Sweet white wine drinkers… this is post is for you! And hey! Yeah you, red wine drinkers who think you don’t like sweet whites enough to keep reading! I recommend you read-on, Reader (as my 5-year old niece would say). In his book, “The Wine Lover’s Cookbook”, Sid Goldstein says about rieslings…
“Riesling is one of the less-appreciated grape varietyals in the Western world. Considered one of the world’s great white wines since the nineteenth century, Riesling currently enjoys precious little popularity among American wine drinkers.”
Let’s add some worldliness to our palettes, and a little precious popularity to this wine while considering its potential delights!
Divine Wine: Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling, Mosel, Germany
Price: Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling, $35-40, Dr. L Riesling, $15-20
Wino Assessment: So I was preparing for a dinner party one day and had planned to make a recipe out of Karen MacNeil’s cookbook, “Wine, Food, & Friends”. The dish was a pork tenderloin with nectarine-apricot sauce and it recommended the meal be paired with the Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling. So I mosied on down to one of my favorite Phoenix wine shops (Sportsman’s) in pursuit of a riesling that may serve as a decent substitute for this pairing recommendation. After all, I never thought that of all the gazillion rieslings that are on the shelves out in the wine world, that I’d come across THE WINE that Ms. MacNeil recommended in her book. Especially not at this small wine store that probably carries only a dozen rieslings in total. But, much to my giddy delight, right there on the riesling shelf was THE WINE…. Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling. Now I don’t often go spending over $30 for a bottle of wine… but how could I go on knowing this wine was sitting on the shelf at my local wine shop and recommended by a world famous wine expert with the dish that I was making that evening for dinner? I couldn’t. So in my wine bag it went, along with that winery’s less expensive riesling.
There’s no doubt about it. This wine is sweet. Rieslings have their own classification/style designation that indicates their level of sweetness. This one is a Spätlese, which is one of the drier rieslings. But to me, and to the other Winos around the table, this wine still tasted very sweet. What was interesting to me was the complexity of the wine despite its sweetness. While almost like liquid sugar, it also maintained a sort of crispness that reminded me of honeydew melon. There were lots of soft peach and apricot flavors in it as well. So while I ordinarily don’t love sweet wines, I feel that this one piqued my interest in sweet white wines, especially when paired with the right dish. The Dr. L Riesling was also sweet but seemed to have more of that crisp fruit flavor to it. Both went down very easily!
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes: I couldn’t find many tasting notes from the winery itself, but here are tasting notes from www.wine.com:
“Peach, mango and a hint of honey on the nose. The sweet, but austere peach flavor with its subtle spiciness is highlighted by the slate. Well-balanced, extremely elegant and nicely persistent.”
The Dr. L Riesling is described by the winery as:
“Citrus blossom, lime, and crushed stone aromas are followed by apple and citrus flavors in this just-slightly-sweet wine.”
Again, perhaps relative to other rieslings, both of these may not be terribly sweet. But if you pick up a bottle, expect it to be a sweet white wine with lots of citrus and melon flavors.
Diving Wine Bite: Riesling generally pairs well with sweet or spicy dishes. That goes back to the pair sweet wine flavors to sweet food flavors, or complement the spicy factory in a dish with the sweet wine. So rieslings tend to go well with Asian or Latin dishes. As noted above, I enjoyed this wine with pork tenderloin with the nectarine-apricot sauce, which included some jalepeño. This sweet flavors in the sauce aligned nicely to the sweet flavors of the wine, while the spicy factor with the jalepeño served as a contrast to the riesling. It was a great pairing!
Give either of these bottles a try! Let me know what you think! And let me know if you have other rieslings that you’ve enjoyed!