Wine: Exploring riesling’s range

By
From the April 3, 2014 edition

Consider it a riesling mini-flight.

This column has been all about exploring riesling this month. After the last column covered an unusual riesling ice wine, this week samples the 2012 Clean Slate Riesling ($10 at Hausfrau Haven). 

The name implies a bit of a twist on riesling’s sometimes-typical sweet and ripe fruit flavor — and in fact, this turned out to be much lighter and brighter; a clean slate, you might say.

On the bottle and online, Clean Slate gives all the credit to the slate slabs throughout its Mosel, Germany, vineyard. As a result, the wine has a bright and citrusy flavor that's sweet at first sip, and finishes with a slight minerality. As a dry wine drinker primarily, I found it delicious.

It even has a bit of a bubbly "effervescence" that's quite refreshing — and might ease those regular sweet-riesling drinkers into this alternative more easily. (Spritziness seems to be the great equalizer.)

This bottle’s crisp lemon-lime flavors make it an awesome pairing with baked or grilled fish (I even had it with steamed mussels). Another good idea: Serve it alongside a buttery and cheesy puff-pastry-type appetizer or with a veggie or cheese plate.

Whatever you do, don’t be quick to pigeonhole riesling as an always-sweet sip (although it certainly is in most cases, and especially as an ice wine). Do some digging or just ask a shop owner — there’s a range worth discovering.

Photo by Meghan Ralston