2010 Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Riesling

We’ve been working on a miniature wine cellar in the house for about two months now. Since we started building a more extensive wine collection, including a selection from favorite producers to keep around for a decade or two, we’ve been carefully picking out wines and keeping track of the temperature in our closet to ensure that it keeps our wines at the perfect temperature. It’s pretty ideal so far, and is in a dark place away from sunlight, unexpected heat, or the roving paws of curious kittens. And we’ve been judicious about keeping our collection sealed…so far. When a selection of the 2010 Wiemer vintage came over a few weeks ago, I wanted to save a few for a rainy Riesling day but was too tempted by the weather! Read more of this post


2010 Hermann J. Wiemer Gewürztraminer

Last October, my girlfriend and I took a trip to the Finger Lakes to tour some of the wineries and do some research for a project I’d been working on. We stopped at a few different wineries but mainly went to check out the selection at Hermann J. Wiemer. We enjoyed an amazing weekend and even got to help harvest and process their latest batch of Pinor Noir grapes. A rousing time was had by all and we left with a mixed case of what I believe to definitively be some of the Finger Lake’s best wines, in quality and value. The 2008 Wiemer Semi-Dry Riesling and 2007 Wiemer Gewürztraminer rivaled some of the nicer Mosel wines I’ve had and the price, $18, just could not be beat. Read more of this post

2012 Mohegan Sun WineFest

Casinos are no strangers to entertaining events: whether you’re scoping out the buffet lines and catching The Family Stone (missing Sly) in concert or making big cash on the slot machines, there’s always something to check out. My home state hosts two of the world’s most famous casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Having enjoyed some events and restaurants there in the past, I was quite pumped to visit Mohegan and serve as a press correspondent for their annual Sun WineFest. Read more of this post

2012 Boston Wine Expo

Today we made a trip out to Boston to check out the 2012 Boston Wine Expo. The BWE has brought wine distributors, writers, and consumers together for the last twenty two years in the center of the city to drink, learn, and enjoy plenty of fascinating selections and nibbles from across the globe! This year’s selection of events featured seminars with speakers like Mark Oldman and Wine Spectator director of education Gloria Maroti Frazee and live cooking demonstrations by some of Boston’s best chefs. Read more of this post

2010 Frisk Prickly Riesling

No bubbly for us this year, at least none featured on this site. In true Nobly Rotten fashion, we’ve eschewed the champagne for a sparkling Riesling, an Australian offering described as “prickly.” Indeed, Frisk is a peppy send-off to a peppy year, and a fine way to celebrate the end and beginning of what should prove to be a successful year for the site. Frisk was recommended to me by a good friend’s father and seemed like an appropriate way to bade farewell to 2011 in the only way we know how: friskily and with a bit of gusto.

If you’ve heard the rendition of Aud Lang Syne hearkening back from the World War I era, “we’re here because we’re here because we’re here because we’re here,” originally sung by soldiers in the trenches in defiance to the destruction and horror of the war around them,  you have a good idea as to what Frisk evokes when consumed. Not to diminish the trials of war or to compare a simple Riesling to the death of an era, but Frisk seeks to redefine Riesling in a bold, but simple fashion and succeeds despite all odds. Frisk is here because it’s here, and although it’s got one foot in the Riesling door and the other in a handful of other varietals, it proves to be a starkly resilient wine in a world of classic Rieslings. Not that I’m not a fan of classic Rieslings, but Frisk is plucky without riding on its own marketing scheme to propel it. Read more of this post

2010 Willi Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett

Bargain bins get me every time. I’ll let you in on a little secret- I’m kind of glad that some of my local wine stores are less than well-versed in the art of deciphering German wine labels. I found this eye-raising gem in the “last of the summer wines” bin at an unnamed establishment for a mere $12 and snagged it immediately. Not that there was a whole lot of clamor for white wine in the middle of December, but you never know who’s scouting. Yup, dropped the ’47 Lafite right where I was standing and headed for this. Who needs Bordeaux when you’ve got Brauneberger Juffer?  Read more of this post

2010 Meli Dry Riesling

Some may bemoan the end of Riesling season. And to that, I say that some are uncreative and stuck in seasonal ruts. I’ve never been a Riesling summer, Burgundy winter kind of girl. Despite barbecue season coming to a close, I’m easing into winter with a whole slew of Riesling-focused recipes to accommodate my fetish for the grape. Granted, I’m handicapped in that living in New England gives me some leverage for spontanaeity- a still mid-November evening in the mid sixties following a freak snowstorm will do that for you.
Tonight, I cracked open this bottle, a 2010 from the Central Valley region of Chile, to enjoy with an impromptu picnic of sandwiches and a few apples. Thiswas one of the samples I received from Global Vineyard Wine Importers to taste. What I relish about Rieslings is the familiar, yet unexpected notes one can detect with a few sniffs. In this particular case, I encountered an expressive array of partially ripe apple, pear, and pineapple notes, fairly standard for a Riesling, with a slightly chalky scent. The wine was lush on the palate with a mid-range richness and a tapered, but sweet finish of cool slate on the back of the tongue. The wine has no residual sugar, a fact that is somewhat painfully obvious with each sip. It lacks the delicate balancing act of sweet and acidic that the Donnhoffs so skillfully execute and as a result of that, has a subdued and succinct flavor that leaves the palate far too quickly. While quenching, the severity of the acidity and austerity in this made it somewhat difficult to enjoy as an easy drinker.

