January 04, 2011

Schone Schlucht Riesling

Tonight we sampled a little local riesling. Actually, it was Weingut Ackerman Riesling from the Mosel river valley in Germany, imported and labeled by Portland's Schone Schlucht, producer of local "Teutonic" red and white wine. If you haven't tried the wines of Schone Schlucht, give them a go. Understand they are truly unique compared to standard Oregon fare. From their Alsea vineyard in the coast range to more typical grapes sources, the wines are distinctly crisp and bright across the board, nervy, mineral, perhaps challenging if you simply want to knock something back but full of life, delicious and memorable.

And very Teutonic in style. When was the last time you saw domestic Riesling at something like 9% alcohol, sehr German? Who in Oregon labels a Pinot noir as Spatburgunder? I met Olga and Barnaby Tuttle, who grow rows of chardonnay in their NE Tillamook Street house in Portland, a while back and commented to Olga about how unique their wines are. She said yes, and that she wasn't sure at first but Barnaby was convinced of his vision for winemaking. Sure enough, there isn't anyone doing what they are doing, and the market seems to be responding well. It's a great story.

But they don't just produce Oregon wine. There's this German companion to Schone Schulcht's more commonly available native wines, a special partnership with the terrific producer Weingut Ackerman. This 2009 Riesling is everything you could want in fresh, inexpensive German riesling, and something I'd love to see in more local riesling. Light, fresh, peachy flavors with intense acidity but moderate sweetness that I think matched wonderfully with our dinner of vegetable and gruyere fritatta, arugula and fennel salad, and crusty bread. Jennifer thought it might have been a touch sweet, but I think it worked well with the mild saltiness in the food and the delicate textures. And at 9.5% alcohol, it's very reasonable to enjoy on a Tuesday night. I loved it.

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