A Proper Wine Blog

wine
Dedication:
I would like to thank Little Man, not only for taking two[1] great naps yesterday, but for having an excellent independent play session this morning which allowed me to drink some wine and write this blog.

It seems like its been awhile since I actually blogged about wine. I’m not gonna lie, wine consumption is WAY down since Little Man joined us. It’s difficult to stay awake past 9 pm, let alone have a glass of wine at night after he goes to sleep. And my palate really is different. Flavors aren’t jumping out at me like they did before, and I’m much more comfortable drinking low-key, smooth wines rather than big, complex and tannic ones[2].

And surprisingly, I’ve been much more into beer. During my pregnancy I didn’t crave much in terms of food, but I DID crave beer. All I wanted was a big frothy Guinness. Not a glass of wine, not a bottle of Champagne, but Guinness. So random, I know. I’ve indulged in that a few times, but you can really only drink so many pints of Guinness before it’s a bit overwhelming[3].

So slowly[4] but surely, I’m getting back in the swing of things. And I decided to do a proper wine blog about a lovely bottle of Riesling I’ve been saving.

2012 Gustave Lorentz Lieu-Dit Burg Riesling
2012 Gustave Lorentz Lieu-Dit Burg Riesling

__________________________________________________________________________
To:                  Alleged Blog Readers
From:              Wine Esquire
Date:               February 10-11, 2018
Wine:              2012 Gustave Lorentz Lieu-Dit Burg Riesling[5]
__________________________________________________________________________

Beautiful nose, it smells thick and juicy, full of flavor. Great mouthfeel too, medium bodied, it refreshingly coats your mouth. I’m getting pineapple like crazy, but not too sweet, a hint of green apple too. A dash of minerality rounds this out for a perfect finish. The color is gorgeous; like thick, golden honey. Not much in the way of legs, it almost coats the glass then disappears like condensation without any tears left behind.

I could seriously do with some cheese on apple slices to pair with this, but Little Man is napping and I only have so much time 😉

This Riesling from Alsace, France by producer Gustave Lorentz, specifically their 2012 Lieu-Dit[6] Burg Riesling. The Maison Gustave Lorentz has been making wine since 1836, beginning with a 33 hectare[7] vineyard in Bergheim, in the heart of Alsace, just half an hour from the German border. Now, six generations later, the same family continues their winemaking tradition. The wines of Gustave Lorentz are certified organic by Ecocert[8] and have been since 2012. The estate grown Riesling, Pinot-Gris, Gewurztraminer, Muscat and Pinot Noir are all harvested and vinified separately, allowing each grape to express the unique terroir from which it hails.

This bottle came to me as a sample[9] from Quintessential Wines, a Napa-based importer with a  focus on multi-generational, family owned-and-operated wineries, and their portfolio is pretty impressive.

wine
Feels like spring!

This particular vintage seems particularly difficult to get your hands on at the moment, but other offerings from this winemaker are widely available online and throughout the US.

Until the next glass, Cheers!

Lawyer Footnote

[1] Yes, TWO both for over an hour and a half! This is from the boy who went the previous 48 hours with only sporadic 30-minute naps. (Except at night when he sleeps 10 hours at a clip. I know, I know, I’m so lucky)

[2] I’ve also not had much time to sit down and explore flavors. Can’t imagine why.

[3] And filling! I can see why they call it a “meal in a glass!”

[4] Very slowly.

[5] This particular vintage earned a 91 score from Wine Enthusiast.

[6] Lieu Dit translates to “said location” and is a wine term used for identifying very small and particular geographical locations. Not to be confused with the California winery Lieu Dit. (Confession: I was confused. As a trademark attorney, I may have pushed the California guys toward another name. #lawyerlife)

[7] 1 hectare is equal to approximately 2.47105 acres; so 33 hectares is approximately 81.5448 acres.

[8] When you see this little green label flag on European wines, you’ll know its certified organic by Ecocert.

ecocert organic wine
Ecocert Organic

[9] Opinions contained herein are my own. If I didn’t like it, I would have poured it down the drain and saved you the trouble of reading this.

wine blog
Welcome to my office

Riesling is My New Cabernet

Riesling

Well, maybe.

If you ask me what my favorite wine is, I’ll always answer Napa Valley Cabernet. Give it to me big, full and juicy and I’m a happy camper. Some argue that there are better wines in the world, and I’m not about to disagree, but everyone’s palate is different. I’m still exploring and figuring mine out, and if I’m in a pinch and just want some good wine, I’m usually not steered wrong with one of my favorite Napa fruit bombs.

That being said, since my real goal is to always experience different wines,[1] I’ve encountered a fair number of Rieslings in the last year that have been impeccable. They work as stand-alone drinkers, and pair exceptionally well with food as well[2]. Now, I’m not going for the super fruity sweet Rieslings that were popular with all my friends in college, but rather the more subdued, not so sugary varieties that have real body and character.

A few weeks ago[3] our Sommelier Wine Friend[4] brought over a bottle of 2012 Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett.

