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The Most Versatile White Wine on Earth?

TombstoneShadow Jan 9, 2014 10:07 PM

The cover page of the October 2013 Food & Wine caught my eye with this headline: " The Most Versatile White Wine on Earth ".

The headline refers to an article titled "The Case for Riesling" by Megan Krigbaum.

As my many posts on riesling show, I'm a diehard fan of this luscious varietal and really welcome this informative article. Megan provides a tremendous backgrounder to the "wide-world" of riesling from the vast range of styles, terroir differences in it's many growing regions, pairing suggestions,etc.

In fact, she makes a compelling case that riesling is the world's most versatile and food-friendly wine period, not just white wine.

Highly recommended reading. I haven't located the article online but here are some excerpts: http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/w...

Links to suggested pairings: http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows...

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  1. ChefJune RE: TombstoneShadow Jan 10, 2014 11:31 AM

    I agree mostly...

    I don't want Riesling with Prime Rib, thank you.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune
      byrd RE: ChefJune Jan 14, 2014 12:12 AM

      Leftover Prime Rib sandwich, a bit of dijon/mayo with a Kabinett or Spatlese might work...

      1. re: byrd
        zin1953 RE: byrd Jan 14, 2014 07:39 AM

        Uhhhh, no.

        Years ago, I went to a tasting and dinner in Monterey, CA hosted by the producers of the Charta Estate Rheingau Rieslings -- see this NYT article for more: http://www.nytimes.com/1993/06/02/gar... Other attendees were wine buyers and sommeliers from the top restaurants in Monterey and Carmel, along with several winemakers and wine writers.

        The producers present included Weingut Eberhard Ritter, Edler von Oetinger, Verwaltung der Staatsweinguter, Schloss Vollrads, Furst Lowenstein, and Weingut Georg Breuer -- among others. There were at least 12-15 producers present, IIRC, perhaps more.

        At the tasting portion of the evening, the wines SHINED! They were outstanding. Truly.

        Then came dinner, prepared by a Michelin-starred chef who came over from Germany with the winemakers of the estates (all of whom were also present).

        The Sekt served with the mushroom soup worked . . . sort of. Riesling with the next two courses (a pâté, followed by a perfectly poached salmon) were beautiful pairings. But when they brought out the Riesling with the rack of lamb, I think we all struggled. Indeed, one of the winemakers leaned over to me and said, "Wouldn't you just kill for a Pomerol right now?"

        / / / / /

        Riesling *IS* one of the world's most versatile wines and, as I think we all agree, is seriously under appreciated in the US *and* across much of the world. Color me "guilty" -- I love Riesling, and I readily confess I often overlook it. (It's a bit like, "D'oh! I coulda had a V-8!") That said, I made a concerted effort and increased my Riesling consumption in 2013 over 2012, and everyone I served it to loved it.

        But I continue to draw the line at beef and lamb. ;^)

    2. Bill Hunt RE: TombstoneShadow Jan 10, 2014 07:19 PM

      In general terms, I agree about the versatility of Riesling, and rely on it for many "difficult" dishes.


      1. ChefJune RE: TombstoneShadow Jan 14, 2014 01:54 PM

        While I do agree that Riesling is probably the "most versatile white wine on earth," the extremely versatile white wine that nobody but wine geeks know about is Gruner Veltliner. :)

        6 Replies
        1. re: ChefJune
          zin1953 RE: ChefJune Jan 14, 2014 02:01 PM

          Depends, June, upon where you live. I dare say there is a lot more Austrian GV consumed here in California restaurants than there is German and Alsatian Rieslings combined.

          1. re: ChefJune
            TombstoneShadow RE: ChefJune Jan 14, 2014 02:15 PM

            Scheurebe also relatively obscure...

            The first time I encountered it I had byob'd several choice gewurztraminers to lotus of siam in las vegas around 1995 or so.... The owner's son took interest and asked if I'd ever tried scheurbe... Tried it? I never heard of it... just delicious with thai food and it comes off as a "cousin" in flavor to riesling and gewurztraminer.

            These are all great and versatile wines... riesling, gewurz, gv, scheurbe.... and killer matches with the right foods.

            1. re: TombstoneShadow
              zin1953 RE: TombstoneShadow Jan 14, 2014 02:56 PM

              Joseph Phelps used to make one when Walter Schug was still their winemaker in the 1970s.

              1. re: zin1953
                maria lorraine RE: zin1953 Jan 14, 2014 03:27 PM

                They still make it and call it Eisrébe.

                1. re: maria lorraine
                  zin1953 RE: maria lorraine Jan 14, 2014 03:51 PM

                  Thanks, ML

            2. re: ChefJune
              autumm RE: ChefJune Jan 15, 2014 09:09 PM

              I had a wonderfully happy week in Austria sampling all the Gruener Veltiner's I could, and I just love it. It plays so well with so many foods. I seek it out, but rarely find it outside of very well stocked wine shops in my area.

              A good riesling is always welcome around these parts. Cause it plays nice with almost everything. Some parings might not be optimal, but not "bad" especially for a wine novice

            3. Tripeler RE: TombstoneShadow Jan 15, 2014 06:46 AM

              To me, Riesling is from the land of extremes. Some of the best white wine I have ever had has been Riesling, and some of the worst. It really requires skilled winemaking, I suppose.

