There’s no two ways about it: We are Riesling fans. The month of May is ours to celebrate this great white grape (at least according to wine growers in the Finger Lakes who declared Riesling month 60 days long!).
To celebrate, we put together a blind tasting of top Rieslings and put a tasting panel from TWAV to the test. Our wines included two from Germany, one from the Finger Lakes and one from Washington state.
Our lineup was:
Ravines Wine Cellars 2008 Riesling, Artsinger Vineyard, Finger Lakes, New York.
Chateau St. Michelle – Dr. Loosen 2008 Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington.
Loosen Bros 2009 Dr. L Riesling, Mosel, Germany.
Von Schleinitz 2008 Uhlen Dry Riesling, Mosel, Germany.
We used the cool blind wine tasting kit that I received as a birthday present. Each vino was designated W-I-N or E. The letter “S” was on standby in case we were still thirsty.
Tasting notes – Five point rating scale:
W - Ravines Artsinger Vineyard: Pale gold, some sheeting, pear and light floral flavor notes. Fruit and mineral approach and dry finish. Acidic and dry. -- 4
N – Dr. L: Color of pale lemon water. Sweet start and dry finish. Soft and fruity with crisp apple. Medium body. Pleasant mouthfeel. – 5
E- V.S. Uhlen: Golden straw color. Light floral perfume. Crisp with pronounced minerality. Club soda, floral flavor. – 4
When the covers were shed, there was some surprise. Eroica is considered by some to be the best expression of Riesling in the U.S. In fact it is the product of a joint venture between Loosen Brothers in Germany and Chateau St. Michelle. Dr. L is a non-estate wine, but the grapes come from excellent Mosel vineyards and the wine is a perfect expression of the mineral rich, stony soil. Uhlen is a Grand Cru vineyard in Mosel and one of the steepest in Europe. Of the four wines, this had the most mineral tone.
The Ravines Artsinger, available only to Ravines wine club members and made available courtesy of Jazz Man and Wine Chick, is a wonderful example of Finger Lakes Riesling at its best.
At the end of the evening, Dr. L Riesling was standing tall, but any of the four would make a great selection. Green Dragon and I enjoyed the rest of the Eroica bottle the next night and it seemed to exude elegance and balance.