Tuesday, December 2, 2008

~ Riesling Roundup ~

... so I headed off yesterday afternoon into town to an event bearing the enticing name “Riesling Fellowship”... which came off rather nicely up in the lovely and expensive ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. There was a little bit of navigation necessary to find one’s way through the pleasing array of complementary and contrasting flavours, but this posed no great inconvenience...

?¿? do you know the old song, “I went to the animal fair, the birds and the beasts were there...”

such was in fact the case, and not only did I find riesling’s two best American friends Sanderson and Schildkecht in attendance, but there were a number of top German growers on display: Johannes Selbach, Armin Diel, Fritz Hasselbach and Nik Weis. Between the two of them, Diel and Hasselbach have lost about thirtyfive kilos, and both are looking very good indeed. The idiomatic German word for losing weight means “de-bacon-ing”...

Almost all of the retail crowd were where they belonged in a touchy December—in their stores and not at this event—and many restaurant buyers were also not to be seen. My colleagues Evan Spingarn, Steve Miller, Victor Schwartz and Frank Johnson attended, tasted, and likely found inspiration in much the same manner as did I.

as usual, I lost myself among the various German bottlings, and just barely rescued myself from that reverie in time to taste through a very rewarding retrospective of Zöbinger rieslings being poured by the single courageous Austrian grower in the presentation, Johannes Hirsch, who showed multiple vintages of Gaisberg and Heiligenstein reaching back to 1999.

I enjoyed the usual collegial disagreement with Bob Millman, who didn’t like the Schloss Johannisberg 06er QbA as much as I did, and liked the Loosen collection less than I did—we regularly encounter such interesting points for discussion.

my favourite wines were, in no hierarchical order:

Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Kabinett 01
Schloss Johannisberg QbA 06
Schlossgut Diel “Dorsheim Pittermänchen” Spätlese 07
Ökonomierat Rebholz “Im Sonnenschein” Grosses Gewächs 07
St. Urbans-Hof “Leiwener Laurentiuslay” Spätlese Erste Lage 07
Gunderloch “Nackenheim Rothenberg” Trocken 07

perhaps my one top pick was the Rebholz, which showed a glorious combination of sap and sizzle—and then the Nackenheimer. I asked Hasselbach about his resistance to calling this wine “Grosses Gewächs” and Fritz replied that next year it would in fact be so; that his next generation at the estate had been agitating in that direction.

and the $60.17 question: Where does one dine after this sort of tasting? This was easily answered by Mr. Millman and me, first with apéritifs of Latte and straight Black at a local coffee-establishment which needs no advertising help, followed by a trip to Carnegie Deli—where Bob and I just barely made it through a single serving of that mountain of corned beef- and pastrami-on-rye known as “The Woody Allen”, with sides of potato pancakes and coleslaw, a Dr Brown’s for Bob and more black coffee for me. Carnegie’s pickles were a little on the aggressive and salty side this evening, but, davon abgesehen ist alles in Ordnung gewesen...

I was very pleased to learn that Millman had just seen and enjoyed my favourite movie, Ingmar Bergmann’s “Smiles of a Summer Night”, a rather Mozartean romantic comedy from 1955—

— hell, I’m a romantic comedy from 1955: maybe that’s why I like the damn thing so much ~

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