The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2014

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8  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2014 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR "I would suggest the Riesling with that," says the waiter. "I don't want a sweet wine," the customer snorts. Riesling is having something of a renaissance in the U.S. wine market as more and more consumers are discovering the charms of this noble variety. Riesling sales are booming, but not as much as they might because of the dry/sweet problem. We know it's a Riesling because it comes in a "hock" bottle and says "Riesling" on the label. But is it sweet or dry or something in between? This conundrum has plagued wine drinkers for decades. Recognizing that problem in 2007, journalist Dan Berger and a number of Riesling producers got together and formed the International Riesling Foundation. The organization's priority was to provide an answer to this problem. How could producers indicate on their labels, in a clear and uniform way, the sweetness level of their Rieslings? The group came up with a gradated scale that goes from "Dry" to "Medium Dry" to "Medium Sweet" to "Sweet," reading left to right. Each of these categories is defined by a delimited range of sugar content. This is determined by the sugar to acid ratio. A ratio of 1.0 is dry; a ratio above 4.1 is considered sweet. The formula also allows for the influ- ence of pH. The idea is for the winery to put the scale on their wine's back label. Then, after the sweetness of the wine has been determined, a prominent arrow/triangle is placed above the scale to indicate the wine's level of sweetness. It's very simple, very easy to use and very easy to understand. Since its inception, millions of bottles have sported this useful graphic making the wine decision that much easier. The question is: Why doesn't every Riesling producer use the scale? I would guess that about half the Rieslings that I see do not use the scale. Why is this? Did those producers just not get the memo? Or are they purposely trying to befuddle their customers? Truth in labeling is a big consumer cause these days. People want to know as much about the content of the things they ingest as they can. You producers who aren't using the scale, get with the program. Use the scale! You'll feel better about yourself and you'll probably sell more wine. Tipping the Scale CONTRIBUTORS A born and raised New Yorker, Brian Friedman is proud to call NY his home, where he lives with his white minia- ture Schnauzer, Kennedy. Brian specializes in portraiture and event photography and has an extensive client list that includes iHeartRadio, Clearchannel Communications, NBC, CBS, 20th Century Fox and comedians Brian Regan and Bill Burr, to name a few. Brian's images have appeared in The N ew York Times, USA Today, People, Pl ayboy, The Economist and Pollstar among many others. Leslie Gevirtz has worked as a journal- ist for more than 20 years and has been writing about wines and spirits for the last six. She is more proud of her WSET Advanced Certificate than she is of her private pilot's license. And truth be told, has found it much more useful. Roger Morris specializes in food and travel and contributes regularly to about 20 publica- tions. Although a lifelong freelancer, he has been a full- time newspaperman, taught writing and film criticism at Arizona State University and was a PR and market- ing exec for a Fortune 20 industrial and pharmaceutical company. A resident of rural Pennsylvania, he travels on assignment most months to one of the world's wine regions. He likes hiking and once ran seven marathons before deciding enough is enough. His latest book, written with his photographer/painter wife, Ella, is The Brandywine Book of the Seasons. Vanessa Rogers is a fashion and lifestyle photog- rapher currently shooting in Miami, Florida and groomed in New York City. She shoots a wide range of subject matter including reportage, travel and food. She can be found at www.vanessarogers. com. TP0414_001-33.indd 8 3/21/14 11:52 AM

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