German Rieslings are wildly misunderstood for the simple fact that:
1. If you don’t know how to read a German wine label and and don’t want to ask your wine shop/retail store sommelier/sales associate for help… you will most likely end up possibly picking a style of Riesling that does not suit your palate or your pairing.
2. If you enjoy dry wines, and you have picked a sweet riesling in the past… you may have your “mind made up” about this grape varietal.
3. You, like many wine lovers assume, “all rieslings are sweet” due to the number of sweet ones out there dominating the market and confusing your poor wine loving palate.
Luckily I am here to take you through some incredible German Rieslings I recently tried and fell in love with. They range from dry to sweet and I guarantee giving them a try will open your mind and your palate to new and wonderful experiences!
S.A. Prüm is a Family-owned winery founded in 1911 by Sebastian Alois Prüm. This winery has been in the hands of Raimund Prüm, head winemaker and Sebastian’s grandson, since 1971. I had the pleasure of dining with him at Asitate inside the Mandarin Oriental in Columbus Circle. The stunning views of NYC, the lovely wines and incredible pairings by Executive Chef, Christian Pratsch was a perfect “pairing” where I was able to truly taste and experience one of the most successful wineries in Germany’s celebrated Mosel wine region.
Greeted by Raimund himself and a glass of the 2013 Luminance ($14.99) is a great way to start any day. This wine is delicate and dry with notes of white blossoms and citrus. This is the perfect entry level riesling and great to sip on a hot summer day or spring brunch morning. Enjoy this during fall and winter too, as it’s great with any season!
We started off lunch with the Maine Lobster Salad with Preserved Plum, Forbidden Rice and Tatsoi. Paired was the 2012 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett, which is the first pick of the vintage resulting in a low alcohol wine thats perfect with seafood. This pairing brought out striking stone fruit notes such as peaches, while the preserved plum was a nice compliment to the acidity in the wine. This wine retails for around $26.99 and at 8.5% Abv. it’s a perfect breakfast, brunch, and afternoon wine!
Colorado Lamb Loin with Riesling? Yes, chef went there and I was so happy to see such a beautiful cut of meat paired with this lovely grape varietal. The lamb loin was accompaied by Charred Eggplant, Grilled Baby Leeks and Vandouvan Yogurt. Indian cuisine happens to be one of my favorite pairings with Riesling, so this “Indian” inspired dish was a perfect pairing with the 2011 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Dry Old Vines and the 2011 Graacher Dompropst Riesling Grosse Gewachs($49.99 & $74.99). Both wines were delicious with the lamb loin, and the stone fruits really come forward throughout the dish without overpowering the spices or lamb. The grilled leeks add a nice herbal note to the wine and bring out some stunning minerality qualities that you may not notice right away on the palate; it’s very pretty.
For those that know and love Auslese like I do, then you will want to try this pairing at home: Foie Gras Terrine with Huckleberry Jam, Pistachio Financier and Fennel. Paired were three absolutely incredible Auslese’s ranging from 1995-2009. The 1995 is no longer available, nor the 1999, but the 2009 is for $42.99. Foie Gras pairs perfectly with full bodied sweeter wines like an Auslese from Germany, especially from the terroir driven Mosel region.
For the grand finale, the 2004 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Eiswein was paired with Vacherin: Coconut Sticky Rice, Mango Sorbet and Passion Fruit. Sweet, stylish and simply delicious this was an incredible way to end a lovely afternoon meal at Asitate, NYC. For those that enjoy sweet wines, Eisewein is a wine made from grapes kept on the vine to freeze. They are then pressed while still frozen giving this wine naturally high concentrations of sugar and age-ability beyond even my lifetime! $187.00, 8.5% abv, and simply gorgeous!
Now, don’t let some of the prices steer you away from trying German rieslings. With the upcoming holiday season, these wines will wow your family and friends and deserve to be on your table pairing with all your lovely holiday meals. Please pair responsibly!