Thursday, June 26, 2008


Our Fort Thomas store manager, Sean Glossner, reports in on Riesling, without fear:


As I think back on many wines that I have enjoyed over the past few years, I find that one my favorite varietals is Riesling. Yes that right, I said Riesling. Don’t be afraid to say it either. It’s ok, really. It is by far one of the most misunderstood wines that we carry in the store. It has probably the widest range of taste, appeal, structure… etc of any white wine and most reds. It is the only grape that can be sweet enough to use as pancake syrup if needed, or so dry that you have to peel your tongue off the roof of your mouth after each sip. In most cases you can take a $15 bottle of Riesling and throw it in your cellar for 10-15 years it and will be drinking just fine if not better. Some higher end Rieslings have been known to last 50 years or more. Try doing that with Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. Riesling is usually just thought of as a cheap, sweet white wine. Blue Nun QBA or Piesporters come to mind at the mere mention of Riesling. Honestly ask yourself what your initial gut reaction is to hearing the word Riesling, or to the word sweet. A lot of people associate sweet with sugar. Sweet is also used to describe fruit flavors present in wine. While White Zin is sweet, Riesling has sweet fruit flavors. See the difference? Get ready for some educational content.

Along with providing some basic educational info, I want to give you readers some suggestions as well as food and cheese pairings. Riesling can be broken down into 4 main categories. We’ll start at the bottom and work our way to the top. QbA (which stands for Qualitatswein bestimmter Anbaugebeite), is quite simply just a very basic blend of grapes from varying appellations. Kabinett is made from grapes from the first harvest and usually tends to be a dryer style Riesling. Spatlese is made from grapes from the second harvest so they have been sitting on the vine a little longer and thus are slightly more concentrated resulting in a slightly sweeter (fruitier) and usually little more expensive wine. And last but certainly not least there is Auslese. This is made from the third harvest and has a very rich and concentrated flavor and usually a hefty price tag. Riesling tends to pair very well with fish and seafood dinners. They are also excellent with sushi and spicy foods. For all you cheese heads out there (no not you Packer fans) Riesling pairs beautifully with semi soft cheeses such as Brie, Port Salut, and Gouda. (All of which are available at LD Fort Thomas) For those of you ready to stand up to society and enjoy a Riesling with out feeling guilty, I recommend the Dr. Loosen “Dr. L” ($10.59). It is a QbA with a great bouquet and lovely notes of peach, honeysuckle, and slate. Those of you looking for something a little more special try the Donnhoff Estate Riesling 2006 ($17.69) or the Fritz Haag Riesling Spatlese 2006 ($24.89).

One last quick tip before I sign off, if you’re really worried about getting too sweet of a Riesling; simply look at the alcohol content. The lower the content the sweeter the wine. So if its dry you want look for something 10% or higher. Hopefully this becomes an inspiration to become your own person, who can openly order a bottle of Riesling and not worry what everyone else thinks about it. .

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