- 2020 Schloss Vollrads Estate Riesling, Rheingau, Germany ($15.99@ Costco, California – Item #540982)
Sam Sifton of the New York Times Cooking site perfectly captured the holiday vibe for me when he wrote last week: “Thanksgiving isn’t just one day. It’s a season, an incantation, a way of thinking about the world. And for those of us at New York Times Cooking, the holiday begins now: three weeks of planning and shopping, cooking and baking, counting forks and knives and wondering if there will be enough room if your cousin from Seattle brings even more family along to the feast.” Like Sam, we are counting down three weeks to Thanksgiving by featuring a wine a week prior to the big day arriving.
Schloss Vollrads is the oldest continually run winery in the world, with a noble history in the wine trade dating to the year 1211. Located along the storied banks of Germany’s Rhine River valley, the estate draws on 200 acres of vines, planted exclusively to Riesling. Its ancient vineyards rise from the river on south-facing hillsides whose pitches range from gentle to dizzyingly steep, with slopes of up to 70 percent. Due to their superb terroirs, more than a quarter of the domaine’s holdings claim a Grosses Gewächs (Grand Cru) designation. These outstanding vineyards, and the talents of distinguished winemaker Dr. Rowald Hepp, result in brilliant Rieslings of crystalline purity and complexity.
Pours a light gold color. Enticing nose of apple, lemon and vanilla. Acidity and sweetness are in perfect balance. Fresh lime, minerality and juicy peach keep your mouth watering. So delicious it will be difficult to have just one glass. And that’s okay, because this wine clocks in a just 10% alcohol. Low ABV and high QPR – what’s not to like?
Riesling is without question Germany’s favorite grape. Widely planted, though once derided, Riesling is one of the superstars of the white wine world at the moment.
The grape originated in the Rhine region of Germany, and the best of them are said to grow along the banks of the Mosel River on the beautiful steep, south facing hills.
There are six categories of Riesling which indicate the ripeness of the grapes. Kabinett is considered “off-dry” and is a typically ripe grape. Spätlese is riper and therefor sweeter, and Auslese is even riper still. Beyond on that you have Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein (or ice wine), all getting sweeter, more viscous and more expensive. I would characterize this wine as medium sweet, even though the producer suggests it is a Trocken.
It’s a favorite in the food and beverage industry because of its willingness to play with a wide variety of foods, particular spicy dishes. The current Asian fusion boom is thought to have had a tremendous effect on Riesling’s popularity.
We’ll be back next week, with one final Thanksgiving wine pick. Until then, stay sane.
If you’re headed to Costco soon yourself, you can find our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list.
And if your shopping finds you at Trader Joe’s, you can find our Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine here.