Riesling: pure, accoustic taste | VailDaily.com

Riesling: pure, accoustic taste

Cassie PenceVail CO, Colorado

BEAVER CREEK – Riesling winemakers like to say that they’re in the fruit business, not the wood business.It’s a jab on chardonnay producers, referring to the practice of using wood barrels, and other tactics, to extract flavor.”Riesling is one of the purist and most noble of all white grapes,” Anthony Dias Blue said. “A lot of people stopped drinking riesling after Blue Nun because they thought it was always sweet. It’s not the case. The great charms of riesling is its elegant and light.”Blue, a wine, food and lifestyle writer, hosted a seminar on riesling Friday at Foxnut in Beaver Creek. It was part of the Beaver Creek Wine and Spirit Festival his company Blue Lifestyle organized. The eight rieslings tasted at the seminar were winners at the San Francisco International Wine Competition and proved that riesling can encompass flavors far beyond sugar sweet.The J.L Wolf Pechstein 2002 Riesling made in Pfalz, Germany, for example, was rich with hints of vanilla. It was an aged riesling, which smoothed out its acid-sugar characteristics. And the Spy Valley 2005 Riesling, produced in Marlborough, New Zealand, was tart and tasted of lime.Accompanying every wine was a lesson in geography, as Blue described the region the riesling was produced and how the weather and the land affect the grape growing.”Dr. Loosen has to hire workers with one leg shorter than the other,” Blue joked, referring to the steep slopes on which he grows his grapes in Germany. Loosen’s rieslings, some produced in Germany and some produced in Washington, were among the best.Here are the eight we tried and a tidbit on each provided by Blue:1. Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss, 2005 Andlau Riesling, Alsace, France – grown biodynamically, very smooth not too sweet2. Chateau Ste. Michelle 2006 Saint M (German riesling my Dr. Loosen), Pfalz, Germany – “The nervey tension between the acidity and sweetness lifts the wine up and gives it an energy.”3. J.L. Wolf 2002 Riesling Pechstein, Pfalz, Germany – Older wine whose sugars and acidity is becoming more of a whole.4. Snoqualmie Vineyard 2006 Riesling, Columbia Valley – Won best riesling in the San Francisco International Wine Competition and sells at a mere $7.5. Spy Valley 2005 Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand – “This wine is stretching its legs with a racey acidity.”6. Chateau Ste. Michelle 2006 Cold Creek Vineyard Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington – Grown behind the Cascade Mountains which blocks the weather creating optimal conditions. Washington folks call it the “rain shadow effect.”7. Chateau Ste. Michelle 2006 Eroica, Washington – “A riesling with a German sensibility brought to bare on Washington State grapes.”8. Dr. Loosen 2006 Riesling Kabinett Bernkasteler Lay, Mosel, Germany – Elegant, beautiful with a feminine quality.Cassie Pence is a freelance writer based in Vail. Contact her at cassandrapence@gmail.com.

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