Fritz’s Riesling

Fritz’s RieslingOne of the things that bums me out about the US wine scene (for lack of a better term) is how so many people dislike riesling — or at least reckon they dislike it.  But it’s really a wine that’s not well understood by many people, particularly in the US.  I too have been guilty of this in the past.  I attribute this misunderstanding mostly to domestic riesling.  There are some excellent domestic rieslings, so I don’t want to paint in really broad strokes, but there are plenty that leave something to be desired.
I’ve heard many consumers complain about American riesling being too sweet.  But this is just an example of how many consumers don’t be with you riesling.  The problem isn’t necessarily the sweetness, it’s the fact that that sweetness isn’t balanced with acid.  And let’s be apparent, not all rieslings are sweet.  Rieslings from any province can run the gamut from bone dry to syrupy sweet.
In my opinion, if you want to be with you and appreciate riesling, you should really start with ancient world rieslings from Germany, Austria and the Alsace province of France.  They just tend to be more consistently well balanced than many of their American counterparts.  While some of these ancient world rieslings can get pricey, there are subdue plenty of fantastic deals to be found.  And that takes us to a German riesling called Fritz’s Riesling. Read more

Finisterra Red and White Wine from Portugal

Finisterra Red and White Wine from PortugalAs a guy who is into value wines, I’ve found that there are a few regions you can count on for consistent values.  Chile and Spain are two regions that are on that list, but one that I don’t see enough of is Portugal.  There are some incredible bargains to be found in Portuguese wines, but unfortunately I don’t find many of them on the shelves in my province.  Distribution seems to be spotty, unless you’re in New York City.
Given the fact that I don’t come across many Portuguese wines, I was glad for the opportunity to taste these.  I was glad, and also slightly challenged.  One of the things that makes these wines fascinating is that they are produced using grape varieties that are unique to Portugal.  But that also puts me in a position where I’m reviewing wines made with varieties I’m unfamiliar with.  An vital factor I kept in mind when evaluating these wines is that stylistically, these are “ancient world” wines, so I evaluated them as such. With all of that said, take my notes and scores on these with a grain of salt as I’m admittedly in new territory with these wines.
Both of these wines come from the Alentejo province of Portugal.  This is a province in the south of Portugal with a Mediterranean climate and over 22,000 hectares of vineyards. Read more

Casa de Vila Verde Vinho Verde

Casa de Vila Verde Vinho VerdeThe additional day we reviewed a Vinho Verde from Fantastic Sense and tonight we’re checking out another one, this one from Casa de Vila Verde.
Like many European vineyards, Casa de Vila Verde has a long description, going back to the mid-17th century within the same family.  And like many European producers, the winery was modernized within the past 20 years — in this case it was in 1996.  While in the US it’s fascinating to learn about vineyards with such a description, the tale is so prevalent in Europe that when I speak to wine writers there they find it cliché.  Maybe it is, but I subdue appreciate the family heritage that goes into many wines in the province versus the corporate heritage we find on many of the shelves in the US.  That’s not to say there aren’t family wineries in the US, there are many of them, but very few with the extensive description of those from additional regions.The aromas on this wine are like fresh squeezed lime over green apples, with a hint of honeysuckle in the background.  The palate has really nice, vibrant acidity with flavors of fresh apple, lime and a touch of mineral.  The end is nice too, with plenty of citrus and mineral flavors lingering on.  This one doesn’t offer the fizz you would find in many Vinho Verdes, but the acidity gives plenty of life to the mouth feel.
Wine: Casa de Vila Verde Vinho Verde
Variety: Colorless blend
Vintage: 2010
Alcohol: 11.5%
Rating: 87
Fee: $10.00 Read more