Riesling Revolution – Exploring Germany’s keystone grape, one bottle at a time

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It’s hard to believe that September is already here, particularly with temps breaking records all over the Bay Area. What do you do when it’s 85 at 7am in a city that rarely reaches 80 in general?  You reach for some fun white wines!  One of my favorite white wines that often gets a bad rap is Riesling.  With the diversity of styles from bone dry to sticky sweet, and price points from $10 to $100, there is a Riesling for everyone.  As we approach the holiday season, think Riesling for Thanksgiving, brunch and all of your family get togethers. From sweet to searingly dry, spicy and intriguing, Riesling is the perfect wine for any time, given it’s wide variety of styles, regions, and – sweetness.  If you’re not sure how to pick your Riesling, check out my previous post on the German Wine Classification system here.   Today, I have two great examples of affordable, fun, sassy, sexy German Riesling. Today, I bring you the Weingut Heitlinger Schellenbrunnen 2014 Riesling, from Tiefenbacher, Schellenbrunnen.  This Troken (dry) white wine is just as luscious as they come, with ripe pear, a nutty note that hides the classic diesel / petrol notes, tropical flavors of quince and guava.  The rich toasty marshmallow envelops spicy ginger and tickles your taste buds.  With a budget friendly price tag of under $15, this is perfect for fruit salad or lighter dishes.   Stay tuned for more Wines of Germany to come!   Cheers!  Thanks to the Wines of Germany and RF Binder for sharing this delightful representation of the diversity of Riesling!    

The Americanization of Chardonnay

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Bit by bit, over the last 25 years, the great French houses have been quietly creeping in to the Americas.  From Canada, down to California, and on in to South America, prestigious and established french houses have added extensions in the new world. One such house is Domaine Joseph Drouhin, with it’s addition of Domaine Drouhin in Oregon.  The home estate, in the heart of Chablis is responsible for primarily Premier and Grand Crus, planted with the classic Burgundian varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Domain Drouhin is also planted to these varietals, but is focused on the Oregon darling of Pinot Noir and while paying homage to it’s French roots, is very much Oregon. To see the unique approach to winemaking at both properties, I tasted two Chablis and one Oregon Chardonnay side by side.   The Joseph Drouhin Domaine in France was, like many great domaines of the region, assembled bit by bit, parcel by parcel.  Todya, there are over 73 hectares (182.5 acres) of vineyards in Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise and Chablis.  The 2011 Joseph Drouhin Saint Véran comes from a property just north of Beaujolais, and is the newest appellation in the Mâconnais region.  With the rich limestone soil, it is a perfect place for Chardonnay.  Rich marzipan is followed by lemon curd, pineapple and ripe necterine, with a hint of mandarin orange and Golden Delicious apples.  Delightfully unoaked, this is a Chardonnay for everyone that hates Chardonnay, as it is unoaked and is aged in stainless steel for a bright freshness.  $20   The 2015 Joseph Drouhin Mâcon-Villages is a steal at under $15, it is similar to the Saint Véran and yet not at all the same.  Stone fruit, rich apple, and pomelo jump out of the glass.  Asian pear mixes with honeysuckle in this crisp, mineral driven wine.  Another stainless steel fermentation is a great representation at fresh, vibrant Chardonnay.   Moving across the pond to Oregon, Domaine Druhin Oregon was an early adopter in the 1980s.  The 2011 Domaine Drouhin Arthur Chardonnay comes from the Dundee Hills region of the Willamette Valley, and is 100% Dijon clones.   Hand picked and whole cluster pressed, this departs from the Chablis in that it was partially fermented in French oak barrels.  The rest is finished in stainless steel to maintain the vibrancy of the fruit, and blended with the barrel fermented lots.  With a rich, more tropical slant to the flavor profile, this is more akin to Burgundy than Chablis, and the rounded mouthfeel offers ripe apples and pear, with an intense floral note.  So if you’re looking for a New World wine with an old world twist, splurge on this $35 bottle!   (purchased at the property). Special thanks to Jospeh Drouhin and Creative Feed PR for providing the Joseph Drouhin samples and food for thought!