To me, this is less the Cadillac of Rieslings than the Toyota Camry. It does everything it’s supposed to do and is fairly serviceable, blending in with others from its tier and never really standing out in a good or bad fashion. It carries the predictability and steady, if unimpressive functions of its vehicular counterpart and does the job well.I’d have no qualms finishing a bottle of this, or giving it as a hostess gift at a dinner or holiday party.

For its price, around $11, it’s a fairly decent alternative to the more commercialized Yellowtails and Franzias and allows you to explore the varietal quirks of the Riesling grape without breaking the bank on a Weingut Keller G-Max to serve with a rotisserie chicken. Personally, I’d rather spend twice that on a lesser known German Riesling, like the 2007 Selbach Oster Zeltiger Sonnenuhr Kab to get that mellifluous complexity, or the 2010 Peter Lauer Ayler Kupp. As I’ve mentioned, I like a little weird with my wine- too much is never enough. For drinking and drinking alone, it gets the job done, but outside of that realm, I can’t say I’m enamored.

2010 Meli Riesling
MSRP $11

2010 A.J. Adam Hofberg Riesling Kabinett

I’m a huge fan of oddities, and I’m a huge fan of deals. The wines from A.J. Adam include both. Adam’s vineyard is a little over a decade old and is producing some of the finest wines this side of the Mosel. I say that with a little over a decade’s experience of Riesling sampling under my belt. For starters, the 2010 vintage report for German Rieslings is said to be one of the most polarized vintages of the decade. These wines are superfreakier than Rick James himself and get down and dirty in record time. Tantalized by wines that are able to get a little freaky, I’ve already stored away a few ’10’s from Adam as well as Donnhoff, and I’m anxious to see how these mature. This is a producer to not only watch out for, but to purchase while the prices are low. At $33, it delivers some of the most bang for your buck that I’ve seen for a Riesling of its age.

In the words of The Simpsons, this wine is “groin-grabbingly transcendent.” It smells almost pubescent at first, not surprising considering it’s only about a year old. An amateur whiff finds this snappy and vibrant, a predominant waft of pineapple rising into the nostril. Sipping, though, allows the mask to recede. This is like drinking Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita. The mouthfeel is typical of a wine twice its age- lush and silky, but the flavor is youthful and vibrant with a curiously bracing acidity. This is a wine that holds nothing back, with an authoritative whip crack of acidity at the forefront of the palate and a shivering bite with each swallow. Each sip is cruel, but benevolent.This kab in particular starts out with a near-electric shock of the aforementioned sour bite, not a surprise considering its 10.8 grams of acidity, and ten, eleven seconds into the sip, just as you’re quietly considering spitting it out and putting a car battery to your tongue for a change of pace, it goes sweet on you, the acidity waning slightly (never entirely) to reveal a delicate, mineral-laden side not unlike a spatlese. What gives? This wine exhibits more of the warning signs of emotional abuse than Chris Brown does. And yet, it’s beautiful. It’s a monster, and a jacked one at that, but one that hides behind a glossy, perfect veneer. I couldn’t have seen this coming a mile away. Needless to say, this stomped on our pommes anna and laughed in the face of our lemon pepper roast chicken. Caveat emptor, this will be a tricky wine to pair food with because it dominates everything within a mile’s radius. But don’t let that deter you.
Terry Thiese says about this year’s vintage that “what’s good is absurdly good, and there are enough of them. What’s not good is a mess.” While this may seem like the potable equivalent of your ex-girlfriend, it’s not. It’s more multi-faceted, sharper, and likely has better tonguing action. Minutes after swallowing my last sip, I was feeling the aftermath of the acidity in the inside of my mouth and on the tip of my tongue. It’s just as good as any Donnhoff I’ve had, earning the rank of “best first impression” from a new German producer. Whether this consistency will span its other vintages, only time will tell. As far as these particular wines go, I have three of these in storage now and I am anxiously awaiting the next opportunity to crack one open. Whether that will be one, five, or ten years in the future is yet to be determined, but I’m confident that these can only get more quixotic and brash as the years go on.

2010 A.J. Adam Hofberg Riesling Kabinett
MSRP $32.95