A Salute to the Liter!


Did you know that there are a lot of big bottles of Riesling out there?  Big liter bottles! 1000 milliliters, that’s 250 more milliliters, meaning you get a whole extra serving of juice!  The best part, they cost about the same as a regular size 750 ml bottle!  Let’s hear it for quantity!

This isn’t jug wine, this is thoughtful and versatile wine from the most noble grape of them all, from one of the best wine producing areas in the world.

2010 Weingut Günther Steinmetz Riesling. $18.  Imported by Mosel Wine Merchants.

From the village of Brauneberg in the Middle Mosel (Mittemosel) Stefan Steinmetz grows and hand harvests this entry level Riesling from two steep vineyard sites, Mandelgraben and Sonnenlay.  The gray and blue slate rich soil produced a big and nervy wine from the  2010 growing season with more than usual high levels of acidity that stand against its powerful must weight.  Ripe and mineral, this exceptional delight will make any breaded and pan-fried meal all the much better.

2010 Weingut Klemens Weber Riesling Halbtrocken. $13. Imported by Potomac Selections.

The Pfalz region is the second largest wine region in Germany and one of the warmest.  The summers are long and hot with some vineyards reaching a near Mediterranean like climate.  The Haardt Mountains protect vines from frost in the winter.   Needless to say ripeness is not much of a problem here.  Though Riesling is the most planted grape you will also find a large amount of the easy to grow Müller-Thurgau.   Other varieties that thrive include Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) Scheurebe, Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and Traminer.

Weingut Klemens Weber is located in the village of Burrweiler on the outskirts of the Palatinate Forest.  The combination of sunny weather and the well draining sand, stone and clay soil make the wines reliably fruity, fresh and harmonious. The nose is tropically herbal and a little grassy.  You might need more than a liter.  If you happen to be in the town of Burrweiler you can stay with the Weber family and rent one of their rooms for 50 € a night.  They might even give you some free wine.

2009 Weingut Darting Dürkheimer Nonnengarten Riesling Kabinett. $18. Imported by Michael Skurnik Wines.

Kurt Darting also located in the Pfalz, farms 17 hectares of vineyard area with some recently acquired Grand Cru sites. Though most known for his Rieslings he also produces Weissburgunder,  Rieslaner,  Scheurebe,  Portugieser, Muskateller ,Ortega, Spätburgunder
and even Chardonnay  (not all German wines are Riesling).  Total production is around 12,500 cases.  Low in alcohol, plump and piquant, this wine is meant for the long haul against salty and savory dishes.

These wines are meant for everyday drinking and are an easy way to introduce yourself to the wonderfully complicated world of German wines.  They are easily accessible, both in taste and on the wallet and they aren’t so weird and austere to scare you back to oaky Chardonnay.  What’s cooler than a liter of Riesling?

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