Welcome to the third installment of Thirsty Thursdays! Every week I will select a wine and review it. (There will be no consistent rhyme or reason for picking the wine; presume I chose each bottle on a whim. And, no, I am not receiving compensation for these reviews). I will rate the wine on a four glass rubric because a properly poured glass of wine is 6.25 oz, ensuring that each 750 ml bottle fills four glasses. (This haphazard logic makes sense, right?!)…
This week's review is dedicated to Melissa over at i swim for oceans -- it is her birthday week after all! She mentioned that her favourite is Castello del Poggio Moscato d'Asti--
but I could not find this particular wine --
So, instead, knowing that she likes sweet white wines, I chose the 2008 Cave Spring Riesling -- A sweeter tasting white wine from the Niagara peninsula in Canada. Before I go into my tasting, you may wonder what makes me think I can review a wine. Please find my justification/plea here.http://www.cavespringcellars.com/sites/cavespring.ca/themes/cave_spring/images/Cave-Spring-Cellars.Fine-Niagara-Wine.jpg
Below is the profile and tasting notes directly from the Cave Spring website:
Profile: Within Niagara, the noble Riesling grape develops to its fullest potential only in specific areas. We have crafted this wine from selected vineyards throughout our region, where limestone-clay soils, elevation and moderating breezes from Lake Ontario have combined to create a medium dry Riesling with an impeccable balance of lush fruit character and vibrant acidity.
Tasting Notes:Aromas of Golden Delicious apple and peach, with scents of apricot, ruby grapefruit and anise; the palate starts out medium dry and racy with ripe apple fruit; the middle is rich, dense and juicy, underpinned by ripe yellow plum fruit and crystalline textures throughout; notes of spice and grapefruit rind carry long onto the finish (9/08).
Again, before I delve into my thoughts for this lovely white wine, a brief review of how a proper tasting should look:
A proper Wine Tasting starts with smelling the wine. This process looks ridiculous! You take a brief first sniff, then pull the glass away and swirl it like a snob, (look for legs, viscosity, colour, etc.) then stick your big noggin right in there and inhale like it’s your last breath. And THEN you take the first sip, and pull it through your teeth. Also looks ridiculous! Swallow. (Sounds obvious I know…).Take your second sip. During this sip, you swoosh the wine like it is toothpaste you’re trying to wash out of your mouth. Please don’t spit it out, though, unless there’s a bucket and you’re expected to! Finally, that third sip you hold on to and savor – and finally…swallow. It is this final sip that tells for sure if the wine is going to be good.
The Riesling variety originates from Germany's Rhein and Mosel river valleys. It is a grape variety that can produce a variety of wine styles, from dry to sweet in flavour; and from light to full in body (About.com). The Riesling is boasting a new-found popularity in North America.
Okay, so as I've said, I am not a white wine drinker, though when presented with either no drink, or a glass of white, I'll totally take the glass of white. It's not that I dislike the taste of white wine. I just really love the way red wine tastes and affects me: one sip warms me; the alcoholic heat slowly oozes from the top of my head right down to my toes, and gives me a glow and lightness like nothing else. It is my romance in a bottle. (No, I swear, I do not have a problem...but I could -- :-))!
Anyway(s), admittedly, I will drink and can even enjoy white wine. But I have only had Rieslings on occasion. So tonight, when I took my first sip of this wine, I was very much taken off guard. I expected sweet. Full stop. Sweet. What I got instead was sour. It was tart! Even during the very first sip, my saliva glands instantly started pumping rather aggressively to save my taste buds from the tang. Whew. Shocking! Even after the mandatory three sip taste test, this wine is still very tart. My memory of Rieslings was that of a much sweeter wine. I am wondering if I was thinking of Gewurztraminer (?) -- or have I had one of the sweeter Rieslings? I am going to have to do some investigating -- I must taste a few Rieslings and get to the bottom of this mystery!
Regardless, as I have mentioned, Niagara is infamous for its Rieslings, so I better be careful not to lead you astray: the wine is good! Just not what I had expected. During the tasting I did note a few important points: Its colour is a pail, flat yellow (almost golden) and it is medium in body. It has a very light citric, apple aroma. When I sip it, though, all I notice is the grapefruit taste. While there are other citric-y and fruity influences, the predominant taste is grapefruit. When Cave Spring says the grapefruit flavour carries long onto the finish, they are not lying. And I do love grapefruit -- so I enjoy this wine. Maybe I should drink it with my breakfast (since that's when I love my citric -- you know, kind of like a mimosa -- it could be a new and fashionable buffet beverage!... -- nevermind).
A Riesling, like most white wines, pairs nicely with fish; in particular, it will taste good with shellfish or a mild white fish. Because there is a range of Riesling varieties, it is a versatile wine and can be paired with many foods, from creamy, fatty dishes and cheeses, to sweet, berry influenced desserts. It also tastes good with ham or pork. Its lightness makes it a great aperitif as well.
I would recommend the Cave Spring Riesling be paired with a good roasted honey ham at Thanksgiving dinner. It's light golden colour is perfect for the season, and its tartness would complement the sweet honey ham beautifully. It is a relatively inexpensive wine (CAD 14.95), so one does not feel so badly when Uncle Eddie drinks more than his share (I know I know, that's Christmas Vacation, but you get the sentiment, right?). AND - while it is relatively inexpensive, its flavour is still robust and opulent. To be enjoyed responsibly.
I will give this wine two Riedel Vinum Rheingau/Riesling glasses out of four. It's okay--for my taste buds, anyhow!
p.s. Once you're done deciding if the Riesling is the wine for you, head on over to Beach Eats and see the spicy concoction she has created for her Thirsty Thursday!