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!
Complex and inviting on the nose where subtle orange rind, almond, wild flower and creamy peach aromas are deftly woven together. Bright and rather effusive on entry, there’s a nice mineral note up front followed by bright if subtle peach and lemon flavors all layered over dried grass and pressed flowers aromas with a hint of honeycomb on the backend. This is rather powerful in the mouth with a suggestion of sweetness given the softness over the acid here, though this finishes quite dry with modest length to the spicy and floral inner mouth perfumes. Still it is a powerhouse and impressie and will no doubt improve in the cellar over the medium term. 90pts
Smelling a bit sweet and tense this offers up cool aromas of chalk, sweet pink grapefruit and meyer lemon, green tea and a hint of fennel. Entering the mouth with such a light and well balanced feel, this opens on the palate with hints of creamy apples, lemon curd and lime leaf layered over a subtle earthy cast. the acidity pops on the backend adding nervous energy to the mouth and adds detail to the precise citrus and tart apple flavors on the long and slightly salty finish. 89pts
Spicy on the nose with notes of pollen, a little tarriness, pistachios, and faint notes of honey layered over grilled pineapple fruit. Supple. smooth and large scaled filling the mouth with mineral laced flavors of honied lime and orange slices. The acidity is very well integrated here yet this is nicely edgy in the mouth with a lightly toasty tea like note on the backend leading to an intense if moderately long finish filled with white floral, chamomile and stony finish. 89pts
Lovely and fresh on the nose with wildflowers and hints of ginseng floating over a core of spicy apple and quince fruit. This is basically dry and the hint of sugar here just smooths out some fo the edges. Fairly mineral and apple flavored on the palate, there’s a nice polleny note adding some detail on the palate. The acidity is juicy and refreshing on the fairly complex and slightly herbal minty herb tinged and stony finish. Decisive in the mouth. 87pts
Complex aromas of butcher’s wax, nutty spice, dried peach and heather greet the nose. Not a big wine, this is smooth and supple at perfectly integrated today. There’s a lovely layering of flavors with a little dusty apple core and hints of polleny flowers forming the base with lifted lemon, lime leaf and a touch of salinity carrying the wine to the moderately long and fairly aromatic if not intense finish. This is delicious. 87pts
A bit autumnal and waxy on the nose with almost a hint of toasted coconut adding detail to the dried apple and apricot fruit. Just a hint of sugar softens the palate here, filled with fairly complex green tea and apple flavors along with hints of apricot marmalade and stony minerality al leading to a modest finish with hints of gummy orange candies and something vaguely toasty. 86pts
A bit waxy on the nose with with floral and spice notes framing a modest core of dusty white fruit. Supple and round in the mouth, this is easy going with mineral flecked golden apple flavors that are supported by firm yet integrated acidity. There’s a touch of mintiness in the mouth and hints of red berry fruits as well all leading to a clean, dry finish. 85pts