I'll be the first to admit that I don't know a lot about riesling. The grape has always been somewhat of a mystery to me, as one of the many wines that I thoroughly enjoy, yet not showing up on my radar enough to warrant frequent purchases. In the case of German examples, all too often I (and many others) are confused by the myriad words on each label, all seemingly full of "eich", "ich", "zelt" and "wein". Wait, that last one is pretty easy to figure out..Let's move on!
I'm fortunate to have two good friends, Dan and Chas of Wine is Serious Business, who happen to love riesling. These two willingly take a riesling luddite and coax me into exploring the grape more often. Tonight, after filming a show about Port, Dan graciously offered to open the following wine, a 2010 Weingut Ackermann Zeltinger Himmelreigh Mosel riesling. The first two words are the producer, Weingut Ackermann. They're small, and most people who know of them are the serious riesling-heads.
Luckily an importer called Teutonic Wine Company decided to bring in some of the Ackermann wines, benefiting people like Dan and by extension, me. If you're a riesling fanatic, or just a fan of unique, hard to find German wines, check out Teutonic Wine Co. and see what they do. Dan speaks highly of them and I have tons of respect for the little guys, bringing in the under-the-radar wines that frankly, we should all be seeking out.
Zeltinger Himmelreich is the name of the vineyard, and it's located in the Mosel region of Germany. Even with my limited knowledge, I recognize the Mosel as being one of the greatest places on the planet to grow riesling grapes. Clearly I have a lot of reading to do, but then again, what else is new? Quick aside: the more you learn about wine, the more you realize you don't know and might never learn.
This Mosel riesling pours a pale greenish-straw color into my Riedel. It's very pale and clear, no little bits floating about within the glass. The green is less pronounced towards the edges, where it becomes absolutely colorless and crystal clear.
I was able to detect notes of pineapple, lime juice, green apple, and a pleasing dose of limestone minerality on the nose. Not necessarily complex, but the Weingut Ackermann is very pleasing and enjoyable just to sniff. I noticed that as the wine warmed up a bit, some subtle hints of apricot also emerged, further enhancing the bouquet.
If you thought riesling was sweet, this one will change your mind, as well as blow it. It's wonderfully acidic, curling your lips back into a "riesling smile" as the acid dances along the edges of your tongue. Sweet apricots galore, pineapple, a laser beam of wet rock, and even a dash of peach nectar are all jumping around my palate. This isn't the most complex white wine or riesling I've had, but it's absolutely a smile-inducing drink. I love the finish in particular, the way each flavor seems to fold in on itself until you're left with a nice crisp ending to the taste. It lingers too! Easily a 20 second tail on this Ackermann bottling.
What then should I pair this with? I'd suggest almost anything, as the high acid here creates a clean flavor profile that will cleanse your palate of any vestiges of the last bite you ate. Me, I'd love to pair this with a citrus-marinated chicken breast, spicy Asian cuisine, or teriyaki glazed shrimp fresh off the grill.
The cost, according to Dan, was about $15. To me, that's a QPR-beater, more of a QPR-destroyer. If I paid $25 for this I'd be happy. That acid I referred to creates a wonderfully textured wine, one that you can sip for hours. At 9% alcohol, it shows just what can be done with white wines. No need for 15% sauvignon blanc crap here, this has every ounce the flavor and intrigue, if not more. I cannot recommend trying this wine enough, it's a B+ and a STRONG BUY, perhaps one of the best values I have tasted this entire year. As I noted, the Teutonic Wine Company imports this gem, produced by Weingut Ackermann. I believe it's worth stocking up on three or six bottles, to drink over the next few months whenever you want a clean, pure white wine with no pretension whatsoever.
This wine was shared with me by my friend Dan, I did not pay for it.