Thursday, December 29, 2011

white wine: minerality and focus


2008 Markus Molitor Riesling Spätlese | QmP Ürziger Würzgarten | Mosel


2009 Hess Select Chardonnay | Monterey

White wine is the best. You want to talk about transparency in wine . . . you want to talk about minerality; white wines can present that terroir expression faithfully, without all the fuss that plagues red wines (oak and low acid and all that).

I shouldn't be surprised, but these Mosel wines are absolutely singular in how they express where/when they were made. So much minerality in this wine it almost becomes a texture unto itself on the palate. Just breathtaking, how extracted and tangible the wine has captured its terroir. Markus Molitor likes more fruit in its wines, and they always seem to be made in a softer style (less aggressive acid), but this bottle is stunning.

With California chardonnay, is it fair to say that sometimes it's the $20-$25 wines that can actually be suitable to be drunk with food? I don't drink Californian wines because they're expensive for what they are (alcoholic marmalades), and of all the undrinkable elements of a wine, buttery/sickly sweet oak must be the worst of them all. This is a bit toned down, although not nearly as delicious as the S|K|N chardonnay we drank a few months ago. Deep gold, with that creamy oak, but balanced. Obvious, recognizable Cali chardonnay, but with decent acid and contained alcohol, not unpleasant.

A bit of a contrast, no? But then again, the human touch is also a part of terroir. There should be no contradiction - so long as the human touch is always working to express terroir first.


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