Dueling Rieslings

Last weekend, I tweaked my drinking homework a little bit. Instead of blind tasting a single bottle, I tasted 2 wines side by side. The idea was to train myself on differences and help calibrate my “sensors”. It’s easier to say that a wine has medium + acidity when you can compare it with a wine that has medium – acidity. I did that sort of thing before, in a much less structured way with a couple of red burgundies.

The wines were both from the same grape, Riesling. One came from Australia and the other one from Germany, both can be found in retail for between $15 and $20. Those are the common points, now we need to taste the difference

The wines :

  • Pewsey Vale, Eden Valley Dry Resling 2014
  • Nahe, Kreuznacher Knonenberg Auslese Riesling 2013

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Appearance

  • Pewsey Vale : clear, medium lemon with legs
  • Nahe : clear, medium lemon with thicker legs

Similar in color and intensity, the Nahe’s higher sugar shows more legs

Nose

  • Pewsey Vale : clean, medium intensity. Notes of citrus (lemon), vegetal, green fruit (pear), white flowers and mineral (rock, with faint petrol notes). The wine is young but developing.
  • Nahe : clean, medium + intensity. Notes of tropical fruit (mango), flowers (elderflower), stone fruit (yellow peach). The wine is developing

First big gap here, with the Nahe showing a very different set of aromas, much riper and exotic compared to the greener, citrusy Pewsey Vale

Palate

  • Pewsey Vale : dry, medium + acidity, medium – alcohol, medium body, medium flavor intensity, medium – finish.
  • Nahe : medium sweet, medium + acidity, medium – alcohol, medium + body, medium + flavor intensity, medium + finish.
  • Pewsey Vale : notes of citrus (lime), mineral (rock, oil), green fruit (apple)
  • Nahe : notes of tropical fruit (pineapple), stone fruit (yellow peach), flowers (elderflower)
Delicious homework

Delicious homework

Conclusion

  • Both wines are good. I would give a slight edge to the Nahe but not enough to move it to very good.
  • Both wines can be drunk now but they have potential for ageing

After doing some research, I think I did ok, one big mistake on the alcohol level however because the Nahe is only at 9% ! That’s definitely a low, not a medium -. The whole exercise was fun, I’ll definitely try it again.

 

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The Dark (Gre)Knight : Rocland Estate Grenache

Rocland Estate Grenache, 2008

Region: Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

Grape: Grenache

Price: around $15-$20

I’m dating a girl who is nice enough to eat my cooking on a regular basis which allows me to try more recipes than I normally would, I’m not a fan of cooking for myself. Case in point last weekend, I made some pork piccatas, a very easy way to cook pork, veal or chicken just with some garlic, lemon juice and white wine. I kinda decided on the recipe at the last minute so I had to make do with whatever wine I had available. It had been a long time since I had some Grenache so the decision was somewhat easy.

Grenache is an international grape originating from Spain and that I mostly know from its Southern France examples. It’s a red grape, very light in color (often used for rose wine) with pepper and red fruits aromas. It’s often used in blends with Syrah and Mouvedre because Grenache by itself lacks color, acidity and tannins. This particular wine comes from Australia, the Barossa Valley is probably the top wine region in South Australia (and maybe of all Australia) and is especially known for its Shiraz wines. So basically, what I’m saying is that I had no idea what to expect.

Rocland Estate

Eye: Clear, Deep garnet, very dark for a Grenache

Nose: Clean, medium plus intensity, very earthy nose with thyme notes. Red fruits, strawberries and some leather notes.

Palate: dry, medium-minus body, medium minus acidity, round and low intensity tannins. Medium plus finish (red plum). Aromas of pepper, herbs (thyme), red fruits (strawberry and raspberry).

Food pairings: I made pork piccatas with simple cherry tomatoes pasta. The wine won’t be able to cut the fatness of heavy creamy dishes but it will work well with most meats.

Overall opinion: I had a hard time re-conciliating what I knew about Grenache and what was in my glass. The color was, well unexpected, so dark, maybe from wood ageing? Tannins and acidity were on the lower side, as expected from the varietal and there was an interesting range of aromas from fruity to earthy. To me it feels like an outlier but I don’t have an extensive knowledge of Aussie wines. I definitely enjoyed it though. Maybe it’s not the Grenache Australia deserves but it’s the one it needs right now?

Holy wine glass Batman!

Holy wine glass Batman!