Who wants to drink a glass of chilled wine, face to the sun, ice-bucket ready? As Spring bursts in the northern hemisphere, it is time for fresh and vibrant wines in white and rosé. There are five days in the week, five wines to try:
Riesling from Nik Weis
My Riesling selection is the 2015 release of St. Urbans-Hof Wiltinger “Alte Reben” Kabinett Feinherb Riesling from Germany’s Saar Valley and winemaker Nik Weis. To understand this wine, break down the name. Alte Reben means very old vines, grown on a 22-acre parcel of a vineyard that dates back to the early 1900s. The the iron-rich vineyard soil results in a minerally smokiness, which is a real treat. Kabinett Feinherb indicates a slightly drier wine with about 22 g/l of residual sugar made from grapes picked at an early edge of ripeness. The Saar River is a tributary to the Mosel River and is on the cool-climate edge of the Mosel wine region. About $18 retail
Grüner Veltliner from Lenz Moser
Another fresh white wine for your warm evening comes from Austria, the 2014 Prestige Grüner Veltliner by Lenz Moser. This wine wraps up key characteristics of Austrian wine: superb freshness and fresh-sliced fruit flavors. The Lenz Moser estate winery is located in Rohrendorf near Krems, one of the oldest producers in the region, with evidence of the estate documented back to 1040. Lenz Moser works with local wine grape growers, making this one of the largest winemaking footprints for Austrian wine. The Prestige line comes from the vineyards that represent the “pinnacle of our quality pyramid”, according the the estate. Savory yet fresh, this is a wine made for a sunny day. $16 retail
Gewürztraminer from Pierre Sparr
Maison Pierre Sparr is a fixture in Alsace, an estate with a history dating back to 1680 and one of the earliest to produce estate -bottled wines. After generations of growth and innovation, the Pierre Sparr vineyards were destroyed during WW2 and later rebuilt at extreme effort and dedication by Pierre Sparr and later, his sons René and Charles. The maison recommends the following pairings for the 2011 AOC Alsace Gewürztraminer
Grand Cru Mambourg , I couldn’t have said it better myself: “foie gras with Gewurztraminer jelly, caramelized orange-tart, lukewarm little poppy cake on cumquat ragout, Crêpes with roasted almonds, orange creme and maple syrup, white chocolate mousse with orange crème, fowl curry with baked banana and roasted pineapple.” About $37 retail for the 2011 vintage
Crémant de Limoux from Côté Mas
Crémant de Limoux is comes from a tiny AOC in Languedoc, a slightly cooler spot near the Pyrenees where the grapes used in this bubbly are grown. Crémants in general have gained the interest of wine lovers in France and elsewhere, because they appear at a kind price point and are quite tasty and often high-quality. While the Mauzac grape is typical of Crémants de Limoux, Domaines Paul Mas has crafted a rosé made of 70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc, 10% Pinot Noir. “Domaines Paul Mas owns more than 600 hectares of vineyards, and work in partnership with grape growers across an additional 1312 hectares of vines. This means we have access to 40 different grape varieties, both local and international, as well as an incredible range of different terroirs in the Languedoc.” according to the domaine. Expect strawberry and hints of herbs, and bubbles. About $15 retail
Chardonnay from Hazelfern
Hazelfern is new to me this year, new to the scene in general. They started out garagiste-style, making Pinot Noir in their Portland basement. Motivated to hit the next level they moved out of town and into a farm space in the Chehalem (sha-hay-lem) Mountains above Newberg, Oregon. They’ve got a few wines in their pocket now, including this Chardonnay from two dry-farmed vineyards in the Willamette Valley. This wine gives off citrus and gentle florals, a light cream finish. My husband makes a wonderful dish of homemade pasta and mussels in white white and garlic. He puts a garlic baguette on the grill so we can dip into the sauce, missing not a drop. This is the wine for that particular dish. A tad in the meal, lots to drink with it. $34 from the estate
Enjoy the days and nights of the season, touched by sun and cooled by Spring breezes. Birds and bees, flowers and trees…and vineyards that begin to grow the wine of our future. Cheers to all of it, and happy spring.
Please note: I’ve received these wines as media samples, but have only stated my own impressions in this story.