Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Riesling and dry extract

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2010 Thirty Bench Triangle Vineyard Riesling | VQA Beamsville Bench

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2008 Vollenweider Riesling Kabinett | QmP Wolfer Goldgrube | Mosel

These wines illuminate the fact that for riesling, at least the great ones, the most important factor that determines its character is dry extract. The low alcohol, the aromatics, the acidity, the minerality . . . all these define riesling, but what truly separates the good from the grand is the dry extract you feel on the palate. That sappy structure that gives a tactile feeling to the acidity, as well as makes the minerality more than just this intangible thing everyone has problem describing.

Few rieslings in the world do dry extract as well as the Germans. We have an example here, with a Mosel, and what I think of as one of the best Niagara rieslings, a single vineyard riesling from Thirty Bench. While it's all correct with the Niagara wine, all lovely, delicate finesse, it just doesn't have that impact on the palate that the Vollenweider has. Why is that? Is it because most riesling producers are more focused on making dry wines? Afraid that consumers only find lean white wines acceptable?

Both were delicious. But the Mosel, just more so.

DF

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