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Posts Tagged ‘Riesling’

2011 Leeuwin Art Series Riesling

In Drinking, Riesling on July 22, 2013 at 6:06 pm

leeuwin riesling

In a country the size of the Continental United States, salve 90% of the population lives within ten miles of the coast.  What does this mean?

The surf’s up, patient the barbie is hot, and the Riesling is cool and dry.

Yes, it is true.  Australia is a nation of barbequing surfers that pounds dry Riesling.

Why?  Because Riesling, DRY Riesling, is the perfect match for so many foods – grilled shrimp, lobster, fish of any kind of course but also pork, chicken, beef, kangaroo, walabi  (ok, not really on those last two) marinated with whatever you want – satay, tandoori, teriyaki, American KC BBQ, smoky and sweet sauce, honey mustard, or even béarnaise.  Australian Riesling does it all.

To be clear: any food you are grilling, Australian Riesling is a perfect pairing.

But here is the big, BIG, hurdle for Americans to get over.  Australian Riesling is dry.  DRY.  Meaning not sweet.  No sugar.  We tend to think all Riesling is German, and all German wine is sweet.  Both assumptions are incorrect.  Riesling is just a grape like Chardonnay or Cabernet.  And just like those grapes the resulting wine can be sweet or dry.

And if you have never had dry Riesling, it’s time to come and get some:

The Leeuwin Art Series Riesling practically bursts from the glass with a fragrant and bright bouquet of citrus and tropical fruits.  Orange blossom, lemon zest, kaffir lime leaf, and pineapple intermingle with underlying suggestions of frangipani, passion fruit and lively minerality.  Its complexity is frankly stunning.

Once again, and I can’t say it enough, on the palate the wine is dry.  Think of yourself as a patriotic Aussie – you could drink that Kiwi trash of dry Sauvignon Blanc but why when your own DRY Rieslings are so much better?

And the Leeuwin shows this superbly on the palate: its taut and energetic focus reveals the intensity and drive of a great wine.  There is nothing that is more refreshingly crisp yet delightfully full of flavor as a dry Riesling.  And this crisp energy is what makes it a perfect pairing with nearly all foods, yet also perfect as a cocktail.  It leaves the palate willing you to drink more.

The Leeuwin family has been making wine in Margaret River Australia for over forty years.  There, their wines are famous and prized.  Yet the family also realizes dry Australian Riesling might be a new experience for most Americans.  Hence, a reduced price for their new American friends.  It’s time to show them what we can do – let’s drink all we can.

Please contact us regarding pricing and availability: sommelier@waterfordwine.com or 414-289-9463.

In the Spice Garden of Urzig: Loosen Riesling

In Drinking, Riesling on May 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Long ago, here in a country far, mind far away; called Germany, order great wines were produced. 

And then the Huns thought they could one-up nature and pissed all the greatness away; swaddling the wines under the diaper of Pradikat levels, drowning them in cough syrup like sweetness, and debasing them with false advertising on their labels. 

The Germans did it to themselves.  Destroying one of the richest wine growing traditions on the planet, they did it all for money.   

Back in the 1970s the world, especially the United States, drank mostly sweet white wines.  Exploiting this, industrial sized bulk German wine producers pushed for and got a complicated set of legal reforms.  Stripped from prominence were traditional, Einzellagen, or vineyards, and put in their place were “Pradikat” levels.

Pradikat is a measurement of liquid weight, specifically of a wine’s liquid weight.  The more extracts in the solution, including sugar, the higher the weight.  Passing a set of codified Pradikat levels the German wine lobby hoped to capitalize on the then worldly impression of the sweeter the better.  But you can already see their petard: sugar doesn’t equal good. 

The Germans didn’t stop there though. 

Known for producing great wine for nearly 2,000 years, the last forty years have seen the Einzellagen cheapened to near extinction.  Taking advantage of these famous vineyards, German’s invented a set of ulterior names, called Grosslagen, or “counties”, strictly for marketing purposes.  Thus, Piesporter Michelsberg is an inferior Grosslagen knock-off, riding the coat-tails of the great Piesporter Goldtropfchen vineyard, a site whose wine’s greatness is first documented by Pliny the elder in 20 AD.

Just like in Burgundy, or Napa Valley, or Barolo, or any other famous wine growing region of the world, the vineyard site makes the wine.  And in Germany, even if the Germans choose to ignore it, this is an even stronger truth because of Riesling.   

Riesling creates the purest of all wines because it always shows where it is grown.  Think of the drama if the simple garden tomato did the same thing!  If you and I each planted tomatoes, watered them, fertilized them and grew them the same.  But my tomatoes tasted of oregano, green peppers and mint whereas your tomatoes were sweet like cherries.  Seeing nature transformed by a grape vine is one of humankind’s great accomplishments.  And this is why Germany’s Einzellagen Rieslings are so very important, particularly the Wurzgarten.  

Dr. Loosen’s Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese bares the adulterated label because by law it has too.  Urziger is the county name, Spatlese is the Pradikat condition, and Wurzgarten is the famous Einzellagen. 

