I’m still on the quest for one of the Toro wines from Frank’s
“It’s a great day for tasting Rieslings,” says a cheery woman with suspiciously frizzy, red hair and a glass already in hand. Like there’s a bad day for Riesling? It takes a second to register that I’ve apparently stumbled on an in-house tasting. Okay, time for a detour from the Toro especially since, according to my chatty, beaming companion, the vineyard owner Johannes Selbach – “such a lovely, daaarling man” – is pouring. Hey, serendipity is good.
All four wines are from the
Halbtrocken Riesling 2005 (1-Litre)
A popular restaurant offering in Germany, this wine gives plenty of slate on the nose. Dry, firm, and “crunchy” as Johannes describes it. Good acidity but certainly not overpowering – great to have on hand for when guests show up unexpectedly. Solid value at $27.99.
Zeltinger Himmelreigh QBA Riesling 2001
A bit fruitier and rounder, this wine presents more petrol on the nose and more sweetness on the palate. I attempt, without success, to find the hint of fizz Johannes experiences but we soon settle for simply agreeing this is a pleasing, comfortable wine – especially at the price point of $17.99.
Bernkaestler Kabinett Riesling 2005
Big mouth feel ensures this wine would pair well with a diverse selection of foods – pastas, tomato and vinaigrette salad, and paella. Easy to see why, at $22.99, this is Selbach-Oster’s most popular wine.
Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spatlese 2003
“A big step up” Johannes says as he pours the last wine. No kidding. Immediately presenting the nose-tickling petrol fragrance that’s synonymous with classic Riesling, this old vine beauty is well balanced, rich, and complex. Peaches dance at the back of the tongue like kids playing in an orchard where fruit laden branches dip low to the ground. Thanks to the hot 2003 summer, there’s a mouth-cleansing acidity that would pair well with a broad range of foods… or simply with the delights of good company. Definitely one to stock at $39.99.