Riesling is Weaseling…its way to my heart 12/05/10
Obviously there’s no reason to drink wine if you’re not making other people feel inferior when you do it. So when I bust out a bottle I’ve bought right in my own back yard (Bucks County, PA – it’s where they filmed that terrible movie Signs), it had better be damn delicious: the kind of wine that makes people jealous I live in a state whose laws preclude my ordering from wine.woot (someday…).
Of the nine vineyards around which I’m fortunate enough to live, I’ve so far had a chance to try out four, and two have really impressed me: Sand Castle Winery and Crossing Vineyards. Today I’ll be reviewing the Sand Castle Johannisberg 2004 Dry Riesling, available for $18 if you’re close and sober enough to visit yourself, but with added shipping costs (and a two-bottle minimum order) from their website. Sucks to be you, almost everyone!
Riesling, Germany’s most popular grape, is my go-to white for parties and grad school classes: the cheaper ones (under $10) are generally on the sweet side and, therefore, generally crowd pleasers. If you’re a fan of that buttery nonsense found on the nose of a CA Chardonnay, you may want to avoid this varietal, because whether sweet, semi-sweet or dry; German, French or American, it’s rarely aged in oak. On the other hand, Riesling is one of few white wine grapes that can age gracefully after bottling, and at six years, this is actually the oldest white I’ve sampled.
In the glass the wine was a bright lemon yellow, a sign of its maturity (young whites tend to be clearer). At first aromas of green apple and honey dominated, giving way to notes of what I thought might be kiwi, then pomelo, then lime; or maybe – just maybe – all three. Oh, and if you’re still wondering what a pomelo is, you must be pretty new to this Internet thing, huh?
Light- to medium-bodied (not too thick, but not too thin), the wine tasted strongly of sour apple, with hints of other green fruit and great acidity. While officially a dry wine, this Riesling wasn’t too dry by any means, and had just the right amount of sweetness to balance out its tartness and 12.5% alcohol. Furthermore, I’m choosing to attribute my citrusy indecision to the complexity of the wine, and not to my virtually exclusive drinking of reds.
I award the Sand Castle Johannisberg 2004 Dry Riesling thumbs up, just shy of a perfect 10 because I can’t help wondering how a few more years might improve it. Make no mistake, I feel kind of dirty (and ever so trite) rating two wines so highly so early, but this wine really blew me away.
So there you have it, folks: an awesome red and an awesome white. Now buckle up, ‘cause it’s sure to be all downhill from here!