Monday, April 19, 2010

Let Me Talk Oeschle To You, Baby!

I'm going to over-generalize here, as I've been known to do a couple hundred times. Riesling is the least appreciated grape on Wine Planet Earth and I am at a loss to completely understand it. Well maybe not a total loss. Leave it to the Germans to make the classification system as complicated, verbose and consonant-laden as possible. It's almost as if there is a secret language to the wines that has no root system, an utter and complete vinous mystery that is purposely being perpetrated upon us and they're laughing. Those bastards are laughing at our ignorance. Hawk-ptoo! We're being spat at!

But it's not as cumbersome as you'd think and there is more to Riesling than Germany, residual sugar and the Oeschle scale. Let's stick with Germany for now, it's QbA wines--your garden variety basic Riesling from any region--are picked first, tend to have very little sweetness and are easy on the wallet. After that, if you see Kabinett on the label, its picked next, a touch sweeter. Then the Spatlese (my "sweet spot" for age-worthy killer wines that aren't super-expensive) and finally Auslese. As you go up the classifications, you tend to go up the sweet-o-meter, also know as the Oeschle scale or must weight measurer. And herein lies the issue. Somewhere along the line, the public got the ill-advised word that residual sugar in a wine is gross, repugnant, flat-out tacky and passe. "Who me? I only drink dry wines. Might as well drink White Zinfandel, you ignoramus, and while your at it, comb your mullet and enjoy that homemade sleeveless flannel shirt of yours, heathen!" And it actually is gross without that four letter word that I love so dear. You know...acid! Oh yeah, these wines have so much acid that sometimes I think there is a hippy in the bottle. It keeps the wines so fresh and so clean like Outkast and allows them to age gracefully like Raquel Welch. And let's not forget food. If you're going for Thai, Indian, Chinese, Ethiopian or just about any other lovely 3rd World cuisine, you better have a tall skinny bottle in tow. Oh, did I mention that most of these wines age forever too. Riesling is perfection, people!

But Germany is just the tip of the iceberg. World class Rieslings can be had from Austria and Alsace and a plethora a brilliant wines come from Australia, Italy, California, Oregon, Washington, New Zealand and South Africa. Even Tasmania, as evidenced by our outstanding Wine of the Month selection for April, the 2006 Moorilla Riesling. It's just off dry, has a touch of bottle age and is a shockingly wonderful example of the grape in its unabashed nakedness. Want to try this wine and many more covering the entire range of all Riesling can be? Just sign up for our 3rd Annual "Unbearable Lightness of Riesling" Festival Vol. 3 on Sunday April 25th at 252 Restaurant in Bedminster, NJ. It will be an outstanding day and it just might be the Riesling epiphany that you've spent your whole life searching for.
JCB the 4th

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