If any of you follow my column, you know I am a big fan of Riesling. As many of you are still suffering in the heat of the Northern Hemisphere, I could not be so cruel as to give you a top, bests list with a bunch of reds. So to send you cool, refreshing and fruity thoughts, here is the best of some perhaps what will be very soon, sought-after Rieslings. Some of these lovelies are from a recent harvest or already have some age on them. They are ready to drink now or in the next few years. So, if you don’t have a wine chiller ready, get one, and stock it, maybe plan some dinner parties just to celebrate this wine!
It’s got a little bubble, what the German’s refer to as spritzig. Though it will dissipate, you will still be left with refreshing aromas of apricot and spring flowers and hints of lime. Don’t think you have just come upon a delicate white wine, this one has presence, with flavors of white peach, slight minerality and fresh pears and crisp apples.
Hugel Riesling, 2005 (Alsace, FR.)
This is one of my favorite labels. I often pick up wines from Hugel to sip on with an anti-pasta platter or a light lunch. If you have a dinner occasion to attend at a friend’s or even boss’s house, take along this bottle. No one will be disappointed, as it will please any sweet wine lover, people who know little about wine, and even the connoisseur. If some French perfume company took on a project to make a scent which smelled like this wine, I’m sure it would be popular. The layers of tropical fruits, honey suckle with a balance of white pepper spice is exotic. The balance is perfect with many of the fruits on the nose presenting themselves on your palate, finishing with a hints of warm spice and stone fruits. Though it is a dry wine, there is a definite sweet perception.
Franz Hirtzberger Riesling Smaragd Hochrain, 2010 (Austria)
The grapes of this wine have originated from only 12 hectares of world-class fruit. There has been some fast-growing popularity over this label, especially in the UK. If you consider yourself a seasoned Riesling drinker, or perhaps you’ve only just discovered your love for it, this can be purchased in a magnum and a double magnum. The lively spritzig gives the wine a lot of lift, almost freshening up the notes of dried apples and stone fruit. There is a hint of classic flintyness and spiciness. If a wine could have a picture perfect finish, then this wine does. It lingers, soft and meek with some spice and fruity aromatics.
This is one you would be more than happy to enjoy now, but you can definitely cellar it for a bit more. It comes from one of the region’s (Leistenberg) late harvest, so the residual sugar, with its acidity will allow it to keep for probably another 10-15 years. Maybe grab a case just for the fun of it to watch it develop. Drink now and you will experience Honeycrisp apples, that last drop of warm tea when the lemon and honey have mixed together at the bottom of your cup, orange zest and some mineral notes. This is a fuller bodied wine, so don’t be surprised if it coats your mouth like a rich blanket. Give it a second and the acidity will lighten up your palate. Please, enjoy…Oh, you are welcome.
Donnhoff H. Riesling Spatlese Nahe Norheimer Dellchen, 2003 (Germany)
The Donnhoff Dellchen Riesling is very characteristic of the German land from which this wine originates. The earthiness and slate come through with some hints of Jonathan and Pink Lady apples and of some just-barely-ripe apricots. A medium bodied wine with some punch. When you come home with your purchase of a couple bottles, leave one behind on your kitchen table before you head down to the wine cellar with the other.