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Wine Pick of the Week

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September 18, 2014

Are you drinking enough riesling? This is a question we should ask ourselves daily. The noble grape produces wines that, like pinot noir, can transmit a sense of place. Eminently suited to cool sites, adaptable riesling has travelled the world: the biggest plantings are in Germany (more than 22,000 hectares), but it's also hugely important in Australia, where it's become the fifth most planted wine grape (4,500-plus hectares) since arriving in the early 19th century. Here are two very different wines that show off riesling's stylistic versatility.


St-Urbans-Hof Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett 2011

St-Urbans-Hof Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett 2011


Germany +310524

St. Urban is the patron saint of German winemakers, and when riesling is grown at 50 degrees north in Germany's steep-sided Mosel Valley region, saintly intervention is often wished for: the climate is unpredictable, and grapes need shelter, a good slope, proximity to the mirror-like river, and dark, heat-retaining slate soils to help them ripen to perfection. This beauty comes from the village of Ockfen, near the Saar River on a 50-degree sloped vineyard called Bockstein, known for intense, aromatic wines with a smoky, slate-like character. While there is a trend toward making drier wines in Germany, this bottle is wonderfully traditional, with an impeccable balance of off-dry citrus and peachy fruitiness, racy acidity, and a firm mineral stamp on a long finish that is both powerful and ethereal. Try it with a soft, creamy cheese; a buttery pâté; or the tried-but-true pairing of spicy exotic curries, stir-fries or hotpot.






Wolf Blass Gold Label Riesling 2011


Australia +287714

If you prefer your light whites dry and assertive, this exciting riesling from cool vineyards in South Australia is for you. Planted in the Barossa region over a hundred years ago by Silesian immigrants, the Eden and Clare valleys have become the spiritual home for dry, riveting wines that are completely distinct. Aromatic like its German counterparts, but with a haunting botanical note, Wolf Blass Gold Label is defined by lovely grapefruit and kaffir-lime flavours, spicy body, and a rapier slash of acidity. Dry and zesty, its persistent finish complements ginger scallops or lemongrass risotto.





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