This time last year, I’d quit my job and was relocating to Hove to start a masters degree at Plumpton College in Viticulture and Oenology. I couldn’t wait to get stuck in, it was all so exciting. And it was also really exciting to have time without working. So much free time. Maybe too much. So how was I planning to fill my summer? The best way I could think of was to get in my car and drive around some of my favourite wine regions: the Mosel, Alsace and Champagne.
So off I went in my mini. My boot got full pretty fast, and I filled a few notebooks with tasting notes. The timing worked in my favour, as I came across a wine tasting in the village of Piesport, in the Mosel region, Germany. It was a walking tasting, which took me through the vineyards and through 150 local Rieslings. I tried everything. There were really austere, acidic and fresh wines full of lime; delicate floral subtle wines; piercing wines, tropical wines, smoky, herbal wines, some with petroleum, and a range of sweetnesses. I fell in love. Some of my tasting notes got a bit…passionate. But the spectrum is broad:
1998 Kabinett “YES. Lime and preserved lemon, soft but good acidity. Something unusual, like smoky charred aubergine - I swear”.
1971 Beerenauslese: “ground ginger, dill, smoky, charred apricots, stony with just a hint of petroleum… Dreamy.”
1998 Kabinett Halbtrocken: “Sweet Jesus. Key lime pie, with fresh lime, lime cordial, lime zest, rowntrees lime pastilles... did I mention the lime. And some petrol.”
I’ve always loved Riesling. It’s expressive and full of character. The beauty comes from the balance between the grapes acidity and sweetness. Too much acid with not enough sweetness makes for a piercing, sour wine; excess sugar without acid is flat and cloying. The wine also reflects place, as the soils and climate have a huge impact on the development of flavours, which means there’s a Riesling for every occasion. And it gets such a bad rep - thanks, Blue Nun.
For the duration of July, we’re focussing on the grape, and the 31 days of Riesling campaign, to show you how absolutely fantastic it can be. Expect wine flights, daily specials, and a couple of tastings. We’re stocking tonnes more bottles, from different areas and producers. Our wine list has grown, just like our wine lust.
To get you started, look out for the German rose Sekt coming later this week on the sparkling list. A perfekt (!) aperitif, with peachy, nutty and floral aromas. Selling fast, we also have the Heart Goldtropfchen Kabinett with amazing tropical fruit and a piercing acidity, with depth and an enduring finish from a single vineyard around Piesport, a region I’m very familiar with.
For a bit more reading, have a nose here: http://winesofgermany.co.uk or come in for a chat.