Another weekend of rain, has this been the 40th day/night yet this summer? I’m at home watching the Scottish Open in Scotland, particularly enjoying when the commentators whisper, “It’s a cruel game, cruel, cruel…”
I’m not a golf expert (at all) but it seems like a lovely, polite game and the bleak, spare Scottish landscape is stormy but dry making me long for my favourite whisky, Lagavulin 16 year old. And any sport where they smoke cigars, is my idea of a good sport.
This has been a week of Riesling, starting with dinner with Ernie Loosen on Monday, continuing every night, along with the rain. Which means, racing into the local Waitrose on the way home and finding something for dinner, to keep out of the downpour that tends to happen as I get off the train in the evening.
If I had known it was going to be so wintry this Summer then I would have written this post earlier. Is there any better wine for rainy Summer weather than Riesling? In fact,is there any better wine than Riesling, full stop. As I have been spending so much time inside Waitrose keeping out of the rain, I find I look on my phone for reviews as I don’t know any of their Rieslings well, other than Dr Loosen Urziger Wurtzgarten 2010 (which I highly recommend, Mosel to the mostest). It has an excellent balance of mouthwatering acidity – which I keep describing as sweet/astringent like citrus sorbet – and gentle lusciousness. As I’ve written in Diary of a Riesling Lover, it becomes a moment to reflect.
Each Riesling is like capturing raindrops. Here is the week’s roundup of Rieslings:
Safely inside Waitrose, the modern-looking Leitz Rudesheimer Rosengarten Riesling Kabinett 2011 (£11.99) grabbed my attention, if only because the shelf-talker mentioned it was from an up-and-coming producer in Rheingau and it also had a sticker winning a medal from the French magazine, Millau-Gault. (Hook, line and sinker – yes, I should know better). But I did not buy it, I put it back.
Not in the mood for being told what to do, after a day of work, I kneeled down to the bottom shelf and found 2010 Basserman-Jordan Pfalz Riesling (£9.99). It had the peachy and slightly off-dry (a confusing term, isn’t it – but enough sweetness to give it a nice texture, but not enough sweetness to have with something very sweet to eat). It wasn’t bad but after some of the spectacular wines on Monday night’s dinner with Dr Loosen, it seemed to lack a bit of complexity.
For an extra £3 I had bought one from the 3 last bottles of 2010 Kreuznacher Krotenpfhul Riesling Kabinett Donnhoff available on work’s inventory and it really was life-enhancing with spicy Vietnamese food. It is like a light display rather than a liquid. Of course, Donnhoff is incredible and in a league of its own.
The supermarket test: would I buy it again. I would buy Basserman-Jordan again if I wanted a low alcohol wine (10%) and it was a rainy evening. It was a gentle way to spend a few hours on a rainy Thursday night, much as having a game of golf on television in the background while reading a book. It’s very pleasant and gentle – like this soft drizzle English rain.
Of course, the next day I went back and bought the Leitz Rudesheimer Rosengarten Riesling Kabinett 2011 from Rheingau. Riesling tends to take on the accent from where it is grown (including Australia, Washington State etc) so Rheingau is a different beast again to Mosel, Nahe and Pfalz. It seems more solid, four-square and less ethereal. There is less of the acid acrobatics, more residual sugar, more exotic fruit. Like a mango has a full mouth-filling creamy taste. This has its own appeal. I liked it a lot, it was only 9.5% alcohol but, honestly, I need to get myself more organised and buy more German Riesling En Primeur. It takes a little bit of effort to plan ahead, but with German Riesling this is the serious way to buy it. Especially someone who is so geekily obsessed with the stuff.
Other Rieslings of note this week: 1975 Dr Loosen Wehlener Sonnehur, 2004 Schlossgut Diel Dorsheimer Burgberg Riesling Spatlese, 2007 Dr Loosen Wehlener Sonnehur, 2011 Prophet Rock Central Otago Riesling, 01 Von Schubert Maxim Grunhauser Abtsberg Spatlese. Plus others, which I’m sorry to say, because I was at dinner and enjoying myself, I stopped taking notes (bad, bad blogger! however, maybe a better host). Waves of good food from the kitchen at Mien Tay on the right and waves of good Riesling from the left, I was more than happy to go with the flow and enjoy it.
Images Blanca Gomez, Jamey Christoph