Riesling has been the source of a great deal of contention of late. Two wine critics seem to rather handily summarize the entrenched positions on either side of the debate.
In this corner: Steve Heimoff firmly positions himself amidst the jeering masses that dislike Riesling, and resents wine cognoscenti’s insistence that it be appreciated.
And in this corner, after a lifetime of trying to spread the Gospel about its virtues, Jancis Robinson worships Riesling as king, but now frets over its ability to fulfill its destiny and claim its throne among world markets, particularly in light of recent contracting sales data.
Thinking aloud about what may be holding Riesling back, Jancis notes its strong characteristic “flavour” (unexplained in youthful Riesling, and described as petrol in older Riesling).
There’s no denying Riesling ages into a petrol aroma, but, let’s fill in the blank … that youthful flavor is one of fruitiness: a blessed, fulsome fruitiness.
If we agree to take German Mosel Valley Riesling — the most edgy and rocky of all Riesling terroirs — as a yardstick, the terroir typically expresses itself in a fairly limited set of aromatic profiles: “… the most typical blue slate fruit-driven character is typically apple, white peach, or — if ripe — yellow peach; red slate, by comparison, offers more brawny, spicy minerality, and occasionally tropical fruit”1.
As we’ll see shortly, however, this fulsome fruity blessing is equally its curse.
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- Quoth Ernst Loosen at an aged Auslese Tasting at Hearth, 9/15/2011, New York, NY [↩]