Thursday, July 16, 2009

Riesling: foe or waste of time?

The title here is a feint. I was scribbling messages with a friend and wondered what might be interesting to talk about on this blog. His suggestion? Knowing my proclivities: "Riesling: foe or waste of time?"

Of course, I countered that the answer wouldn't make for a very long post: "Both."

Now, I try to be open-minded in my approach to wine. I will even go back for certain punishments just to make sure I really, really don't like a vinous thing.

Then I get all bombastic and pretend I have set-in-stone tastes.

Thing is, for all of my railing against riesling (there's been a bit of that, as well as passing off glasses to friends, liberal use of a dump bucket, &c.), I have in my day quite liked quite a few.

Since I have my very own personal palate issues with residual sugar, the rieslings that have managed to curry favor with me have tended toward the Austrian and Alsatian side.

Yet exceptions abound. Some older Germans: yum, who knew? Some nasty Clos Sainte-Hunes: need to replace my tooth enamel!

So, roll it all up into a ball, and say, well: both, and neither. The exuberant aromatics of riesling can be enormously appealing; the body can be viscous; I do like that petrol thing. But the riesling grape is not a reliable friend. It's a friend who sometimes kicks your dog and sometimes gives you a bunch of lilacs tied with a ribbon.

So I'll stick with the chardonnays and the romorantins and the grüner veltliners of the world. Until their green-blue corks start heralding premature aging and walnutty oxidation.

Then I'll have no recourse but chenin....


humba said...

Absolutely ... fabulous and scandalous...???...both !!! ... i got a very very bad english but yours is soooooo soulmoving !!! Thank you very much ! So well, i'm alsatian and i know the real riesling and i am really a "unconditionnel" of tht riesling. Clos St Hune is a celebrity...but is not the most "representative" of the good terroir-rieslingS that we have here in Alsace. Do you want to taste them ???

Anonymous said...

waste of time... i'll stick to chenin myself

Erica said...

The majority of Germany rieslings actually are dry -- the "problem" is that Germany exports much of their uber-sweet stuff (though this is changing, and we've started to see a better range of riesling coming from Germany). Anyway, I do want to point out that just because a wine has a bit of RS doesn't necessarily mean that it's poor quality. There are some delightful kabinet rieslings out there that shouldn't be undermined or underestimated. Cheers.