              Actually, in my experience, the same has been true with Viognier. But I always give it a try.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Tripeler
                TombstoneShadow RE: Tripeler Jan 15, 2014 11:15 AM

                Extreme white wine to my palate: chardonnay.

                When it's "on" there's nothing better for me... but most of it is average to mediocre unfortunately.

              2. linguafood RE: TombstoneShadow Jan 15, 2014 11:18 AM

                Riesling is the best white wine, period. Versatile, complex, delicious.

                1. Robert Lauriston RE: TombstoneShadow Jan 15, 2014 05:57 PM

                  I've had fine old Riesling Spätlese with beef and it was a great pairing.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    TombstoneShadow RE: Robert Lauriston Jan 15, 2014 10:20 PM

                    This is a very important point...

                    Kabinett, Spatlese and Auslese do have different pairing characteristics which seem to transcend the greater sweetness and really go to the flavor itself, especially in food pairing.

                    I notice it in pairing riesling with cheese... For my palate, Colby and Leyden pair better with SPatlese. Gouda pairs much better with kabinett.

                    Gruyere is "fair" with spatlese and verging on yucky with kabinett. Parmesan and spatlese has a funky quality... better but not great with kabinett. I find cheddar "bitter" with spatlese but almost enjoyable with kabinett.

                    The best match for both: emmentaler.

                    Back to the post on spatlese and beef... can't recall trying this pairing but I would not find it suprising that it matches significantly different than kabinett.

                    Riesling can certainly pair splendidly with beef sausages...

                    1. re: TombstoneShadow
                      john gonzales RE: TombstoneShadow Jan 19, 2014 03:47 PM

                      To me if one is combining sekt through TBA then one is considering the variety not the WINE. The wine would to me require choosing one type.
                      Anyway If I had to look at it as having one specific wine I'd choose champagne. If I could cheat and then include rose bubbly.

                      Personally, I don't care for riesling with red meat and I eat a good amount of it as an entree. I'd just as soon have pinot/burg with a white fish or as a cocktail wine, as I would try to stretch riesling through a red meat entree, unless it had a spicy/sweet sauce.

                      That's just me.

                  2. grayelf RE: TombstoneShadow Jan 16, 2014 12:29 AM

                    I know almost nothing about wine but when I read the title of the OP Riesling immediately popped into my head.

                    1. c
                      collioure RE: TombstoneShadow Jan 19, 2014 08:51 AM

                      I agree wholeheartedly.

                      About to order some Riesling (and Gewurz) from Château d’Orschwihr whose wines are mostly exported.

                      Anyone here have an opinion on Château d’Orschwihr?

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: collioure
                        TombstoneShadow RE: collioure Jan 20, 2014 12:01 AM

                        Definitely have an opinion... try to find 2007's, the best Alsatian vintage of the past 10 years or more IMO.... enjoy.

                        1. re: TombstoneShadow
                          collioure RE: TombstoneShadow Jan 20, 2014 12:44 AM

                          Thank you. The Orschwihr Riesling Enchenberg Vieux-Thann 2007 is the one I would like to prefer, but I'd love it if someone here knew Orschwihr.

                          1. re: collioure
                            collioure RE: collioure Jun 6, 2014 01:26 PM

                            Well, I just opened a first bottle of Orschwihr Riesling 2007 Enchenberg Vieux-Thann . Delicious, mellow fruit. 10€.

                            Next up the grand cru Kitterlé 2005

                        2. re: collioure
                          collioure RE: collioure May 7, 2014 02:09 AM

                          Well, I did order 36 bottles of Ch d'Orschwihr Alsatian wines. The bone dry Riesling Bollenberg 2012 was true to form but could have used a little RS IMO. I have two other bone dry Orschwihr Rieslings to try, both grand cru. I'm sure they will be better.

                          The Gewurztraminer Bollenberg 2011 was excellent and with 24g/L of RS about as dry as you can find in Alsace.

                          BTW Orschwihr proprietor Hartmann prints the RS on the label right under alcohol content.

                          1. re: collioure
                            Robert Lauriston RE: collioure May 7, 2014 10:25 AM

                            24g/L is off-dry. I don't know what the regulations are for Gewurztraminer but Riesling d'Alsace AOC has to be under 9 g/L or be labeled VT or SGN.

                            You might have trouble finding one drier than 2.4g/L.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                              collioure RE: Robert Lauriston May 7, 2014 04:34 PM

                              The three Rieslings I bought were 2.3, 4.5 and 1 g/L.
                              The Gewurz is at 24.


                              1. re: collioure
                                Robert Lauriston RE: collioure May 7, 2014 06:31 PM

                                If you like dry Gewurztraminer, keep an eye out for those from Alto Adige aka Südtirol.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  collioure RE: Robert Lauriston May 8, 2014 12:48 AM

                                  I just don't like Gewurz with some 50g/L RS.

                                  I could keep my eye out for wines from Alto Adige whose style I had not liked in the past, but I wouldn't do any good. I never see a good bottle of Italian wine these days.

                                  I will be in north central Italy in Sept, but with very limited baggage on RyanAir I can't bring any wine back.

                                  Otherwise I'd bring that back along with some Soave, Friulano, Aglianico and Fiano.

                                  Here in southern France it's hard even to find a bottle of German beer.

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