It took me a while to warm to Riesling, scarred as I was by memories of sickly, cheap German wines from my youth. It was all self-inflicted, of course. I recall once standing in the Happy Shopper, mentally calculating that it was cheaper to get drunk on Liebfraumilch than Tennent’s Super. Conclusion: even the tramps wouldn’t touch the stuff.
But German wine’s reputation has come a long way since those days, and Riesling has long been a name to drop among sommeliers. Just like my favourite music, most of my favourite flavours have been acquired tastes, and I’m starting to believe Riesling fits into that category.
If you’re not yet converted, I’d recommend this Bascand Estate offering as an intro. The label mentions “a touch of sweetness”, which usually means “too sweet for me”, but this is very much a dry wine, with a savoury on-the-lees yeastiness; the sweetness coming from juicy hits of mandarin. I reckon it’d pair well with spicy food.
Riesling’s flavour has been (favourably) compared to rubber and petrol; both of which I totally get. But I found another aroma in here, which took me a while to isolate. Prepare yourself now: it reminded me of… DEET mosquito repellent (or citronella, perhaps?). Weirdly, I still loved it.
Dear Wine and Spirit Education Trust: if you’re reading this (and I’m sure you are) please add mosquito repellent to your little Systematic Approach to Tasting® Wine chart.
And… if you’re ever being bitten on holiday, my advice is to drink Riesling till it’s oozing from your pores (although if you’re anything like me, you’ll be doing that anyway).
Bascand Estate Riesling. Waipara, New Zealand, 2014. 12% £11 from Seven Cellars, Brighton.