Thursday, May 31, 2012

Finger Lakes, Ontario, Michigan and Germany Face Off In Blind Riesling Tasting

May is Riesling Month and for Toledo Wines and Vines, it is a festive time. We love Riesling – and any excuse to raise a glass of this wonderful wine is quite welcome.

The wineries of the Finger Lakes are hosting the Riesling Hour Twitter tasting tonight (May 31) from 6:00 to 9:00 PM EDT. (Pop open a bottle of Riesling and use #FLXwine to tweet.) Unfortunately this year a conflict with a league tennis match means I can’t  participate

Have no fear – the TWAV tasting team got an early start and did a blind Riesling tasting to celebrate the wine we love – plus, it’s cool!

The wines were bagged in as blind a fashion as we could and our tasting team quickly assembled to enjoy the hospitality of Wine Chick and Sax Man. Eric and Linda (PsychDoc) joined Green Dragon and me to round out the tasting team.

The blind tasting bags have the letters “WINES” on them and so we began with the letter “W.” The wines were not revealed until all five had been tasted.

W – Light gold in color with a medium body. Starts with a burst of peach and citrus with a pinch of sweetness. Great balance. I would have been satisfied if this were the only wine I drank that evening. (Hermann J. Weimer 2009 Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes)

I – Light yellow in color with a massive fruit and floral bouquet with a hint of petrol. This wine has a full body and an unexpected sweetness. When I purchased this online, it called it an off-dry Riesling. Not hardly. But a sumptuous wine with the right food. Needs Gouda or some spicy food. (S.A. Prüm 2006 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Mosel)

N – Very pale in color, especially after “I,” and was pleasingly dry. A nice interplay of minerality and acidity. Citrus dominated the nose and flavor notes, but in an elegant way. (Ravines Vineyard 2009 Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes)

E – This wine was dancing on our tongues. The aroma was zesty, but it was closed on the palate. A smoother, lighter wine than the first three with the emphasis on minerality versus fruit. (Inniskillin 2009 Two Vineyards Dry Riesling, Niagara Penninsula, Ontario)

S – Lemon-lime swirls around this wine, which had lower acidity than the previous four. Tart and satisfying, but less complex than its alphabet brethren. (Lakewood Vineyards 2008 Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes)

Bonus Wine – Ever eager to be comprehensive in our wine tasting so we can share this knowledge with our readers, we delved into the back-up stock of wine and brought out a J Trees Cellars 2008 Dry Riesling, Michigan. We’ve lauded this as the best within 150 miles of Toledo. It was enjoyable, but on this night fell short of the distinguished competitors (which were all outside that 150-mile radius).

And the winner is… First of all, props for Sax Man, who was able to correctly identify all the wines before they were revealed.

The favorite of all six of the tasting crew was... the Hermann J. Weimer 2009 Dry Riesling. This really is what great Riesling is all about, nuanced flavors, crisp acidity and perfect balance wrapped into a glorious package. Bravo!

Pulling into second place was another Finger Lakes favorite, Ravines Vineyard, with its 2009 Dry Riesling.

The S.A. Prum Auslese was the least favorite, but that’s because it was a sweeter Riesling against an array of crisp dry wines. This is a proud German vino that should be served as an aperitif or with a properly spicy dish.

Happy Riesling Hour and Riesling Month from the Tasting Team at TWAV.

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