Lambrusco! Not on ice or so nice. Not with apologies, not with bluster. Just with pleasure.

September 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

The only way to erase bad Riunite memories is to replace them with exceptional true Lambrusco memories. In today’s column I provide some easy ideas for how to do just that. Lambrusco is super fun, but in a serious way. It doesn’t cost much, it’s low in alcohol, it’s great with easy food. And it’s real terroir wine: Anyone making Lambrusco outside Emilia-Romagna oughta be waterboarded with Yellow Tail until they promise to match wine grapes with appropriate land, climate and culture forevermore.

Is German Pinot Noir (from Mosel) the world’s most popular wine? Yes! Er, I mean: No! But drink their Riesling and dream with me

June 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

My latest Portland Press Herald wine column brings together the world’s two greatest grapes, Riesling and Pinot Noir, from a spectacularly talented winemaker, Konrad Haehn at Freiherr Von Schleinitz in Germany’s northern Mosel Valley. The wines fly a bit under the radar, but they’re singular, delicious and reasonably priced. I write about the Kabinett Riesling and the Pinot Noir, but they do a full line-up of Pradikat Rieslings (Kabinett, Spatlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese) as well as the lower-priced VS line which has a Dry and Off-dry style. Try a couple, and then go for the Von Schleinitz (sparkling) Sekt, which is my hands-down favorite sparkling wine in the world and yes I’ve had grower Champagnes. (The Sekt is less complicated than great Champagne, but more fun than most.)

Then, there’s the Von Schleinitz Pinots. The straight-up red is steely but delicate, a pure expression of Mosel slate terroir.  Of Von Schleinitz’s 5-6,000 cases per year total, a tiny sliver of Pinot Noir rosé is made, and then there’s the even-more-limited-production Blanc de Noir (Pinot, with skins removed before any maceration). It’s a mind-blowing magic act of a wine, with the full, suede mouthfeel of a red and the acidic cut of a…well, of a Riesling. Don’t know if you can find it where you live, but ask around…

Von Schleinitz isn’t distributed everywhere in the U.S., though word of their greatness is spreading. By you, if you catch on!

Neal Rosenthal, terroir czar, wine pioneer, represents for Old School/World

May 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

My latest wine column is on Neal Rosenthal, who for more than thirty years has been one of the most helpful forces for good in the wine world. As my interview with him shows, Rosenthal’s fierce devotion to terroir, both in spirit and in the glass, can be a guide not just to which wines to drink, but really for how to live. First line of the article: “Draw the battle lines.” I don’t love militaristic metaphors, but it really has come to that. To be in favor of truly artisanal wines, made by hand, with love, that express the truth of an actual place in time, you need to be actively opposed to the enemies of those wines. And in this day/age, those enemies are rampant. Throw down!

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