Cheap Riesling PLUS Dining in Ojai


Last week we covered the impending collapse in Burgundy prices. Some of the best evidence that a collapse is imminent among “top tier” wines and labels is what we have seen in German Riesling all summer long. The deals that have been offered to the tBoW Tasting Team [ed. Field Mouse, Kris-B] have been astounding. Check these out.

The longer we drink wine the more we love Riesling. Calling a price dip in Riesling is not a great reach. These wines have a small loyal following in the USA. Deals are not so unusual. Nevertheless, there is just too much wine in bottles out there in commerce-land. The deals are flowing in like a flash flood in the mountains. Flash sites with flash daily deals keep sprouting like dandelions in Spring. Last Bottle has them every day and their deals are often really great. When we get blessed with “off vintages” the flood gates really fly open. Dotoré says look for the 2008 Burgs. Luckily, 2008 in Burgundy isn’t the only vintage mutt. Rimmerman of Garagiste – who just offered 2006 and 2007 Morey Volnay and Pommard at sub $40 – has made his opinion perfectly clear about the next vintage to be released. “2011 is not a grand vintage anywhere and stubborn collectors will shun most of it, but they are missing the point – 2011 wine (both red and white) has a lovely disposition – a floaty/near-term style that is difficult to quantify in text. From Alsace to Irouleguy, [ed. we had to know so we linked you to Basque obscurity!] the 2011 wines show a playful character, wonderful aromatics and a feminine side that reminds this taster very little of any preceding year in the last 20, except for possibly 2001.”

Stay frosty my frengs. A word to the wise is sufficient.

1998 Anton Zimmermann Bernkastel-Kueser Weisenstein Riesling Auslese 750ml $20: A Garagiste deal. He raided the coffers at this obscure producer im der mittel Mösel; Kues is between the bigger name sites of Wehlen and Bernkastel proper. Classic Rimmerman reveal. The highly rated vintage is confirmed by the Austrian wine described below. As an Auslese this will have aged perfectly and should float like feathers on the palate. Hack hack. Well, it should be exquisite.

2001 Anton Zimmermann Bernkastel-Kueser Weisenstein Riesling Auslese (750ml) $19: Another great vintage. Another Garagiste find? Here is the Antonin Zimmerman website. Somehow reminds us of the German version of Navarro Vineyards in Mendocino. Nice folks making great wines for very fair prices. Proof will be in the pudding! Two Auslese wines from the Mösel in two superb vintages. Almost certain to get popped over Turkey Day.

2011 AJ Adams Hofberg Kabinett $30: His wines have been so exquisite. Favorite of The Krisses. This photo of the 2010 wine in glass makes my mouth water as I get a hint of brain freeze.

We also popped a couple of Riesling corks – well, in the case of the Mösel it was a screw top.

1998 Hirtzberger Smaragd Riesling $50 if you can find it?: Austrian Riesling is different from the Mosel. The wines generally have higher alcohol levels and they are V-E-R-Y bracing as a rule. tBOW found this in the cellar. Notice it is the same vintage as the Zimmerman Bernkastel Auslese above. The color was golden. The nose was tart and appley. The flavor was like cooked apples, with cinnamon, like you might find in a holiday pie. A real treat. Glad we lost it and found it again. 13.5%

2009 Maximin Grünhauser Riesling Trocken
$10: The perfect foil to make a point about German and Austrian Riseling wines. This is the entry level, the simplest wine from a long-established and highly regarded house in the Mösel. This was probably released in 2010. I believe it was purchased at the Louis/Dressner tasting at our local fine wine home, Woodland Hills Wine Co. It sat in the cellar for a couple years. We were supposed to open it much earlier but…we didn’t. Now we get to taste it “past its prime”…except it ain’t. It is fabulous. Dry, acidic, feline, almost like a Viognier with Mösel Riesling fruit. 12%

[ed. nostalgic comment warning] I never write about the label…but I really like the Grünhauser. Maybe because I lived in Germany 4 years at a tender age. Maybe because I am half Deutsch. Whatever, the image reassures me. It is has gemütlich.

Driving to Ojai? Azu Restaurant and Tapas Bar in Ojai is worth visiting if and when you find yourself in Ojai. Hector Orozco is the Head Chef. He attended the Mama Culinary Arts Program in the home where he grew up and has successfully branched out from there. The dining room is quite comfortable. The wine list has international and local domestic labels including a nice wines by the glass selection. I had the Spanish Borsao Grenache with my meal. For my golfing readers the Ojai Spa course was in great shape when we visited in August even though the greens had been punched a couple weeks earlier. The course features a shorter, tighter and hilly front nine with plenty of play. The back is long and more straight but also has several tricky holes where carry off the tee is important. Makes for a great day trip out of LA.

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