The SOMM Journal

August/September 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 23 of 119

24 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014 { one woman's view } I AM JUST BACK FROM THE INTERNATIONAL RIESLING SYMPOSIUM in the Rheingau—a phenomenal event and one that enlightened me about a lot of things (more on this in a minute). But the overarching feeling I came away with was frustration . . . maybe even outrage. Over the two days, some of the most brilliant wines in the world were poured—including 70-year-old Rieslings made in the 1940s, just before the end of the war, when the vineyards were worked mostly by women and children. In the midst of these rare and magnificent wines, along with scores of current vin - tages from the top estates, what was the conversation about? The misperception that Riesling is a sweet wine. I, for one, am so tired of that endless conversation. It's begun to be self-reinforcing and self-perpetuating. Worst of all, by constantly fretting over the topic of Riesling's sweetness, the really impor - tant conversations about Riesling don't take place. What about beauty? Or precision? Or elegance? What about unstoppable kinetic energy? What about the idea that Riesling has what might be the most intense flavor impact for the lowest amount of alcohol of any wine in the world? Any of these are, I think, important ideas to discuss, to share, to turn other people onto. But no, Riesling talk is always mired down in the black hole of sweetness. If I were Riesling, I'd scream. Yes, of course there are people who think all Riesling is sweet. Possibly the same people who think cheap Chardonnay with "subliminal fructose" (a Jess Jackson term) is dry. And the same people who think nothing of the nearly Sauternes-level of sweetness in cola (~110 grams per can). So what? Sweetness is confusing. Everyone knows that. For my part, I don't pay attention. I just hand the Riesling-wary person a glass of really good Riesling and ask them to taste one of the world's most sensational wines. All of us have been turned on to wines we did not understand, simply because someone asked us to taste those wines. That's how wine appreciation works, and how wine knowledge slowly begins. If I Were Riesling, I'd Scream In a glass of Riesling from Künstler, Dönnhoff, Dr. Loosen, Robert Weil, Willi Schaefer, Selbach-Oster and so many others, lie the "answers" and the proof. We just have to open those magnificent bottles and get Riesling into more peoples' hands. story and photos by Karen MacNeil Ernst Loosen (of Dr. Loosen) with author Karen MacNeil. "Riesling is about precision, beauty and elegance." PHOTO: KIRK WILLE

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The SOMM Journal - August/September 2014