Our blind tasting panel—which included a gifted wine maker and taster from South Africa, found 2 wonderful white wines from the 7 we tasted. One tuned out to be a fruit drenched, just off-dry Riesling from the hottest young grower in Germany: Tim Schafer-Frohlich who owns vineyards in the small but important village of the Nahe which is sandwiched between the Rhinegau and Mosel. We have offered the superb Rieslings from the Nahe’s other great grower, Helmut Donnhoff in previous postings. (Think of Coche-Dury and Comte Lafon in Meursault as a frame of reference for just how good the wines from these 2 guys in the Nahe are.) It was not difficult for the panel to “guess” the grape. This was pure Riesling with a fabulous bouquet of ripe pears, apple and salty minerals. The ability of Riesling grown in the right places and handled by real experts to produce exciting yin/yang contrasts such as sweet and tart, ripe and salty, rich and delicate is nothing short of extraordinary. I can think of no other white wine grape which can match Riesling in its ability to produce such an array of harmoniously contrasting sensory qualities. As good as the wine was on the nose it was even better on the palate. Lush yet restrained fruit was the focal point of the wine supported but terrific bright, dancing acidity and a chewy, mineral suffused texture which gave the wine depth and length. Everyone agreed that the harmony of these flavor and textural aspects of the wine gave a special place in our affections. Foods for such a delicious wine? Salty cheeses, Asian cuisines of all stripes, caramelized scallops, butter poached lobster, even duck confit. And when you see the price of the wine you will quickly realize that you can afford the most expensive day-boat scallops for your weekend feast.
Bob Millman, New York Vintners