What wine does one drink while watching wrestling?

March 4, 2013

More bad news for Robert Parker and WA: Antonio Galloni, a critic whose expertise on Italian, Champagne and Burgundy is a bellwether for me, has moved on to better things. Mr. Galloni is striking off with his own new adventure. Regulars are aware I am a huge fan of “Tony Gallons.” There is a growing drumbeat from WA subscribers concerning the changes there, since RP sold part of his interest and dropped out as editor. For my money, the story on WA is not written yet.  I certainly wish Mr. Galloni the best. His  palate is above reproach and he does not appear to be co-opted by the folks he critiques. As soon as I learn the name of his new venture I will pass it along.  I will also subscribe.

Just woke up with a monster headache. Wrong! I swear it wasn’t from wine consumption. It was from sitting through three solid days and nights of whistles blaring and excitement. The wrestling was terrific. This week it was the Delaware state championships and the national duals. Big shout out to all the Delaware young men who made it to Cape - a wonderful accomplishment. On the national scene we had two Delaware competitors, Jarrod Garnett, Caravel, a senior at Vermont who won all his matches, and Bobby Telford, St. Mark’s, a junior at A.I. du Pont and All-American who last season went 0-3 versus No. 1- and No. 2-ranked heavyweights. He lost three matches by aggregate four points. Needless to say, I was on the edge of my seat and nearly knocked my wine glass over on several occasions since several of the team duals were decided by the last match. I’m sure  Fredman has the high school well covered. Be sure to read his descriptions and bon mots.

OK, so what does one drink while watching wrestling? White wine if you are as excitable as I. Reds will put a nasty stain on the Berber. I decided on a nice little Mosel Riesling for the early matches and moved a step up to a hard-to-find Nahe for the finals. Graff Graacher (grokker) Himmelreich (himmel reyesh) Spatlese (spate lay suh) is a pale-golden wine with a hint of spritz. Terroir is loaded with slate, and the nose, which is reflective, opens with wet gravel and graphite accented with green apple and lime. Medium bodied with a finely balanced acidity and fruit flavor. On the palate ripe apple, apricot and pear with a mild mineral redux. The finish is slightly sweet, but the proper acid leaves you with a clean feeling; 91 points if you buy it under $190/case. Remember Spatlesen keep for years. So, if you enjoy it, case buying is very wise.

Most great Riesling originates in Mosel. I’m inclined toward Nahe and Donnhoff family, a very old producer, 1730s I believe, is usually priced in the upper $20s on release. For those who want to try an excellent Spatlese and can afford the pleasure, let me recommend you search out a bottle of 94-point 2008 Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Spatlese; $35 will get you a lovely light golden-colored wine with a complex bouquet of thyme, mint, lime and orange undergirded with smoke, wet stone and perfect acid-fruit balance. To my buds, this is the standard. You are paying up for the time in cellar and some inflation.

The following is stolen from Howard Goldberg’s New York Times Book of Wine: “Helmut Dönnhoff’s Rieslings, from Nahe, are the only platonic whites that make me cry. Their crystalline, nuanced beauty can defy description. I’d ask Helmut for the finest one in his cellar. If he had a lone bottle left, I wouldn’t be a pig: I’d request that bottle - but with a straw.” Although I agree with Goldberg’s paean to an excellent producer and delicious bottling, I’ll leave the decision concerning his porcine proclivities to you.

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