Alsace Riesling

Not all riesling is created equally. Some are ready for prime time today.


Every year around this time we all begin to trot out our picks for the holidays, beginning of course with Thanksgiving. Riesling is a perennial favorite of wine recommenders everywhere, thinking that A) all Riesling is sweet and B) all thanksgivings meals are leaden and dull and topped with flaming marshmallows and burnt candy.

Now, before you get your panties all in a bunch, I will recognize that Thanksgiving dinners are inherently sweet. Sweet with natural sweetness brought to the table in the form of roasted squash and pumpkin with hints of sweetness from cranberries and apples tucked delicately into stuffings. The days of sugary sweet Thanksgiving repasts are fading quickly into the rearview, replaced with heirloom turkeys and farm to table cuisine.

I of course digress, my point being that today’s Thanksgivings, while retaining their sweet accents are more and more about the savory elements of the meal. Rich turkey flavors from delicious heirloom breeds. Yes I succumb as well. Roasted brussel sprouts flecked with bacon. sausage stuffing with sage and tart apples. It is a spectacular meal and one well suited to Riesling, but offering a general and vague recommendation of Riesling is not a solution here. Riesling is not a one size fits all wine and the differences between dinner with a bone dry option from Australia or a saccharin sweet Auslese could be the difference between having friends the day following the holiday and not, 
So here’s a tip for you. Try Alsatian Riesling for the holidays. often knocked for the stand apart style, Alsatian rieslings like most Alsacien wines, are a bit big for the breed. they are sweet, but not aggressively so and favor the savory elements inherent in their terroir as much as the fruit. There is a spiciness that runs through many of these wines that along with the hint of sweetness and overall size and impressive intensity of the wines makes them ideally suited for the modern thanksgiving day feast!

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Top Alsace Riesling tasted 10/13

Domaine Weinbach Riesling Reserve Personelle (2011)
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Alsace Willm Riesling (2011)
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Trimbach Riesling Alsace (2009)
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Eugene Klipfel Wine Riesling Cuvee Pariculiere (2011)
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Pierre Sparr Riesling (2009)
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