Oz Clarke dishes the dirt — minerality? — about Riesling with Matt Kramer and Kevin Zraly. Feel the love.
Although there were many well-known personalities at last week’s 2012 InterVin International Wine Awards, the star of the show proved to be Dave Frederics, a Riesling-based cocktail.
Like its namesake, the origins of the Dave Frederics cocktail are cloaked in mystery. At first, many were leery to try the fresh, fruity concoction — the spectre of poorly made white wine spritzers had left a bad taste in many people’s mouths. But tasting is believing. By the end of the night, winemakers, wine writers and sommeliers alike could be heard at the bar saying things like “Hit me with another Dave!”
Colourful, delicious and very refreshing, the Dave Frederics was embraced as the official cocktail of InterVin and was quickly added to the cocktail menu at Treadwell Farm to Table Cuisine in Port Dalhousie.
You can see what all of the fuss is about by making your own. Mix 2 parts Riesling (preferably from the Niagara Peninsula), 1 part ruby Ruby Grapefruit Juice and 1 part diet ginger ale (regular ginger ale also works) in a wine glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange or grapefruit slice and enjoy!
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.
Working at a tasting bar, you learn the tricks of the trade: What makes peoples mouth water. What heightens their experience. And, what makes them buy wine. I quickly discovered that the average customer is looking for wines that are easy to appreciate and understandable. They are not necessarily looking for complexity, but rather for characteristics they can identify.
Ontario Riesling is easy to enjoy because it is fresh, fruity and less intimidating than oaked Chardonnays or complex Pinot Noirs. Whenever someone told me they liked Riesling, I was delighted because it made my job easier. I didn’t have to worry about convincing customers that they liked the wine or confusing them with wine-speak. The wine always sold itself.
Having something people can relate to makes it more approachable — that’s a big part of Riesling’s charm. Not only is it honest and truthful, it’s relatable and easy to love. I mean, who can resist the refreshing characteristics of apples and peaches? Certainly not me. ANDREA FUJARCZUK
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.
The summer of Riesling is now a global phenomenon and many restaurants are getting involved by showcasing the grape’s versatility by making multiple Rieslings available by the glass. Some are extremely dedicated to the crisp, balanced white wine, and are celebrating its roots in July with the 31 days of German Riesling and providing at least two German Rieslings by the glass.
With so many different styles of German Rieslings available, we wanted to point out a winning entry that is well priced, flavourful and cheery. Moselland 2011 Bernkasteler Kurfurstlay Riesling ($9.95, 015875) offers aromas of peach, apricot and apple, while the palate has flavours of melon and honey. The finish has finesse, leaving a lingering lime zest flavour on the tip of your tongue.
If the summerlicious grape is one of your favourites, pick up a bottle from the Motherland, slip on a pair of Birkenstocks (socks or no socks), listen to “99 Luftballons” and you might just get some balance back in your life.
It’s a hot summer’s day and you just picked up a mouthwatering bottle of Riesling from your local liquor store. You’re itching to uncork it and enjoy its refreshing taste but there just isn’t the time to wait around while your bottle chills in the fridge. Luckily, you read this blog and prepared for the moment this should happen.
A great way to quicken the cooling process of your Riesling is through the convenience of ice cube trays. For those who are worried about your wine getting watered down, have no fear! You don’t have to use ice cubes – Riesling can freeze.
Like a child doing science experiments, I tried it out for myself. I used varying levels of the wine and different juice mixes in case Riesling didn’t freeze without being diluted. I experimented with carbonated water, berry soda, cranberry juice and green tea. And, to my surprise, after an overnight freeze all had successfully solidified. The office favourite was a blend ratio of one part mixed berry sparking fruit juice and three parts Riesling. I also found that a half and half ratio of these two mixed well enough to make a cocktail. To make a full ice cube tray, mix ½ cup of mixed berry sparking fruit juice and 1 ½ cups of Riesling. I added a drop of food colouring for some extra fun. ANUPA SIMON
*Keep in mind that Riesling ice cubes will not freeze to a hard state like your typical ice cube because of the alcohol content, however it is solid enough to lift out of the tray intact.
Di Profio Wines may be new kids on the block, having just opened their doors last month, but they certainly are not new to the wine industry. Hailing from Italy, the family have experimented with different styles of winemaking since grandfather Guiseppe imported Californian grapes in the 1940s and 1950s.
The winemakers’ gene was dormant in his son Joe Di Profio, Sr. until the next generation, Fred, decided to follow his grandfather’s footsteps. Today, Fred heads the cellar of the young winery and is establishing their wine portfolio, which happens to include our favourite grape, Riesling.
Di Profio Wines 2011 Riesling ($16.15, diprofiowines.ca) is fresh, fruity and is very promising for their first vintage. With peach, apple, orange peel and mineral notes on the nose, the wine is inviting with a good balance. The palate offers apricot, and zesty lemon with a finish of honey and almond.
Sip on this wine by itself or pair it with a summer salad, chicken or cheese. Either way it’s a great opportunity to raise a glass, discover a new winery and celebrate the Summer of Riesling at the same time. Cheers!