Wine sellers adore Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Years. This is when non-wine drinkers drink wine, increasing store sales by as much as 25 percent.
If you are a wine neophyte intimidated by the coming season, we are here to help.
Riesling is “noble grape” that doesn’t get respect. It offers opportunity to pour a “who knew” at your holidays banquet.
Because of cheap stuff pumped out in 60s, many think riesling is insipidly sweet swill. No. The International Riesling Foundation created guidelines for their wines: dry, medium dry, medium sweet, and sweet. Options reflect riesling versatility and its marketing problem—what exactly is it? When made with skill and respect, riesling really rocks in all its styles. You should give it a try.
Riesling is among most planted white grapes—maybe third—and easily most planted in colder climates. It thrives on flinty, deeply sloped German river valleys and similar geography in New York state’s Finger Lakes regions and parts of Washington state. Those locations allow makers to produce wines that famously hold acidity while retaining fruit, a must for good food pairing. Riesling pairs well with dryness of turkey meat.
New York producers recently generated a series of “virtual tastings” by providing wine writers samples and inviting them to Tweet tasting notes on Twitter. Deliciously enjoyable, not just because bottles were free. The Finger Lakes region is south of Lake Ontario, west of Syracuse, east of Niagara Falls.
Many riesling producers include “doctor” on the label. Odd, but they often are better bottlings. Maybe a German thing, even for New York rieslings.
• Loosen Bros. Dr. L Riesling 2011. Clean, crisp, racy, rich; plush, creamy, reliable Mosel riesling; what doctor ordered for holiday ham and turkey. $11
• Pacific Rim Sweet Riesling 2010. Clean, lively pineapple-peach-grapefruit, spice; medium sweet, good acidity, bright finish, big winner from Washington state. $13
• Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling 2012. Great straw color; citrus, taut acidity, grapefruit, green apple; clean minerals on focused finish. New York; may be hard to get, worth the effort. $16
Last round: In spirit of good health, I’m having fruit salad for dinner. Well, okay, grapes. Well, okay, fermented grapes.