For those who are discovering this series for the first time, I am inspired by a New York Times article and am in the process of re-igniting my passion for Riesling. To accomplish this I am drinking six examples from around world. Volumes 1 & 2 examine German and South African examples, this time I turned my attention to Alsace and an bottling from the estate of Paul Blanck.
The region of lies on the eastern side of the Vosges Mountains, along the border of Germany. You may remember from your seventh grade history lessons that this area flips between German and French occupation although since WWI it has been on the Gallic side. Despite the proximity to Germany the producers of this area historically finish their wines dry, and that is the case with the latest Riesling.
To set the stage for you, on Sunday night I prepared a risotto flavored with roasted fennel, shallots and tomatoes. For protein I added some spectacular, 16/20 shrimp flavored with lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil. When I first opened the wine while cooking, the nose showed a very stoney, mineral, green apple and white pepper quality and lean, dry edge. By the time we sat down, about an hour later, the wine had evolved and was showing a richer sense of fruit. Now there was lanolin, honey and lime parfait all framed by the ever present sense of chalk and saline. The marvelous thing about this wine was how it matched perfectly with the slightly anise quality of the fennel and the sweetness of the roasted shallots. It was so good I ended up drinking the bottle and wanting more.
So yet again I must reiterate, if you are a member of the ABC club, Anything But Chardonnay, you need to examine Riesling more closely. The dry styles will invigorate your palate and the sweeter wines are a lesson in aromatic complexity.