By Maggie Walters
Why Riesling will be your hero for food pairings this season.
First of all, I want to address the elephant in the room: Riesling. I feel like this wine has gotten a bad reputation and a misconception that this is a sickly sweet wine that rivals moscato.
To debunk this myth, let me introduce you to some amazing wines ranging from bone-dry and acidity-driven to a late harvest, all of which will pair well with a large spread of foods.
2013 Anne Amie Estate Dry Riesling, Yamhill- Carlton, Oregon
About this wine: Aged in stainless steel and fermented at a low temperature, this wine possesses a clean and crisp quality that refreshes the palate and keeps the mouth watering for more.
The nose reveals aromas of lemon drops, unripe peaches and kiwi. On the palate, the wine expresses candied lemon peel, key lime, and honey crisp apple with a wet river rock quality that shows off the minerality for which Yamhill is known. This is a bone-dry wine, so if you like a little pucker in your glass (hence the lemon) this is going to be right up your alley!
Why this mouthwatering acidity-driven wine is good for food pairing: Any food that is heavier and full of flavor will be refreshed with this wine. Look at it as a palate cleanser, getting you ready for the next bite (but much more enjoyable that eating spoonfuls of sorbet!)
2013 Eroica Riesling by Chateau St. Michelle & Dr. Loosen, Columbia Valley Washington
About this wine: One really unique thing that Chateau St. Michelle has done for this wine was team up with Dr. Loosen, who is a Riesling specialist/wine maker in Germany (home to some of the best Riesling in the world). Often, red wine makers are trying to create styles that mimic those found in France, with Riesling producers trying to mimic Germany. They have got it going on!
This is an off-dry wine that offers sweet lime, pear and tangerine notes on the nose, with hints of minerality.
On the palate, the fruit flavors of ripe pear and stone fruit are quite pleasant, and balance the bright acidity that follows. The balance of the riper fruit creates a less intense "pucker" sensation.
Why this balance of slight sweetness and predominant acidity is great for food pairing: Like the previous wine, the acidity present will provide a palate cleansing effect--but with the added ripe fruit characteristic, this wine will balance anything with added richness and spice. Think of this effect like a glass of milk, but much tastier! So if Aunt Martha gets a little over zealous with the red pepper flakes, or if you have done away with tradition, and Chinese/Indian/Thai takeout is your feast of choice, this will go amazingly well!
St. Urbans-Hof Goldtropfchen Piesport Spätlese
About this wine: "This radiant Spätlese is everything that a Mosel can and should be. The nose offers focused notes of stewed apples, apricots and Granny Smith, accentuated by wet stone. The same flavors are repeated on the palate with sweet, juicy fruits, refreshing acidity and silky slate minerality."- www.urbans-hof.de
Spätlese is from an even later harvest. The long, slow autumns of Germany allow the wine makers to leave their grapes on the vine longer, if the harvest and weather permits. I thought for the late harvest Riesling I would showcase a wine from one of the oldest wineries in Germany still in operation. This is a Grand Cru Riesling to boot! The amazing thing about Riesling is the ability to retain its acidity even as it progresses in ripeness, making it a great food wine all around.
Why this focused, refreshing wine is great for food pairing: This is a wine that will pair very well with foods that are a bit fattier and are accompanied with sweeter flavors. There are few wines out there that have the acidity to carry through heavier foods, yet the ripe sweetness to accompany dishes that are rich and slightly sweet (game bird and apple stuffing, anyone?). This time of year cherries are in season and are often featured with savory dishes, and when you really think about it so are roasted nuts, dried fruits, sweeter herbs (huge fan of sage), brown sugar in savory foods, and how about that maple glaze that goes over the ham? You get the picture.
On the other hand, if there are some foods that are too spicy for your liking, this will make the heat much more bearable!
I really hope I have inspired you to try some Rieslings and feature them at your table when you are entertaining and have a large spread!
Cheers! – Maggie
All sizes and vintages are in stock at the time of publication. In the event advertised vintages sell out, substitute vintages may be offered at the same price.