Riesling has become a sidekick in my most recent epicurean escapades, calling on its aromatic powers and ripping acidity to pair with my tendency for favoring overly spiced—capsaicin and exotically rich—Asian fare. This wine is fast taking root in my crowded cellar, displacing all the Zinfandel from Sonoma County with the ever-vibrant whites wines of Germany, Alsace and Austria. These wines have run with my palate, merging into an already extant love for Indian and a newfound interest in Thai cuisine, they are the perfect compliment to the best Asian foods that Southern California can offer and that will certainly translate into a good thing for this blog. With this build-up you can imagine how exhilarating it was to experience the lineup of wines below, presented in class, two Tuesday’s ago.

German heavy whites dominated the billing; it was reminiscent of seeing the Largo Lineup almost every month. Everything appealed to me, even the wines I was not familiar with, knowing that I would get to taste and smell an attractive assortment of bouquets of fresh white flowers and perfectly ripe summer stone fruits, emblematic of the best summer memories of eating peaches and apricots until my taste buds cried uncle.

In class we tasted ten different wines, fulfilling my Riesling desire—temporarily—and getting me closer to 500 (only 264 left to go) on the year. We sipped and spat:

09 Weingut Gysler Sylvaner Halbtrocken

01 Weingut Darting Durkheimer Nonnengarten

08 Schmitt’s Kinder Randersackerer Ewig Leben Bacchus Kabinett QbA

09 Dr. Loosen Red Slate Riesling

09 St. Urbans-hof Piesporter Goldtropfchen Spätlese

Broadbent Vinho Verde

Fonseca Siroco White Port

08 Quinta de Roriz “Prazo de Roriz

03 W& J Graham’s LVC

It would be fair to mention that our class also covered Portugal but still, my interest lay with the first half, understanding the differences of the Nahe and Phalz as well as the residual sugar that is found in the different levels of ripeness. The wines required our focused attention; they rewarded us a complex blend of auto body shop, minerals and fuzzy fruits (varied between dried characteristics to freshly picked from the vine) all with different levels of acidity, and consequently, brightness.

One of the most memorable wines I tasted that night was the 01 Weingut Darting from Phalz, with a darker hue akin to the glow of sage blossom honey and tied to aromas rich in smoke like a recently lit firecracker, apricot and some more honey. The wine displayed great acidity, a lean medium body and long finish of marmalade that would not quit. There were some other wines with equally astonishing characteristics but the age cast a different light on the wine—suggesting a trove of possibilities when aging any Riesling, a grape with so much acidity inherently—,nevertheless it stood out amongst its peers.

While I was left with amazing images of Portugal and some nice wines from that country, Germany stole the show. I am Dutch, so I am not quick to tout Deutschland as the best place in the world for wine, but I can honestly tell you that I am beginning to see why Riesling is so important. While barely scratching the surface of what was capable with the Riesling grape and what, at most, 27 dollars could afford you, I have seen enough character to woo me, faster than the indie sounds of Elecrtelane and more substance than a Joyce novel. “[Riesling] you’re my only friend.”