after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

trust the dr. [loosen]

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t says:  a has been a fan of Dr. Loosen Rieslings for a while.  I, on the other hand, generally stay away from German Rieslings – they never do anything for me.  They’re often too sweet for my palate and make any fruit notes taste more like fruits that are preserved in sugary syrup (e.g. Dole peaches), which is heavy and overwhelming.  For dessert, great.  For eating with stinky cheeses, fine.  But for a meal or by itself, it’s just too distracting.  I even branched out to some Trimbach Riesling from France, which was supposed to be fairly iconic, but was ultimately disappointed. Why had Rieslings forsaken me?

When planning an 18-person adventure to Han Dynasty, I needed to bring multiple bottles of wine that would make everybody happy (we were celebrating birthdays, including g’s!).  a once again chimed in with Dr. Loosen.  Although hesitant, I figured that if I’m looking for a crowd-pleaser, semi-sweet wines are easier than dry ones.  After I did some research/googling, I found that Dr. Loosen is a pretty famous name when it comes to German Rieslings … however … there are quite a few different bottlings to choose from! I only needed one!  What to choose, what to choose?

This is what I did …  First, I had to re-learn the German “ranking” system for their wines (my CSW knowledge was a little fuzzy).  ‘Ze Germans put their wines into four different tiers of “quality”:
Tafelwein (table wine)
Landwein (‘country wine’)
QbA (‘region-specific wine’)
Pradikatswein (‘superior quality wine’ … from a specific region)

There’s a lot that goes into these different quality levels.  The one that I focused on was sugar.  “Sugar” in wine is important, but not for the reason that you might think (i.e. not just because it makes wine sweet).  Sugar in a ripened grape serves as the food for yeast during fermentation into EtOH.  So, the higher the sugar in the beginning (i.e. the riper the grape), the higher the alcohol in the end.  In a land with cooler climate, one could imagine that maybe it would be tough to achieve enough grape ripeness/sugar to allow for enough alcohol in the finished product.  This is the “challenge” for some of German wines.  As a result, Tafelwein, Landwein, and QbA are allowed to have their producers add sugar so the final wine can achieve enough alcohol (this process is called chaptalization).  While I absolutely do not want to say that there are no good Tafelweins, Landweins, or QbA wines, I have to say that I can see how chaptalization is a little like cheating (although I’m not as up-in-arms about it as a lot of the fanatical home-wine-makers are about it).  Interestingly, in the superior Pradikatswein designation, this process is not allowed.  I kinda respect that – it’s like an extra challenge.  Ok, so therefore I needed So I needed a cost-conscious Dr. Loosen Pradikateswein … but wait!  There’s more …

The Pradikatswein designation includes further subdivisions, which tend to correlate with the residual sugar levels in the finished product:
Kabinett (often semi-sweet, but can be dry)
Spatlese (semi-sweet)
Auslese (sweet)
Beerenauslese (sweeter)
Eiswein (sweeterer)
Trockenbeerenauslese (oh-so-sweet)

There are more subtleties in these designations have to do with how the grapes are picked in order to achieve higher levels of sugar, but that’s just overkill for this blog.  The point of all of this is that I wanted to pick a Pradikatswein with the lowest level of residual sugar because I was worried of getting something too sweet; a little bit of sweet would be desirable to go with Han’s spicy food, but I didn’t want the syrupy honey sugar-rush – especially because g has had eisweins, noble rotted wines, and late harvest wines but did not like them.  So I was hunting for a Dr. Loosen Kabinett (n.b. all Kabinetts are Pradikatswein by default).

So I surfed the usual websites to see what was available:
PLCB website
Winelegend
Wineworksonline
TotalWine

Ta-da!  Spotted a Dr. Loosen Kabinett at wineworksonline.  I proceeded to buy several bottles for our dinner party and brought it with us to Han.

Holy.  Crap.

It was delicious!  Figuring it was a fluke, g and I have gone through 2 more bottles on other occasions.  Yup!  Each was as good as the last!  We were so impressed that this Dr. Loosen will be added to our cellar.

2009 dr. loosen "blue slate" kabinett

2009 Dr. Loosen “Blue Slate” Riesling ($14.98 at wineworksonline.com).  A peculiar nose that smells like honey and fleshy stone fruits as well as a waft of petrol/chemical/rubber – very intriguing.  On the palate, there’s honey-kissed apricot and peach up front that are very pleasant before giving way to some citrus and Sauvignon Blanc-esque zippiness.  It finishes very cleanly, making for a very  refreshing off-dry/semi-sweet wine – not at all overwhelming.  It worked beautifully with spicy food and has only 7.5% EtOH, meaning you can just keep drinking and drinking …  I do wish it had a little less sugar so I could justify drinking it by itself (with its sweetness, I kind of feel like it works best when accompanied by something savory), but other than that, I feel like it’s a solid $15 wine.

a says:  I have something to add to this post.  You should try the Dr. Loosen “Red Slate”. ($13.99 at PLCB)  We’ve had it – it’s great and it’s the”dry” version of the blue slate – it’s crisper.  It still has good feel, not heavy, but coats the palate.

t says:  I saw that at the local PLCB store the other day.  I didn’t know enough about it, so I didn’t go for it because (1) I’ve seen a lot of reassuring Blue Slate ratings but only a few for the Red Slate and (2) I originally wanted the sweetness to go with Han’s spice.

a says:  Ratings smatings!  The Red Slate is good and would be fine with spice.  Good Rieslings can do anything!  ANYTHING!

t says:  My sincerest apologies Lord Riesling.  I’ll put it on the list!

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

19 March 2012 at 9:23am

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