when I picked it up earlier this year at a sale price of $9.

This '06 Riesling has enough age that the petrol smell for which Riesling is known is starting to come through.  There's a fairly nice scent of "gasoline on the water," which will be familiar to you if you've ever gone swimming near an outboard motor.  In fact, the scent is strong enough that it is clouding the fruit expression.

There's an herbal flavor profile and white fruit flavors that try very hard to compete with the minerality from the slate soil.  The minerality wins the battle.  The acidity isn't razor sharp, but there is enough zing there to provide a nice, refreshing Riesling experience.

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Monday, August 15, 2011


German Riesling at Wood Ranch at The Grove

German wines can be a little tricky for the uninitiated to navigate.  The names given to the various levels of quality in German wine can appear awkward and foreign to the eye of a novice.  Well, they are foreign if you aren't German.  They aren't awkward, though.  Except maybe trockenbeerenauslese.  That's probably why it's often referred to as TBA.

There are seven levels on the Pyramid of Quality in German wines, which you can see on the Schmitt Söhne website.  The higher on the pyramid a wine appears, they riper the grapes were when harvested.  It's not a measure of sweetness.

According to the Schmitt Söhne website, they believe most people see German wine as sweet, when, in fact, two-thirds of German wine are dry or very dry.

Schmitt Söhne is located in Germany's Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region, along the banks of the Mosel River in the little town of Longuich.  The Schmitt family has been growing grapes and making wine there for two centuries.

I had a glass of their Kabinett Riesling at lunch recently, at Wood Ranch in the Los Angeles shopping mecca known as The Grove.  This was on a day, as serendipity would have it, that a Norwegian men's choir was performing a few hundred feet away.  German wine and Scandanvian music: that's the international flair for which Los Angeles is famous.

Kabinett is the third level up on the Pyramid of Quality.  The Riesling grapes used in making Kabinett wines are fully ripe, and the alcohol level is usually fairly low.  This wine was $8 by the glass.

The wine is pale colored and served quite cold, so it was a little difficult for me to experience much in the way of aromas.  A slate minerality was about as deep as my olfactory sense could scratch.

The taste however, was very pleasing.  A medium mouthfeel carried lovely flavors of apple, peach, pear and cantaloupe.  The Schmitt Söhne Kabinett Riesling paired well with my New England clam chowder, which was creamy in a way I don't often have, as a guy trying watch his weight.  It was a splurge day.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Tasting Room Notes: The Wine Cellar, the Rio, Las Vegas

Very dark and full of wood and leather, The Wine Cellar at the Rio on Tropicana in Las Vegas is cool in temperature - natch - and the jazz is pretty cool, too.  Easy bebop from the likes of Miles and Charlie Parker really set the mood for a good wine tasting experience.  There are two dozen flights on the menu at $12-$79. Yes, $79.  That does sound like a lot, doesn't it?  Each flight offers  two-or-three ounce tastes, three to a flight.  I had the Riesling flight, "Sweet and Smooth." Here are my tasting notes.

1. Gunderloch Jean-Baptiste 2007 Kabinett - Sweet nose like honeysuckle. Tastes like peaches, melons.

2. Monchhof Robert Eymael 2006. Urzig Wurtzgarten, Spatlese - Smokey nose, like something on fire. No, like lake water smells near an outboard motor! Taste seems quite grassy and the sweetness has to struggle out. Very peculiar taste. But I like it.

3. Fritz Haag 2003. Mosel-Saar-Ruwer - Similar funky grassiness on nose. Reminds me of cutting grass - the exhaust from the lawn mower. Taste not sweet at all. Rather flat and burnt. Not very appealing to my palate, I'm afraid, but sort of interesting. Lacking acidity.

This was one of the more interesting tasting sessions I've had, and one of the most enlightening. If you are tired of the casino floor, simply walk down the stairs into The Wine Cellar. The hustle bustle of the gambling is behind you as soon as you go below ground level. I highly recommend The Wine Cellar to all wine lovers who find themselves in Las Vegas, looking for a respite.