Our new 2018 Texas Riesling was released on the bar last Saturday, and has since been the show-stopper for our guests choosing our sweet flight of wines. As I like to say, “It’s a real beauty”. We’ll take a look at this delicate, racy wine in a moment, but first I’d like to share a few thoughts on sweet wine in general.
Let’s be honest, sweet wine is the Rodney Dangerfield of the wine world. It just doesn’t get any respect. But why is this? Well, I have a few ideas to share. First, most (almost all) of us began our wine drinking journey with sweet stuff. We feel like it’s for novices and that we’ve moved on and are now much too hip for “soda pop” wine, as one guest recently referred to it.
Add to this, the sweet wine of our youth wasn’t good sweet wine. I was weaned on Boone’s Farm, Ripple, and Spanada. The key to a well-made sweet wine is a firm backbone of acidity. Jason once told me that good sweet wines are often more difficult to make than dry.
We taste sugar on our front to mid-palate, and acid on the back sides. The acidity transitions the sugar across our palate for a well-balanced wine. Without firm acidity, the sugar builds on our front palate and the wine lacks crispness and becomes syrupy.
Okay, now on to the new GCV Riesling. Vintage after vintage one of my favorite wines, the ’18 is stylistically much less sweet than in the past. It is only 1.1% residual sugar, down from about 2.9% the last two years. At 1.1% RS, we have only 2.06 grams of sugar in a 6oz glass. The ABV is a very food friendly 12.0%.
This is one of the most charming wines I’ve tasted in a long time. The color is a bright, pale yellow with a crystal clear rim. The aromas are refined and delicate, with floral notes of white carnation, passion flower, and gardenia intertwined with apricot, pineapple, peach, and mandarin orange.
This wine explodes on our palate, boasting a vibrant acidity that’s well-integrated with the fruit; and there is a subtle hint of petrol and slate minerality that adds a rich texture. It finishes clean and crisp, all the while seducing us into sip after sip.
We should serve this cold, about 45* for the best balance of fruit and acid. Let’s try it with a spicy shrimp and lump crab cocktail with a touch of cilantro and lime.