Stealthily Tart

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve become accustomed to Emerson’s cries. For the first couple of days, I must admit that the sound of her voice would aggravate me after a few minutes. I put my best face forward, of course, since most of her cries came while we were becoming acquainted with breastfeeding and its challenges. It was frustrating enough to know that an ostensibly natural process could be so difficult, never mind the fact that a fussy baby only compounded the challenge. Now that Emmy’s been with us for 10 days, the crying no longer makes me nervous. In fact, I wouldn’t call it comforting, but I now respond with quiet patience and not desperation. After checking the diaper, making sure she’s been fed recently, and keeping her warm, I’m confident enough to just provide comfort and wait for the wailing to subside.

Tonight, during an especially long crying session, I decided it was time to get back to my wines. Tonight’s selection: Dr. Konstantin Frank 2004 Dry Riesling. I bought this wine for Thanksgiving (yeah, yeah, trying to get rid of wine collection…sue me) but never got around to opening it. Frank is widely credited for bringing vinifera stock to New York from Europe and for creating a truly world-class wine from the Finger Lakes. This wine is a pale yellow color in the glass and has a nose reminiscent of mandarin orange, with perhaps a touch of mineral, though not as much as I remember from true German Rieslings. There’s also a bit of sliced apple, the kind you might find in a pie. When rolled around the tongue, this wine is somewhat thin with a gentle tartness. There are flavors of citrus and apple, with just a bit of effervescence and mineral character to balance out the fruit. The finish is intriguing, a long-lasting evolution from mineral fruit to an long-lasting and subtle tartness that withstands several lip-smacks. That part was quite entertaining and unique; I haven’t had something with quite this finish.

I’m not sure what to make of this wine. It’s certainly worth the money, and I appreciate its flavor subtleties. There’s a lot to like, but to me, this wine only really stands out in the finish; everything else is just solid, quite good but not mind-bending great. Why, then, has this wine earned so many accolades? Perhaps because it’s so competent at everything, a notable feat for any wine. I’ll take that, but I wouldn’t say this is any better than the outstanding Wiemer I had a few weeks ago. They’re different tastes, suited for different tables. I would pair this wine with something very light. I feel that this wine is rather delicate in nature — take that for what it is, whether you find that attractive or annoying — and stronger cuisine might overpower the little details that make this wine notable.

Oh, about Thanksgiving: We had a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a 1998 Alain Jaume. I did not have the time to give this wine a proper tasting, but it was a good pairing with the turkey. A nice red fruity nose, with a very rounded tannin that rounded out the tobacco- and plum-laced body. It would have been nice to spend a few quiet moments with a glass of this wine, but that was not to be.

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