Reviews of wines that don ?t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month. Again this month, in honor of record-setting temperatures across Dallas, heat wave wines:
? Charles Shaw Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ($3, purchased): What happens when $3 wine sits in a warehouse too long. Is there so much Two-buck Chuck left that Trader Joe's is still selling the previous vintage? Oily, but not in a good way, without much fruit and a bitter finish.
? Pacific Rim Sweet Riesling 2010 ($10, sample): A touch of petrol on the nose, and though it's sweet (just 8 1/2 percent alcohol), it has almost enough acid to balance the sweetness. In this, it's sweet enough to appeal to people who want sweet wine, but well-made enough for the rest of us.
? Crios Rose of Malbec 2010 ($12, purchased): Flabby and dull, without much fruit or acid and very disappointing. A rose that I actually didn't want to drink. Crios used to make much better wine.
Rieslings are among the world ?s great wines, sharing many of the qualities that great wines from other regions of the world have: high prices, long aging, and sublime taste. So why do rieslings have such a poor reputation with U.S. wine drinkers? Which is pretty poor, considering that Nielsen reports that we drink three times more white zinfandel than we do riesling.
There are two main reasons for riesling ?s neglect. Until the past couple of years, most of the riesling for sale in the U.S. was German, and much of that was of indifferent quality. But the quality of riesling that ?s available these days has improved dramatically. We ?re not only getting better German wines, but U.S. riesling can be stunningly good. In fact, riesling from places like New York, Michigan and Washington is one of the best-kept secrets of the wine world.
The other reason? Many rieslings are sweet, and Americans have long been taught that sweet wine means bad wine. Which is our loss, since sweet is not a bad thing with riesling. The sweetness occurs naturally, and not like an added bag of sugar. In this, the sweetness is part of the wine, something that is balanced by the fruitiness and acidity. And not all rieslings are sweet — they come in varying degrees of dryness, and some are as dry as chardonnay. The leading producers, knowing the challenge they face, have started to label riesling by sweetness, so that it ?s easy to tell a dry wine from a sweet one. More, after the jump:
? Riesling and petroleum: For years, we’ve been told that fine riesling should have a bit of a petroleum smell — nothing off-putting, but enough to be recognized. The Wine Curmudgeon used that fact to score some points at a big deal wine dinner several years ago. Now, says renowned Rhone producer Michel Chapoutier, that aroma isn’t an asset, but a flaw. “That is a result of a mistake during winemaking,” he told Decanter magazine. It’s difficult to believe Chapoutier really meant that, and it’s probably significant that he is releasing a line of riesling. Could this be a marketing ploy?
? Wine powered by solar energy: We’ve heard of organic wine, but how about solar wine? The Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group for solar energy companies, has launched what it calls “the Solar Wine Review. … This exciting venture shares … reviews of solar-supporting wineries, information about the wineries, an exclusive members-only discount code for purchasing the wine, recipes and more!” Among the wineries featured is Randall Grahm’s Bonny Doon. The Wine Curmudgeon, who writes about wind energy, immediately called his wind editor and asked how we possibly could have been scooped by the solar people.
? Lost in translation: The Hong Kong website for the Wine Future consumer event has an interview with Robert Parker, the most important person in the wine world, that re-ran from a Lithuanian wine site. It’s odd, to say the least, and I’m wondering how much of the interview was garbled in the differences between Lithuanian, Chinese and English. Parker, for example, notes that he is a “world-famous wine critic,” which doesn’t feel right. And did you know that if he couldn’t be a world-famous wine critic, he wanted to be a guitarist?