Like Old Times

I was at a local grocery store last night when I found their extremely small German wine selection. It was relatively easy to find good German Rieslings in Ithaca, but the pickings are extremely slim down here; nevertheless, I took a chance and brought home a bottle of Dr. Loosen 2004 Riesling. Dr. Loosen owns a handful of vineyards in the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region of Germany, known for its slaty soil and bright, lively wines.

This wine cost me about $14. I raised my eyebrows when I discovered that the bottle has no cork, relying instead on a metal screw-on cap! Not a good way to start a wine tasting, I thought to myself, as it poured into my glass and showed its pale yellow, slightly greenish color. My doubts vanished as soon as I lifted the glass to my nose. I was greeted with a flinty, floral scent with predominantly rosy notes. Ah, the scent of a good German Riesling — something I hadn’t experienced in years, yet instantly familiar like a good friend. The nostalgia trip continued when my tongue was greeted with a playful effervescence, proving to be slightly sweet and of medium-light weight in the mouth. There is a subtle undertone to the overall flavor of this wine, which reminds me mostly of bright grapefruit and plum. The acidity makes itself known in the bubbly texture and develops into a tart, tangy finish. Despite its sweetness, this Riesling actually has a nicely crisp and dry balance to it that invites another sip.

I did some research on this wine after tasting it. While Dr. Loosen does make several estate wines, it turns out that this particular wine is a blend, made of fruit purchased from vineyards located throughout Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. $14 is a lot of money to spend on a blend, but the money was well spent; this is a great casual wine, easily paired with food and priced well enough to enjoy in quantity with friends. It’s comparably priced to the Wiemer Riesling but distinctly and refreshingly German in character. Dipping into this wine immediately brought to mind my senior year at Cornell, the Introduction to Wines class that sparked my interest, lazy afternoons spent browing through Northside Wine & Spirits, rare warm spring days spent along the Finger Lakes wineries, all as if they happened last week and not nearly seven years ago. Not bad for a blend, and not bad for $14.

Of course, this is not a perfect German Riesling. I would really like to have more mineral character, and I feel like the fruit character is a bit too simple and uncomplicated. But it had most of what it needed — the invisible bubbles, the flinty nose, the crisp acidity — and that was enough to make me a very happy birthday boy. I’ve got to find a wine shop around here that takes German vintages more seriously.

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I bought the same bottle in New York for about 10 bucks – sorry Blair, you got ripped off :). Haven’t cracked it open yet tho. This wine was written up in the NYTimes. May I also suggest the 2002.

Happy New Year – hugs all around!

Hah — I was lucky just to find anything from Germany down here in Virginia. You NY people get all the good stuff. 😉

I brought this to a friend’s house, and it was a big hit. Need to go buy a case or something :). Will save some for you, for the next time I see you guys…

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