Variety: 100% Riesling
Region: Mosel, Germany
Cost: $26 (SRP)
Winemaker’s Notes: A fabled floral nose laced with gentle smoke, delicate sweetness, juicy fruit flavors, and a smooth minerality make this Saar Kabinett a thing of fairy tales. Goes perfectly well with green Thai curry, melon wrapped with Serrano, glazed pork belly with kimchi.
My Review: Riesling is always a roll of the dice for me. As a general rule I don’t like sweet wines, but I also know the value of them in balancing spicy foods. Having tasted Riesling from the Finger Lakes and Oregon, I know that it doesn’t have to be sweet, and can instead be dry, with racy mineral flavors.
That, of course, is not how Germany makes their Riesling. I think part of my hesitation around German Riesling comes from the time I lived there – my dad was in the Army, and we were stationed there for 5 years, during which I got to try some wines (even though I was young); even then I didn’t love the sweeter wines.
That being said, my tastes have evolved, and I know the difference between a good wine that’s on the sweeter side of the spectrum and one that’s just using sweetness to mask inferior wine. Fortunately, the 2018 Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof Ockfener Bockstein Kabinett falls into the former category.
In the glass the wine was a golden color, while on the nose I picked up aromas of citrus, apples, lime, and gooseberry with just a touch of honey. On the palate I got apples and honey. The wine was sweet, but not cloying, and it didn’t coat the mouth, which I really appreciated.
My wife and I paired the wine with a shrimp quinoa fried rice dish, and the sweet notes were well balanced by the spice of the dish.
While I personally prefer a dryer Riesling, I could recognize that this was a well-made wine, and a good representation of what Mosel does so well. My wife said that the wine was too sweet for her (which is fair), but as a counter to a spicy dish, it was perfect (and the 9% alc/vol makes it very easy to sip).
For $26 I like the wine. It’s well made, and while not exactly my taste, my hesitations around it are personal preference, not a knock on the wine itself. Also, with only a few days until Thanksgiving, it’s never a bad time to grab a bottle of Riesling (rumor has it that it goes well with Thanksgiving dinner…)
Editor’s Note: I received this wine as a free sample for review.