I have to say I am an extremely spoiled Riesling drinker.
Unlike many of my friends, Riesling didn’t make me think of a cloyingly sweet beverage served in a tall, slender bottle.
No, the first Riesling I ever tasted was the Albert Boxler “Sommerberg” 1996 that was served at a class in the dining room of Wild Blue in April 1999. It was so good I thought I was going to faint, and while money was no object, I left the tasting headed for Union Square Wine & Spirits, knowing I had to have this wine to take home to my family in Tarboro.
Sure enough, the shop had it, and it cost me $35.99, money I knew I shouldn’t spend, but I just couldn’t help myself.
The bottle travelled to Tarboro in one piece, tucked safely in my carry-on as I boarded a Continental flight from Newark.
When I got to Mary Ann & Dad’s house, I could barely contain myself. The only thing that was better than this bottle of awesome Riesling was the immediate love they felt as soon as they tasted it. All three of us became major believers influenced by one awesome producer.
I’ll be completely honest when I say at the time I had no idea who Albert Boxler was. Or anything about any of the wines coming from Alsace.
But I was learning, and this bottle made me yearn for more information on what wine could be.
The fun train headed for Riesling town did not slow down, and a couple of months later when Mary Ann & Dad came to Manhattan for a visit, our sommelier, Alison Junker, poured us glasses of Domaine Zind Humbrecht “Clos Windsbuhl” at the end of dinner.
My friends, I don’t know what heaven is, but I’m pretty sure if you can put it in a glass, that would have been it.
We swooned, and we remembered. We all were completely sold on Riesling.
Last May, I had an awesome opportunity to eat and drink and visit with Vivian Howard and Ben Knight of the Chef and the Farmer in Kinston. It was one of my favorite nights of 2010, and one of the wines we all enjoyed the most was Trimbach “Clos Ste. Hune” 2003, again from Alsace.
It was pure deliciousness, pure intensity, and I remember waking up the morning after, still tasting that perfect flavor that cannot be replicated.
Tonight as I write, I am alternating sips between two Austrian Rieslings, both from Vienna. One is the 2009 Weingut Mayer Am Pfarrplatz “Reid Alsegg” and the other is the Weingut Hajszan “Pfaffenberg” 2007. They are both incredibly killer, and in all possible ways, they convince me to blog about just how awesome Riesling tastes.
It also takes me back to other Riesling memories.
Working at Blue Fin in 2002 and drinking Robert Weil’s “Kiedricher Grafenberg” Auslese. The way that wine reminded me of the sweet, little drops of honeysuckle you get straight from the flower.
I started thinking about a trip to Canada where I tried Inniskillin’s Eiswein.
And I started reminiscing about my days at Borgata where the Riesling list at Susanna Foo’s “Suilan” was like a beautiful dream with the happiest of endings.
All of these thoughts make me want to ask anyone fortunate enough to answer, “What is the Coolest Riesling You Have Ever Drunk?”
As someone who is a Riesling searcher, I would love to know so I can continue my trip that hopefully will never end.
If you have a moment, please share. It would mean a great deal to hear from others who have found a rainbow that ened in a bottle of Riesling.