Cellar Direct: German Riesling Powerhouses

3 11 2016

[These bottles were provided as samples for review purposes.]

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Serious wine, serious value.

You owe it to yourself to drink more German Riesling.  You may not know it yet, but you do.  I know the idea of turning to something German doesn’t conjure up the same (somewhat oversold) feelings of art or romance that something French or Italian might, but I’m here to tell you that startling clarity, absolute transparency and unfailing precision can be much sexier than you give them credit for.

And I know, I know – you don’t like sweet wine and all German wine is sweet, right?  Except (1) your palate may be more attuned to sweetness than you expect, and (2) no, no it’s not.  In fact, some German Rieslings are as dry as a bone, often helpfully highlighted by the label indicator “trocken”. A “trocken” designation doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be no residual sugar left in the wine, but any that remains will be minimal (9 grams per litre or less) and the wine will taste dry, thanks to a helpful assist from German Riesling’s often raging levels of scouring acidity.  Another hint of dryness in German whites is (relatively) elevated levels of alcohol, since this is an indication that the bulk of the sugars in the grapes have been converted to alcohol during fermentation instead of left in the finished wine.  Generally speaking, if it’s 10.5%-11% abv or higher, it probably won’t taste sweet (and frankly, even if there is some discernible sweetness, you will probably welcome it given how much else will be going on.  Trust me.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Wine Review: 2005 Wegeler Winkeler Hasensprung Riesling Spatlese Trocken

26 04 2011

Everyone needs a little Riesling in their life.

What better way to inaugurate popandpour.ca than with my favourite kind of wine?  This German Riesling was previously featured in this post from the PnP archives about how to decipher German wine labels; if you’ve read it, you now know that this Riesling from producer Weingut (“wine estate”) Wegeler is from the Hasensprung (“hare’s leap”) vineyard near the town of Winkel in the Rheingau wine region of south-central Germany.  It’s been classified with the Spätlese (“late harvest”) ripeness designation, meaning the grapes were picked at a slightly riper level than the baseline Kabinett level for top-quality German wines, but it’s also a Trocken (dry) wine, which means that there will be very little if any residual sugar left in it.  The word “Trocken” is a key hint on this bottle, because most Spätlese wines are at least somewhat sweet, but those stated to be Trocken definitely won’t be.  So before you deride all German Rieslings for being too sweet for your palate, take a closer look at the label! Read the rest of this entry »





Tips & Tricks: How to Decipher a German Wine Label

18 03 2011

In preparation for a special celebratory edition of PnP tomorrow, I thought that tonight I would run over the finer points of wrestling with German wine labels.  German wine is often a struggle for people, either because they often think that every German white on the shelves will be sickly sweet (totally untrue) or because they don’t feel like wending their way through 16-letter words with two vowels on the label (go figure).  I’m actually a huge fan of German wine labels because they provide what so few other Old World labels do:  information.  Once you learn how to decode them, you can tell a lot about your Teutonic wine before you even open it. Read the rest of this entry »








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