Alina Orozco 2016-09-01 03:06:46
Sommeliers and wine connoisseurs have long advocated for riesling, Germany’s most famous grape, despite the variety’s misplaced reputation for being too sweet. German rieslings are an oft-misunderstood varietal, fueled in part by long, complex label names in another language as well as a stigma of overt sweetness. However, wine aficionados in the know—such as Dave Wallace, beverage manager at Montage Deer Valley—have an appreciation for riesling’s variety and range, which has earned it a spot on many expertly crafted wine listings. “Rieslings are incredibly versatile wines, pairing with everything from spicy and herbaceous dishes to cheese and fruit selections,” Wallace says. “The varied levels of ripeness ... [allow] for fantastic selections from dry to sweet.” In fact, a fair number of rieslings are actually categorized as “trocken,” meaning dry. These wines contain a limited amount of sugar that’s actually governed by German law to attain this categorization. Of course, there are also the “suss” wines, which are sweet and what casual drinkers usually think of when riesling comes to mind. “When properly vinified, these wines can age for many years, gaining complexity and character unrivaled by any other white varietal,” Wallace says. With this level of versatility, and the depth of flavors found within riesling, it’s no wonder that this type of wine has remained popular. Flavors range from apple blossoms and lemons to ripe peaches and apricots. Riesling can also be identified by its earthy notes of wet stone, diesel and petroleum—“a desired hallmark of riesling,” Wallace explains. Troy Smith, beverage manager at Montage Laguna Beach, admits that “riesling is often dismissed out of hand as cheap, sweet plonk, … [however], while there remain plenty of examples fitting that description, there is an increasing number of quality-conscious producers making world-class wines … [for] every taste and budget.” Wine experts across various Montage properties have selected their favorite rieslings currently available on the menu: With countless flavor profiles, finding one that suits your palate is a journey that’s bound to have a sweet ending—or a dry one—whichever pairs best with your dish or mood. The 2014 LEITZ RÜDESHEIMER MAGDALENENKREUZ SPÄTLESE riesling produced in Rheingau, Germany, is available at Canoe Club at Montage Palmetto Bluff. This riesling sports a clean, acidic finish, with flavors of lush fruits such as apples, lemons and peaches, followed by herbal expressions of thyme and dill. It pairs particularly well with desserts, especially sorbets, in addition to white fish. The clean, fresh and vegan-friendly 2010 GD VAJRA RIESLING, which is produced via sustainable farming in Piedmont, Italy—rather than Germany, like many top rieslings—can be found at Montage Beverly Hills’ The Garden Bar. With an acidic tang and effervescence, this riesling brings out the best flavors in seafood dishes. Montage Kapalua Bay’s Cane & Canoe offers the 2013 DR. LOOSEN “BLUE SLATE” RIESLING KABINETT, a bright and pure wine with a flinty minerality and vibrant fruity and floral undertones, making for a spectacular aperitif. This riesling is produced with grapes from special blue slate vineyards in Germany. According to James Proctor, director of food and beverage at Montage Kapalua Bay, this riesling pairs well with locally caught mahi mahi with mango XO sauce and shishito peppers— a dish on the menu at Cane & Canoe. The taste of ripe peach and lemon zest can be found in the 2012 LEITZ RÜDESHEIMER DRACHENSTEIN (which means Dragonstone in English) from Rheingau, Germany, at Montage Laguna Beach’s Studio restaurant. The zing and ripeness of the fruits help complement the wet stone minerality, leading to a sweetly acidic experience. Enjoy a glass with the pan-seared Maine scallops at Studio.
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