Clean Slate riesling mini-review

5 12 2013

Tonight we check out a 2011 riesling from Mosel, Germany that I bought for $12.

OK this one is interesting.  Riesling can be teeth-shatteringly sweet, but Clean Slate strikes a nice balance.  The label is cool.  The “slate” in the name promises minerality.  Hey, I love minerality.  And alcohol is 10.5%.  That’s more than some rieslings, which can have as little as 7.5% alcohol. Read the rest of this entry »





urban riesling review: Yavolt!

31 07 2011

urban riesling reviewHello!  Today we review a 2010 riesling from Germany that I discovered for $10 at Wilmington Delaware’s excellent Premier Wine.

“Urban” in German means polite, with good manners.  Works for me:  urban riesling is absolutely civil, especially on one of this summer’s hot days.  Although it smells like peaches and honey, it’s on the dry side of sweet.  Definitely not ooey-gooey.  In your mouth it delivers smooth melon, a very light tangy snap, and a hint of stone.  Perfect by itself or with spicy food, pizza, even with dessert. 

The bottle and label are retro-German stylish, as if you’re holding a prop from a high-society European scene in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.  Urban is not a “huge wow” wine, but at $10, this well-mannered and delicious refresher is:

Recommended.

P.S. Although Sgt. Schultz on Hogan’s Heroes sounded like he was answering commands with “yavolt,” it appears that the German word is “Jawohl.”





flipflop riesling review: kick back and have a sip

23 05 2011

Today we review a 2009 riesling from Washington State that costs $7.

Hi!  Today’s burning question:  “At this low price, how good can it be?”  I’m happy to report that this wine with the carefree name is officially “really good.” Yes, it’s fairly sweet, but it’s less sweet than most rieslings.  That’s cool.  It’s fun, light, and it doesn’t do anything wrong.  With flavors of melon and peach, flipflop riesling is pretty much the ultimate party wine.

That’s good.  But there’s more.  Flipflop is actually kind of a big deal, because this $7 wonder is just as good as the Mack Daddy of affordable riesling, Chateau Ste. Michelle, which is also a bargain but costs a bit more than flipflop.   

In fact, the only disappointing thing about this bottle for me was the grammatically challenged slogan, “to each, their own.”  A little singular/plural issue there.  Oh well – I’m glad they are making wine at flipflop, and not worrying about grammar. 

flipflop riesling reviewRecommended, and, hereby awarded a Best Value designation.





Chateau Ste. Michelle Harvest Select riesling review

23 06 2010

We have called Chateau Ste. Michelle riesling from Washington state the “king” of inexpensive U.S. rieslings.  Today we review an “upgrade” to the king called Harvest Select, which sells for $10.

Before we begin, let’s talk about something important:  if you like sweeter wines, you should definitely be aware of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s “plain” riesling.  Selling at Total Wine for just $8, this stuff is a big deal because it is very drinkable, even for people who don’t usually drink wine, YET it is also very servable because it qualifies as “real wine” in snob circles.

Now, for 2 more dollars, you can buy the Harvest Select.  Mmmm, “Harvest Select”. . . the name just reeks of exclusivity — so wine country, so authentic, so, upper crust.  Unfortunately, if you buy this thinking, you have been fooled.   To be fair, the Harvest Select is an upgrade in one way: it has no troubling flavors at all.  The plain Chateau Ste. Michelle riesling cannot make this statement.  You could also argue that the Harvest Select’s sweet flavors are higher quality, more interesting, more umm. . . upper crust, than the plain riesling’s. 

But the plain version is more balanced.  Its awkward notes provide a little acidity and tartness.  Balance is where the Harvest Select falls on its sugary face.  There isn’t much to counter its powerful, heavy sweetness.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not terrible wine at all.  But my reaction, and the overall reaction at a recent wine tasting, was that it is too sweet and not interesting enough when compared with other wines in this price range.

Next!





Bree riesling review

3 06 2010

Today we will review Bree riesling from Germany, which I found at Total Wine for $12.

Rieslings are usually sweet — even “dry rieslings” are sweet to me — and this one is no exception, although it is less sweet than many other rieslings under $20.

The key word here is balance.  Bree is light, a bit sweet, and a little bit tart, both in subtle ways.  It doesn’t reach out and grab you like a super-tart sauvignon blanc.  Instead, it just waits there quietly and invites you back for another sip.  True, Bree is not very complex.  But if you want a complex wine, you normally won’t go for a riesling anyway.  Somebody who is just beginning to experiment with wine will probably find Bree riesling to be an easy and especially enjoyable introduction.

Comparing this German white to the King of Inexpensive U.S. Rieslings, Chateau Ste. Michelle (now only $8), the Bree comes out ahead.  The Bree tasted more balanced, and lighter.  It also felt consistent and whole.  In comparison, the Chateau Ste. Michelle tasted heavy and had some non-sweet flavors that “stuck out”.  These results make sense if you believe the conventional wisdom that Germany is THE place to go for riesling.  However, Bree is a full 50% more expensive, so it’s not really a fair comparison.  On its own, the Chateau Ste. Michelle still works. 

Finally, I was blown away by the bottle.  It seems like it should hold $80 worth of vodka rather than $12 of white wine.

Recommended!

Bree riesling review