The heat and humidity were relentless this weekend and mercilessly attached itself to every fiber of my being. As the sun finally made its way slowly over the horizon on Saturday evening, my thoughts turned to opening a cool and refreshing bottle of wine. Thankfully, I always keep several bottles in the refrigerator and my choice on this sultry evening was easy. I opted for the ‘Nik Weis Selection’ Urban Riesling.
Nik Weis, proprietor and winemaker, is the third generation to run Weingut St. Urbans-Hof, which was founded by his grandfather, Nicolaus Weis, in 1947. The estate is named after St. Urban, the patron saint of vineyard workers and winemakers. Located in the Mosel Valley, in an area called Leiwen, St. Urbans-Hof is considered one of Germany’s premier estates with 40 hectares of vineyards.
Nik created ‘Urban’ a few years ago, using grapes sourced from nearby non-estate blue slate vineyards of excellent quality. The blue slate soil retains heat from the sun, protecting the vines in this cool climate region. And, the stony slate gives the Urban Rieslings a unique and delicate balance of acidity, minerality and juicy sweetness.
The 2016 Urban Riesling made me sit up and pay attention. This is a lively wine! It is the color of pale straw with inviting aromas of apple, lime, pear, pineapple and floral notes. The palate offers succulent flavors of peach, pear, lime and green apple with subtle hints of blue slate that blend beautifully, leaving a very pleasant and mid to long finish. The Urban Riesling is perfectly balanced, refreshing and graceful with just the right amount of sweetness. I served it as an aperitif, but needless to say, this wine is food friendly and can be paired with many types of cuisine.
I need to stock up on more Urban Rieslings! Yummy!
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It was a flurry of activity this past weekend, catching meals on the run and quick get-togethers with family and friends.
However, I did manage to find a little time to taste a delicious 2014 Vidal Riesling from Marlborough, New Zealand. Although Riesling originated in Germany, the grape is grown worldwide and has become the fourth most popular white varietal planted in New Zealand. 85% of Riesling grown in New Zealand is in the South Island wine regions of Nelson, Marlborough, Waipara Valley and Central Otago.
The grapes for the Vidal Riesling were sourced from the Awatere, central Wairau Valley and Wairau finger valley of Waihopai.
This 100% Riesling is dry with seductive aromas of tropical fruit, floral and apple. Juicy flavors of citrus, lime and floral continue onto the palate. This is a lively and crisp wine that is beautifully balanced. The food pairings are endless!
I don’t think that Vidal Riesling is available in the USA. My friend picked up a few bottles while in NZ. I will certainly give you an update if I do find it!
As I still have much to do before Monday, this is a short post today.
Since it’s “Wine Wednesday” I thought I would mention a very nice wine that I tasted recently while visiting with a friend.
It was one of those sultry late afternoons that we’ve been experiencing of late and we were both in the mood for a cold refreshment. He happened to have a 2013 Leitz “Dragonstone” Riesling on ice. This wine comes from the Rheingau region of Germany and is 100% Riesling.
The aromas were intoxicating with sweet fruits, lemon and a touch of floral. The palate went from sweet to piquant quickly and was beautifully balanced. A touch of herbs and tart apples lingered on. It was the perfect wine to end the day and begin the evening! Check out the winery’s website. http://www.leitz-wein.de/en/
Here’s a little tidbit: Although Riesling is grown worldwide, the grape originated in Germany where it has been cultivated since the 1400s.
In between my exploring and tasting wines from South America of late, I made an “imagined” pit stop in Germany over the weekend.
While dining at a friend’s home, I was served a 2013 Dr. H Thanisch Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Auslese, Mosel, Germany. The Mosel wine region is the most famous of Germany’s 13 official wine regions and the 3rd largest in the production of wine. This region is best known for its Riesling wines. The first vineyards were planted along the Mosel River by the Romans around the second century.
I’ve had the opportunity to drink Berncasteler Doctor over the years and have never been disappointed. This was no exception. The aromas of apricots, peaches and pineapple made me swoon. The palate was rich with juicy fruit, hints of spice and had a silky texture. The finish was long with more tropical fruit and lemon zest tickling the palate. Alcohol: 9%
To quote from their website: “The legendary Berncasteler Doctor vineyard is located behind the village Bernkastel and is one of the most famous vineyards in Germany. This 100% steep site with a South-South-West orientation consists of medium deep, stony, loamy weathered argillaceous schist. Planted with up to 80 year old vines, full-bodied, spicy wines are grown here.” Visit the website at:
My plane is leaving and I must run!
I can’t believe that it’s already June 1st! The warm weather of late has had most of us reaching for cool wines and cooking light meals. With the dog days of summer yet to come, I already need to replenish my white wine and rose’ selection. To quote a dear friend of mine “it is time to make a trip to the boozeorium”.
The other evening I tasted a 2012 Efestē Evergreen Riesling from Columbia Valley, Washington State. The vineyard is set high above the Missoula Flood Plains and only grows white grape varieties. This 100% Riesling was pale yellow with citrus and tropical fruit on the nose. The palate offered fresh peach, nectarine and apple. It was crisp and full-bodied with a long finish. If stored properly, it will go the distance.
Alcohol is 12.8% and costs about $20/bottle.
I hope to sneak in a swim before the day ends!
Barefoot Wines, based in Modesta, CA, recently sent me a sampling of four wines from their very extensive collection.