Riesling
2012 Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett

The sparkle hits you right away. Petrol and peach on the nose; amazingly silky mouthfeel with notes of peach, pineapple and green grass. Simply gorgeous. We served this as an appetizer, sans food, before Husband’s incredible dinner of braised short ribs[5] and duck fat potatoes[6].

Riesling
Riesling and Gourds … the perfect combination

So even though I’m still a huge fruit bomb fan, I’m seriously open to exploring more and more Rieslings, and this one was a winner. It retails throughout the country for around $26-30, and let me tell you, it’s well worth it.

J.J. Prüm is a seriously well-respected wine house. In 1911, Johann Josef Prüm began the estate and his son Sebastian joined him in 1920 when the first bottlings were released. JJ and Sebastian’s ancestors continue at the helm today; it is currently run by Sebastian’s son Dr. Manfred Prüm, and his granddaughter, Dr. Katharina Prüm. With an exclusive focus on Riesling, their 33.5 acres of vineyards produce some of Germany’s finest, and they have a long history of aging well. Their harvest tends to be late which gives the wine the ability to stand the test of time.

The wines are grown in Wehlen, a tiny village of about 1,300 residents in the heart of Mosel, one of Germany’s 13 wine regions, and perhaps its most prestigious. The Prüm vineyards are nestled along the Middle Mosselle, the central section of the Moselle River which runs through France, Luxembourg, and Germany.

Riesling Wine Cork
Cork Shot #forthewin

The sundial on the Prüm labels is a nod to the real life sundial which graces the face of their Sonnenuhr vineyard.

JJ's Sundial. Photo (c) courtesy of pop & pour
JJ’s Sundial. Photo (c) courtesy of pop & pour

New, crisp and interesting Rieslings will always be a hit, so this would be the perfect thing to bring to an intimate dinner party as an apertif or give as a gift. After all, #tistheseason.

Until the next glass, Cheers!

Lawyer Footnotes

[1] We are, after all, here for a limited period of time, and the wine selection possibilities are endless.
[2] See, i.e., Riesling is a Viable OptionHey, Can We BYOB?, and Indian & Riesling: Wining & Dining 101.
[3] Jeeze, time flies, huh?
[4] If you don’t have one of these wine friends, I’d highly recommend finding one. #WineFriendsForTheWin
[5] Which we paired with a big Napa fruit bomb. Obviously.
[6] #DietStartsMonday

Hey, Can we BYOB?

The old adage, it never hurts to ask, is a mantra I live my life by. The worst response you can get is no, so you might as well give it a shot! You’d be surprised at all the times the universe has said YES.

The trouble with our favorite Indian spot is the wine list. It’s bad. I usually order water. Husband usually gets some random beer called Haywards 5000[1]. But the food is awesome. The spice is crazy, the quality is great, and it’s cheap. I had a gorgeous bottle of Riesling I was saving and I really wanted to drink it with Indian food. Ordering to go is a pain since the restaurant is about 20 minutes away. So I said, what if we called and asked if we can BYOB? They said of course, for a $7 corking fee[2]. SCORE.

Maharaja Express? Maybe not quite.
Maharaja Express? Maybe not quite.

Now this place is not exactly the Maharaja Express[3], but it gets the job done. I always try to order something different since everything I’ve had is great, and the menu is pretty extensive, filled with items I’ve never tried; Chicken Saag,[4] Rogan Josh,[5] Seekh Kebab,[6] and a whole lot more.

Chicken Vindaloo
Chicken Vindaloo

We started with some vegetable samosas and the cinnamon/cardamom flavors popped through which was really fun. For dinner I went with Chicken Vindaloo, hot and spiced chicken cooked with potatoes and a touch of vinegar[7]. They always ask you whether you want it Spicy, American Spicy or Indian Spicy. Now Husband and I consider ourselves connoisseurs of spice. When we travel we seek out the local hot sauce[8]. Put some Tabasco on it and I’m usually a happy camper. Last time we were here I went with “Indian spicy” and it literally knocked my socks off. I could barely eat through the tears streaming down my face. Since I actually had some wine I wanted to enjoy with this meal, I toned it down to American Spicy[9].

Our Wine Chiller
Our Wine Chiller

They provided us with an ice bucket soda pitcher to keep the wine chilled[10]. Let me tell you, bringing this wine to dinner was the best idea. Ever. The Hillersden 2015 Riesling tied everything together like an essential part of the meal, almost another food group[11]. A whiff of honey on the nose; light and vibrant with a bit of lemon zest. This meal’s perfect degree of spice was a flawless companion to the slightly sweet Riesling. A faint touch of minerality on the finish, it was the missing link to make this dining experience complete.

2015 Hillersden Riesling
2015 Hillersden Riesling

Next time you’re wanting to go to dinner but know the wine list is subpar, ask to BYOB. It can make the experience that much better[12].

BYOB was such a good idea!
BYOB was such a good idea!

