Archives for category: Around the World


Oz Clarke dishes the dirt — minerality? — about Riesling with Matt Kramer and Kevin Zraly. Feel the love.

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It should be obvious by this point that we have a major thang for Riesling. Don’t get us wrong, we love other selections too — Riesling just happens to be the wine of summer! To prove our appreciation, we want to share this fantastic white blend, which just so happens to have Riesling in it.

Bodegas Amalaya 2011 Torontes-Riesling (Calchaqui Valley, Argentina $10.95, 270470) is a well-priced Argentinian wine which offers a bouquet of floral, apricot and juicy apple notes with a hint of cinnamon. On the palate, the racy wine showcases mineral, lime and melon. Its lingering pear finish will make you crave strong cheeses or white fish.

So to sum up? We love our Rieslings sparkling, sweet, dry, with food or, even, in a blend.  We just can’t get enough.

The Alsace region is known for its intricate white wines and because of its close proximity to Germany, it has strong German influences. They produce similar grapes and also label them by the varietal (which most of France does not do) but where Germany is known for its sweet Rieslings, Alsace typically adopts a much drier style.

Lucien Albrecht 2009 Cuveé Henri Albrecht Riesling (Alsace, 23.95, 281402) is a delicious dry white, which is a great representation of its picturesque border town. It is a well-integrated Riesling created with copious amounts of intriguing layered flavours.

Delicate aromas of pear, apple, spice and honey and flavours of melon, mineral notes, nuttiness and smoke come together in this complex wine. The long finish of nutmeg rounds out the racy Riesling. Offer this white to your red wine loving friends, it might be the bottle that has just enough substance to open their eyes to new options.

Tempura is a light and crunchy Japanese batter that can cover almost anything and make it taste delicious. Often vegetables like sweet potato or  bell pepper or seafood such as shrimp are covered in tempura batter and fried, all which pair beautifully with Riesling. When I asked a friend how to make tempura at home she explained, depending on how you want your batter to turn out, there are two ways of making tempura batter:

1. If you want to achieve a flat and crunchy batter like a croquette, coat shrimp in flour, dip in beaten egg, then coat with panko crumbs. Deep-fry until browned.

2. To recreate a restaurant-style light and crunchy batter, beat an egg in a bowl, add ice cold water and flour into the bowl and mix gently. Make sure the batter stays cold as the crunchiness comes from the temperature difference between the batter and oil. (Proportions are approximately one egg, one cup water, one cup flour) Dip shrimp into batter and fry.

Panko crumbs can be purchased at any grocery store with an Asian section.

Tempura is easy to make and a great way to add satisfaction to any meal. ANUPA SIMON

Angles Covered: Riesling vines are right at home on a slope in Mosel, Germany. Photo by Friedrich Petersdorff

Riesling is the most common varietal cultivated in Zell, a town in the Mosel, Germany. Zell’s 331 ha of vineyards makes it the second largest region in the Mosel, after Piesport.

Riesling is a source of endless fascination because the wines of this grape precisely reflect where they grew and who made them, making them more diverse than those of any other white wine grape.

Stuart Pigott, British wine critic

“Riesling is rowing back. After years of repetition (especially by Jancis and me) that Riesling is the best white wine grape of all – or at least equal first with Chardonnay – it’s getting a grudging acceptance in a market super-saturated with Sauvignon Blanc.

What Rieslings are we buying, though? Not the crystal-pure, infinitely varied interpretations from its natural home, but strangely typecast versions from Australia, a slightly bizarre blend (or so it seems) of lime juice and kerosene.

Does the reason lie, perhaps, in the infinitely varied interpretations? ‘I thought it would be sweet’ is what I hear nine times out of 10 when I trick a friend (yes, it’s that bad) into tasting one of my favourites from the Mosel or Rhine.”

Hugh Johnson (Decanter Magazine, August 2010)

Featured on the Spin Sip page of VINES‘ latest edition is a food and wine pairing that will get any sushi lover’s heart fluttering. David Gelb’s documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, is the only way most will ever experience Jiro Ono’s celebrated restaurant Sukiyabashi. Located in a Tokyo subway station, the 10-seat establishment has been awarded a Michelin three-star review and is the destination for sushi lovers from around the world. Enjoy with the attractive and refreshing Wynns Coonawarra Estate 2010 RieslingCoonawarra, Australia $17.95 (528216)

News reports that Australia is losing its thirst for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has local experts hoping that there is a growing appetite for other white varieties, especially the steely, rapier-sharp style of Riesling popular Down Under.

“Riesling is a lot more serious than Sauvignon Blanc but it does take some appreciation,” Julian Alcorso, managing director of Winemaking Tasmania, told The Mercury.

“Hopefully this is a graduation process.

“You can put a Sauvignon Blanc in the cellar for 12 months and you’d want to throw it out but a good Riesling will last forever.”

Where in the world is this wine region?

If you guessed Alsace, you are correct. Alsace is known for its extraordinary white wines and Riesling makes up much of the winemaking percentage – 21.7 percent to be exact.

While visiting a friend at Domaine Rieflé in Pfaffenheim, Alsace, I was lucky enough to experience the landscape firsthand while in a propeller plane. Being afraid of heights, all I could think at the time was how the photo taken of me posing next to the plane might be my last alive. However, once I got up in the air, I was taken aback by the region’s beautiful landscape and forgot how high up I was. I couldn’t hear a thing with that propeller turning, which really made me focus on my sense of sight. I could see for miles – town after town, vineyard after vineyard. What an amazing experience. ANUPA SIMON