Tuesday, September 23, 2008

August Kesseler Kabinett Riesling - Trocken (2005)

My love of beer started when I studied in Germany (Reutlingen, to be specific) in the spring of 1999. Yet while many associate Germany with beer, they also have a proud winemaking tradition. As such, I quickly became familiar with German wine, and particularly the ubiquitous Riesling. The funny thing is while Americans generally associate Rieslings with sweet wines, there are many excellent dry (Trocken) or semi-dry (Halbtrocken) Rieslings available at your local Getränkmarkt. I much prefer the crisp, dry varieties, which unfortunately means taking more time and spending more money here in the States.

Tonight Leah made some Hühner (chicken) Schnitzel mit Spätzle for dinner, and while I had a couple bottles of Left Hand Oktoberfest Märzen in the fridge I decided to finally bust open my bottle of August Kesseler Kabinett Riesling (Trocken) that I've been sitting on seemingly forever. See, here's the problem... White wines need to be refrigerated, and I generally don't think far enough ahead to throw the wine in the fridge ahead of time. Plus, we generally only drink wines with Italian food, and that generally dictates red wine. So the end result is we've had this bottle of Reisling for at least a year. And the problem with that is while we kept it down in the basement it still wasn't optimal conditions during the summer. Nonetheless I'll go ahead and review it with the caveat that it probably hasn't aged as well as it would have in a proper cellar.

The good news was when I poured it in my glass there wasn't anything noticeably offensive. It didn't have that nasty vinegar smell or that sickly sweet communion wine smell. Apparently it aged well considering the conditions. It had that tangy sweet, floral, cidery smell I associate with Rielslings. Upon taking a sip it was clean up front, with an acidic tartness giving way to your traditional Riesling sweetness of grape skins and green apple. Typical of a trocken Riesling, the sweetness was subdued. My one criticism of this wine would be that it didn't have that crisp finish I look for in a dry Riesling. It dried out a little with a slight alcohol burn but still left a tart sweetness on the back of my tongue. The problem is that I'm not sure if the residual sweetness is the result of improper storage. Overall, I found this to be a solid wine so I'll give it one more shot and try to drink it fresh next time. For now, however, on the patented Chibebräu Wine scale (skip it, only if it's on sale, or buy it again), I'll have to rate this one: only if it's on sale. Stay tuned for an updated review should I purchase this wine again.

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