Hillersden, the wine producer, has a pretty neat story as well. Historically Hillersden was an industrial township in New Zealand’s Upper Wairau Valley. World War II crippled its industry, leading to its steady decline. Husband and Wife team Bruce and Marian Forlong came to Hillersden in 2013, along with their three sons, with the goal of bringing new life to the area. And so far, based on this Riesling, they’re doing a great job.

(C) Hillersden Wines
(C) Hillersden Wines

So far distribution in the US is limited, but you can use coupon code ESQUIRE for 30% off their entire wine selection through October 31. Shipping isn’t too bad, and the wine is super affordable. Let me know what you think!

Until the next glass, Cheers!

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] It comes in an extra-large bottle and it’s actually kind fun.
[2] Which is reasonable and fair. #BYOB To all those restaurants price gouging with a $20 cork fee, really?!
[3] Which is on the travel bucket list for sure. Check this out, it looks amazing!

(C) Maharaja Express
(C) Maharaja Express

[4] Boneless chicken cooked with chopped spinach, and Indian spices.
[5] Lamb cubes cooked with tomatoes in freshly grounded spices, and yogurt sauce.
[6] Skewered ground lamb, spiced with garam masala, onion, ginger, and cilantro.
[7] Confession: I don’t remember what Husband got, but he usually gets Chicken Tikka Masala. It was great.
[8] Anguilla’s Rockfield Pepper Sauce is up there as one of THE BEST in the world. Serious Wow.
[9] It was the right choice.
[10] Fancy? No. Efficient? Yes.
[11] And at $15 a bottle, it’s a no-brainer.
[12] AND they forgot to charge us the BYOB corkage fee. Probably because nobody ever brings their own wine. Or maybe because they know us and felt bad their wine list was bad.

Riesling Is a Viable Option

I’m usually not a big Riesling drinker. Maybe if someone is serving it with dessert I’ll have a small glass, but it’s not something I buy. It was always one of those wines that left a bad taste in my mind. I remember having it one night in college[1], and since my college budget didn’t allow for me to buy anything except a sugary bottle of what could only be called Riesling-esque juice, I wound up hungover not feeling well the next morning and swore it off for good.

Until, that is, I heard that it may be good with spicy foods[2]. And after having that sweet, delicious experience, it made me consider trying more of this lovely grape. So when I walked into one of my favorite wine shops last week and my best good wine friend mentioned a unique Riesling I might enjoy, I decided to give it another swirl.File Jul 22, 9 08 04 PM

Tasting Memo: 2015 Dönnhoff Riesling Trocken

Melon and honey on the nose. Wow. A lot of body; a great, full mouthfeel. I get the faintest fizzy pop of carbonation, not full blown bubbles, but just a hint[3]. It’s quite refreshing. Maybe a bit of green apple on the finish with a touch of a dry bite. Fruity without being sweet. A wonderfully delicious treat. I sipped on this without any food[4], and it was great on its own. I could also see pairing this with some apple slices slathered in Brie[5]. Yum. Goodbye to my Riesling prejudice, I think I’m officially a convert!

File Jul 22, 9 07 52 PMThe producer of this bottle is the highly esteemed Dönnhoff family who has been producing wine in the Nahe wine region of Germany for more than 200 years[6]. The estate is now run by father and son duo, Helmut and Cornelius. Their Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc grapes are grown on twenty five sloping, hilly hectares in Oberhausen an der Nahe, a teenytiny wine growing village about an hour southwest of Frankfurt.

donnhoff2
(c) Weingutt Dönnhoff

As of 2013 there were a grand total of 379 full time residents in Oberhausen an der Nahe, the Dönnhoff family presumably being several of them. Eighty percent of their vines are Riesling, and this bottle was the Trocken, or dry offering. Made from 100% Riesling grapes, it was fermented in a mix of stainless steel and large German oak barrels.

File Jul 22, 9 07 34 PM

This may not be the easiest wine to find, but it is available throughout the US for, you guessed it, under $25 a bottle (this was my selection for the July edition of the #Under25Challenge[7]). I’d highly suggest trying to get your hands on some whether you’re a Riesling fan or even if you’re on the fence. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Salem liked it, so will you!
Salem liked it, so will you! #catlady

Until the next glass, cheers!

Lawyer Footnotes

[1] In my college quest to be, or at least appear to be, classy. Sometimes. #collegelife
[2] Thanks to my friends at Cutruzzola Vineyards.
[3] The winery calls this a “tingling minerality.”
[4] Don’t ask me why, this is very unlike me.
[5] Because how else does one eat apples?
[6] By the way, this place is going on the Wine Bucket List. It looks simply stunning.

donnhoff
(c) Weingutt Dönnhoff

[7] If you haven’t jumped on the #Under25Challenge bandwagon yet, you’re missing out on some fun. Find a new wine store, ask for a recommendation for their best bottle $25 or under, then open it up with us on Twitter. Check it out next month, August 16 at 8 pm EST. See you then!

File Jul 22, 9 10 34 PM
Liquid Courage and Provisions from the Wise Old Dog