I recently updated a tired saying, effectively creating a new wine-ism for the ages. Here it is: “When life gives you global warming, don’t make Pinot… Make Riesling.”
What it lacks in catchiness, it offers in incisiveness. Global warming has been a boon for winemakers who grow Riesling grapes. Temperatures in the classic German and French growing regions of the Rheingau, Wachau and Alsace have risen by one degree over the past generation. This has meant healthier grapes and more consistently excellent wine. It also means that production has risen in the up-and-coming Riesling-growing regions – specifically our very own Niagara peninsula.
And praise the Lord for this lava-fying of Planet Earth! A carefully made Riesling is exciting: acidic, well-structured, balanced and complex. It’s among the most masculine white varietals and shows a Gary Oldman-esque versatility when it comes to food pairings. Also, you can score a terrific bottle for under $30 easily. My recommendations:
1. Cave Spring Estate Riesling 2007, from Niagara. 2007 was a banner vintage in Ontario. $17.95
2. Domaine Zind Humbrecht Riesling Clos Hauserer 2005, from Alsace. 2005 was to France what 2007 was to Ontario. A perfect vintage from the region that produces the highest expression of the Riesling grape. Big, powerful, smoky wine. $29.95
3. Max Ferd Richter Riesling Kabinett 2007, from Mosell/Saar/Ruwer, Germany. A brawny, ripe wine with smart, snappy acidity. $25.95
Enjoy. And please email me if you would like one of my “When life gives you global warming…” bumper stickers. I got drunk and ordered 700,000 of them.