Wurzgarten (pronounced VERTS-garten) means “spice garden” and the name directly relates to the wine.  In Dr. Loosen’s Wurzgarten the aromas burst from the glass with exotic, tropical spice aromas of kiwi, passion fruit, strawberries, tamarind and coconut.  It is one of the steepest vineyards in all the Mosel, creating wines of punctuating depth and power.  Wurzgarten is also home to some of the oldest vines in Germany, now reaching almost to a century and a half, creating wines whose finish can be tasted minutes after the last glass is tasted. 

Loosen’s Wurzgarten is “fruity” in the sense that almost all wine, including red wine, purchased in grocery stores is fruity – the primary taste of the wine is its enjoyable fruit flavors.  These flavors are balanced by the freshness of acidity.  Balance is always the key to enjoying fruity wines and no wine-maker does it better than Ernie Loosen.   

A perfect pairing for Easter Ham (if you aren’t joining those of us in Italy eating lamb) Dr. Loosen’s Wurzgarten Riesling harkens back to a time when German wines were truly great. 

2009 Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese

Suggested List Price:  $31.99

Special price via this email:  $24.99

Join us, on this Friday and Saturday, when we will be pouring this wine, making Manhattans, and celebrating Easter in Italy, all at the same time! 

Cheers!

All orders must be secured with a name, credit card number, and phone number.  All orders will be available at the time of purchase.  Half case (5%) and full case discounts (10%) do apply to this special offer.

When the wine is ordered your credit card will be charged.  The wine will be held in climate controlled conditions until you are ready to pick it up, free of charge.  Offer is good while supplies last.

Roasted savory-spiced sweet potatoes

In Eating, Sweet Potatoes on November 7, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Bringing an enormous change in vegetables fall in Wisconsin can be both a blessing and a curse.  Finally coming into season is a whole new set of food-stuffs, rx and that delectable variation is a blessing to us gourmands.  But out going are all the beauties of summer – the jovially over ripe-to-bursting tomatoes, patient the sappy sunshine sweetness of local corn, the tender, final leaves of bitter greens – not to be seen again for almost a whole year. 

The most prominent of Wisconsin’s coming comestibles is our plethora of root vegetables.  And with these root vegetables out comes my food mill.  Yes, that’s right, I love to puree.

My love of puree may come from being trained at a French cooking school or it may be a fleeting memory of my days as a toddler.  Whatever the case may be I often can’t stop myself – potatoes, butternut squash, chestnuts, eggplant, fava beans – you name it and I am ready to turn it into mush. 

The problem with French-styled-mush (a.k.a. puree) is the calories.  To obtain the silky, savory yet succulent consistency I so desire requires butter and cream, and usually massive amounts of it. 

Like some chefs I could resort to all sorts of chicanery to cut the butter and cream thereby reducing calories.  But that makes me feel like a fake and who wants to eat mock puree from a calorie charlatan?

The answer is to change the method – yes, give up my beloved puree – in favor of chiseling down my pulchritudinous, beauteous and slightly robust figure!  And roasting those potatoes is just the trick! 

Wine pairing

Although at first taste chili powder may not imply a French wine I just couldn’t help myself.  The peppery pungency of the spices, the funky herb not of the sage, the touch of fruit acrid-ness from the olive oil – I reached for (and imbibed) the Les Egreves Syrah from Christine Pochon.  The black pepper of the syrah, the loam notes from the hint of Merlot blended in, and the quick, bright French-styled acid finish brought out the best in both food and wine!

Ingredients

Serves two people as a side course (the recipe is easily scaled to larger portions) and is approximately 200 calories per person.

10 oz (approximately 2)            sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼” thick wheels

1 tbs.                                        chili powder

5 cloves                                    garlic, chopped fine

1 tbs.                                        olive oil

5 leaves                                    sage, julienned

to taste                                     salt

to taste                                     black pepper

Method

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2.  Place cut sweet potatoes in a bowl, toss with chili powder, then garlic.  Toss continuously while pouring on olive oil to ensure an even distribution.  Then finish with the sage, salt and black pepper. 

3.  Place sweet potato mixture on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle.  Serve!

Flavor Building & Variations

1.  Render one slice of pancetta per sweet potato in the pre-heated 350 degree oven.  Drain off fat, chop fine.  Just before serving sprinkle pancetta onto sweet potatoes.  Adds about 200 calories per person but really brings out the meaty boldness of the Les Engreves Syrah. 

2.  To complete the meal roast a chicken and sauté some spinach with garlic in olive oil.  While the chicken is roasted complete the sweet potato recipe.  Plate all together and serve! 

3.  Remove the sage from the recipe and replace with the zest of one lime per sweet potato.  Continue with recipe as noted.  Just before serving squeeze the juice of a lime onto the sweet potatoes. 

With this zippy addition I would recommend switching to Grosset’s Polish Hill Riesling.  Bright and racy in its youth (it is a totally dry wine) it brings out the limey and spice notes of the dish.  If you happen to have an older vintage the textural weight pulls up some of the creamy consistency of the sweet potatoes.  While any dry Australian Riesling will do the trick, Grosset’s will send you over the top!

4.  This works especially well with variation three, but can be used for any of them. 

Sautee a 6 oz piece of Halibut in olive oil with each portion of the sweet potatoes.  When finished plate on top and serve!

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