04/21/10 – Dry Riesling in the Australian Style

By Jesse on April 19, 2010

Our third-annual March Madness blind tasting extravaganza came to its thrilling conclusion last week, with newbie Wino savant Scott Wadlow claiming the top prize! First runner up was yours truly, followed by Jason, Vanessa, Andrea, and Adra. Scott will be presented with the ceremonial Booze Basket trophy at the next meeting he attends. Congratulations to all the participants! Here’s hoping everyone enjoyed themselves, and perhaps even learned a thing or two.

Although the March Madness tournament acts as a thorough primer on some of the world’s most significant regions and grape varietals, there’s plenty that it doesn’t cover. We can’t possibly get to all the notable varietals in a six-week time period, nor even all the significant growing regions for the varietals we do cover, so the period after March Madness often acts as an opportunity for the Winos to catch up on some excellent varietals and regions that fell through the cracks during the tournament. This week, we’re kicking things off with Australian Riesling.

The Winos’ resident Aussie, “Action” Jackson Gerard, will shortly be returning to Australia, and he’s offered to host the event this week before he departs — the theme, therefore, is especially appropriate (and poignant, and sad). Australian Riesling is among the most unique and distinctive in the world, and is often characterized as being bone-dry and aggressively-flavored (in contrast with many of the delicate, feather-light Rieslings we tasted a few weeks ago).

Much of the great Australian Riesling comes from the Clare Valley, so look for that important region when you’re doing your shopping. If you can’t find a Clare Valley, any Riesling from Australia will do — or, if your local wine shop doesn’t have anything Australian, please ask for a recommendation of a dry Riesling that’s at least reminiscent of Australia. A number of dry Rieslings come from France’s Alsace region, as we learned during Riesling week, as well as some from Germany, some from South Africa, and a rare few from California, Oregon, and Washington. Don’t be afraid to ask your friendly shopkeeper for a rec!

(Here’s a special treat for all you Riesling enthusiasts: Slate wine columnist Mike Steinberger wrote a fascinating piece a few months ago about a planned highway in Germany that would potentially decimate the historic Mosel wine region. Really interesting stuff. Click here to read.)

We’ll be meeting at Jackson’s place in Los Feliz. The RSVP system functions like this: if you want in, you click on this link and tell me so (don’t forget your full name, e-mail address, and a cute message conveying to me your intentions). Once you’ve gotten your confirmation e-mail, go out and find yourself a bottle of dry Riesling, Australian if possible — or just bring a $10 donation. (Note: Jackson’s place has limited space, so be sure to RSVP early if you’d like to be guaranteed a spot.)

The tournament is over, and now it’s time to get back to doing what the Winos do best: exploring new and interesting wines! Come join us on Wednesday at 9pm.