Selbach Riesling Incline, Mosel, Germany, 2012.
O’Brien’s Off Licence. On Special €12.99 (from €14.99).
How can you not adore Riesling? It is one of the most versatile grapes in the world, right up there with Chardonnay, sharing the Noble Grape status. Unfortunately it is this range of styles that means it shares a lot of the negativity from which Chardonnay suffers. In the case of Chardonnay it is its ease of growth that has led to the backlash. Led by the ABCs (Anything But Chardonnay), that grape has been over-cultivated and over-oaked in some regions, diluting its potential in many people’s minds. But then again, many of the very best Chardonnays in the world will not mention the grape anywhere on the label- Chablis and Champagne are the two most striking examples.
Riesling, on the other hand, can suffer in Ireland from its very versatility. Although there are fabulous examples of New World Rieslings, from regions as diverse as Washington Sate to South Australia, it is generally considered a predominantly German grape. And let’s face it, German wine labels are not easy to understand. By law, German wines must include a lot of information on the label to ensure the consumer knows what they are buying (on back label for wine above). This is very helpful if you can decode it, but very confusing if you can’t. One of the pieces of information required is how sweet the wine is, measured by the residual sugar content (degrees Oechsle), and unless you know how to decipher the label, you may end up with a sweet wine not to your liking. On the very first date with my girlfriend I ordered a Riesling and immediately went down a few notches in her estimation, as she then equated Riesling with peripheral plonk wine. Luckily she stuck around for my scintillating personality and is now more of a Riesling groupie than me! So I urge you to try this fabulous grape variety, and a great place to start would be the wine above.
Although containing some residual sugar, it has lovely balance and is as fresh and crisp as you like. On the nose it is full of fresh lemons, limes and green apple, as well as tropical fruits. The fresh mango and pineapple aroma reminds me of eating those fruits in a kind local woman’s wooden, single-roomed home-on-stilts on the side of a dirt road in rural Cambodia a few years back, and surely that is a good enough reason for me to fall in love with this wine straight away?
In the mouth this wine is medium bodied and off-dry, with a lovely zip of acidity and tart green apples, pears, lime and those juicy tropical fruits. It has a lovely mineral hint of slate on a very nice, long finish that lingers in the throat. This is a simply stunning wine, and only ranks on the second tier of German wine classification. Germans have known how great their wines are for decades and this proves there are some great examples here at reasonable prices.
You can pair this wine with big flavours, like Mexican and Asian chilli dishes.
Rating: EXCELLENT 4.5/5.