Intrigued by their whimsical name and label, I learned that California winemaker Davis Bynum created Barefoot Bynum Burgundy in his garage in the year 1965. Bynum used the old fashioned way of crushing grapes…barefoot. By 1986 Bonnie Harvey and Michael Houlihan took over and so began Barefoot Cellars and the footprint label. In 1995, with only four wines being produced, winemaker Jen Wall joined the team helping to expand the wine collection to what it is today, over 30 wines.
Let me begin my take on the following wines with a quote from Barefoot Wines. “Our wines are non-vintage because age is just a number! We believe in providing the same great, consistent taste year after year!”
So, with that in mind…
The Barefoot Riesling is blended with Gewürztraminer & Malvasia Bianca. The color was pale straw. Citrus, pineapple, grapefruit and a hint of herbs greeted the nose. As the bottle states, it is sweet. The palate offered pear, peach, honey, vanilla and grapefruit. The flavors were nicely balanced with a surprisingly long finish. If you enjoy sweet wine, this is a good choice and it would do well as an aperitif or dessert wine. Alcohol: 8.0 % http://www.barefootwine.com/our-wine/white-wine/riesling
The Barefoot White Zinfandel from Lodi is blended with Symphony. It is a medium sweet wine with a pretty pink salmon color. It had aromas of citrus, strawberry and nectarine. The palate offered fresh and juicy fruit with pineapple and melon on the finish. It was refreshing even though it was a bit sweet. Alcohol: 9.0% http://www.barefootwine.com/our-wine/pink-wine/white-zinfandel
The Barefoot Red Zinfandel, also from Lodi, is blended with Petit Sirah, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The deep ruby color gave way to an aroma of spices that leapt out of the glass along with red fruits. The flavors did not live up to what the nose offered, but there was a sufficient amount of red fruit, plum and a hint of spice on the palate. It was light to medium-bodied and very soft. Alcohol: 13.5% http://www.barefootwine.com/our-wine/red-wine/zinfandel
The Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon is from Argentina and is 100% Cabernet. The color was dark ruby bordering on purple with blackberry jam and dark berries on the nose. The palate offered dark berries, pepper and a touch of earth. Light tannins and a soft mouth-feel make this an easy wine to pair with a variety of foods. Alcohol: 13.5%
The average bottle of Barefoot wine costs about $6 to $11. Barefoot has a large distribution in the U.S. and their wines can be found in most wine stores. You can’t go wrong with these wines and especially at this price. It’s worth picking up a few bottles from their collection and seeing what speaks to you! http://www.barefootwine.com
The last few days have been quite busy, but I’m taking a little time to exhale this weekend. The skies are blue, the temps a bit chilly, but it’s a beautiful day to spend outdoors.
The other evening a friend and I shared a bottle of 2013 Smith-Madrone Riesling from the Spring Mountain District of Napa. This 100% Riesling is 12.6% alcohol and comes from Stu and Charles Smith’s 42-year-old vines. This pale yellow wine is vibrant with lively acidity and is quite refreshing. Aromas of stone fruit, apples, honeysuckle and a hint of grapefruit were present. The palate was a feast of lime, apricot, honeysuckle, citrus notes and a hint of spice. The finish was long with a creaminess lingering on the palate. I wouldn’t hesitate to serve this at Thanksgiving!
A friend recently asked why he hadn’t seen any “knitting” posts on my blog for such a long time. I must admit that my journeys have taken me down a different path of late. However, with the winter months soon to be upon us, I will be knitting once again. I need to knit a few more scarves and hats to keep my friends and me warm on the slopes and trails this season!
The days are flying by so quickly. Most of the fun things I wanted to do this summer didn’t happen. My energy and concentration was diverted to more practical and necessary issues. However, there are still a few weeks left to plan a quick trip here and there.
In the meantime, let me tell you about the wine I tasted last night. A few of us gathered around sunset, which was beautiful! We sat outside and enjoyed a 2012 Peter Lauer Barrel X Riesling. It was pale straw in color, with fruit and citrus aromas. It had a nice kick to it with fennel, grapefruit, tart apple and lemon on the palate. It was just bordering on “dry”. If you are a fan of the grape, then you will definitely enjoy this wine. It was a nice accompaniment to the platter of cheeses and fruit. http://lauer-ayl.
I have a long day ahead of me, but I’m looking forward to a late day swim!
Enjoy your Sunday.
In between tasting Chardonnays, Rosés and Rieslings, I found myself knitting a summer shawl the other day. The grapes inspired me!
I call this shawl “Island Ribbon”. I love to give names to my one of a kind pieces. The yarn is a combination of cotton and vicose. The wooden beads are handmade from Africa. The shawl is light and airy. It can be worn with just about any summer outfit. Click on the photos for a closer look!
I toasted my finished piece with a glass of 2010 Selbach Riesling Kabinett Piesporter Michelsberg leftover from my party. The wine was also light and airy! And the opened bottle held up very well in the refrigerator for a few days! It still had a floral and apple aroma with apple and pear on the palate. Delicious!
Yesterday was another productive day. It seemed to go by very quickly. I spent a little time knitting and then came to a halt after running out of yarn again! I seem to keep miscalculating my yarn needs for this project! Another delivery is due today.
A friend stopped by for a quick drink and hug towards the end of the day. I had tea and he had a beer. (yawn) So, let me talk about the Riesling that I tasted the other day instead!
It was a 2013 Poet’s Leap Riesling from The Long Shadows Vineyard. This was a delicious wine with lovely citrus and floral aromas. It was well balanced with crisp flavors of citrus, a hint of honeysuckle and peach. A long finish added to the thumbs up on this wine! www.longshadows.com
Have a great Monday!