Wine: Herr Weis is my go-to guy from the Mosel
As promised, here are some Mosels from the Nik Weis dinner at Fish On. Most are available at Bin 66 in Rehoboth. Most are likely available at your favorite store as well. First a little background. Since 1971, German wines are produced according to an imperfect scale based on the ripeness of the grapes at harvest time. Generally determined by degree of brix, (the sugar content of an aqueous solution. One-degree Brix (*Bx ,1 percent of sucrose in an acqueous (water) solution. Beer makers use degrees Plato, (P), I have no idea why. Brix is computed as 1 gram per 100 grams. The theory is that riper grapes produce richer, more complex wines. I think this is a good general rule with the caveat that there are many factors needed to produce richer, complex wines than sucrose content. Most consumers, who don’t have medical concerns with sugar, are more concerned with the balance, aromas and flavors as they appear in the glass. Winemakers and brew masters use olfactory and other sensory detection in addition to the actual chemical composition to produce their beverages, as you do with your morning coffee.
When reading labels look for the words Qualitatswein mit Pradikat, abbreviated QmP. Don’t freak out folks, look carefully. Quality with Predicate! It’s the best place to start. There are other lesser descriptors Deutcherwein and Landwein are 2 - for our purposes not worth pursuing in many cases. However, great winemakers make great wine. As I have suggested before, find your winemaker, Find your friendly hard-working wine shoppe pal. The premium you pay is usually worth the candle. Under Predicikat wine you will find a further nomenclature starting from least sweet Kabinett, dry to off dry; Spatlese, later harvest, a tad more sugar; Auslese, select harvest, handpicked usually sweeter or higher alcohol; Beerenauslese hand selected when they are dehydrated due to botrytis;, Beeren is German for? Answer at conclusion of article; Trockenbeerenauslese, only berries dried on the vine are used; Eiswein, raisin-like grapes freeze on the vine and pressed when frozen (usually in the middle of the night) only this can be classified as a true ice wine. Drying means far less juice. It concentrates sugar and the hand selection raises labor costs. Some reasons these are expensive but good value. Trocken means dry. As you learned this can mean style or degree of wetness, as in English.
Nik Weis QBA dry Riesling is entry level wine made of juice from his vineyards. This is winemaker’s art. And a fine porch sipper. Weingut St. Urbans Hof Nik Weis Wiltinger Alte Reben was special, 92 McD. nectarine, chamomile and baking spice aromas supported by bright acidity cleans up savory finish. Alte Reben = Old vines. Since all are Rieslings and Weingut St Urban Hof, Nik Weiss labeled, I’ll just use descriptors going forward. The Piesporter Goldtropfchen, Spatlese was indeed “Golden Drops.” Citrus fragrance with mango nuance, juicy palate showed a bit of slate plus some spice and petrol notes as expected. The balance was on the money. Reminded of the 2013.
I need to interject here. Although the higher levels have more residual sugar, they also have higher acidity and alcohol. This not only balances the wine but allows it to age and improve greatly. The best of Mosel will often out top White Burgundy - 50o 60 years without blinking. Where they outshine the Burgundy is that they are normally very approachable in their youth. Piesporter Goldtropchen, Auslese was very lovely. I want you to look for the 2010 or 2013 because it is readier now. Don’t forget these come in 375 ML. bottles Usually one pours three to four ounces. Please don’t serve cold. I prefer 60-65 degrees; 93 McD add a price point under $78. These are definitely “terroir driven”; the sun exposure will bail out a cold year. The 2013 shows mango, papaya and passion fruit accented by orange. Although it is sweet, bright acidity saves the day. No logy mouth feel.. The flavors continue through a very long clean finish and the nose and mid palate flavors reverberates through the ending. Herr Weis is my go to guy from the Mosel. Year in and out his wines shine.