We visited Argyle on a trip to the wonderful Willamette valley a few years ago and really enjoyed their bubbly and late harvest Riesling. Most recently, I picked up this 2007 Riesling at the PA State Store (otherwise known as Fine Wine & Good Spirits) for $11.99 – - one of the chairman’s selections. This is indeed a more dry Riesling and one that has aged more than any other still white wine I’ve ever had. It took a little time to open up, but definitely has some pear and honey notes. It also goes great with Panda Black Licorice and I’m finding a great pair of most crisp whites and this black licorice as it creates a creaminess that’s really unique. Cheers.
My mom carried this wonderfully crisp Riesling back from her visit to Germany last month and it was a treat. Many are used to finding Riesling here to be more akin to apple juice. This Wine Spectator Top 100 pick for 2010 doesn’t disappoint. It has a base minerality and crisp citrus notes finished with a bit of honey. I really liked it; I guess I’ll have to go to Germany for my next bottle.
Many believe that as spring arrives, it becomes white wine season. I’m split on the matter as I enjoy a solid white year-round, but my wife leans more towards whites in warm weather and who am I to object? I really like Riesling and this Prinz Von Hessen German Kabinett is a low alcohol (11.5%) rather dry (as Riesling goes) offering. It has the traditional apple flavor, but not in an overt, sweet manner. Rather, it’s restrained and balanced with a bit of citrus and minerality. This works well with food and without. Enjoy!
Riesling is easily one of my favorite whites as it can be sticky sweet in the form of a late harvest or bone dry and crisp. Due to this, it’s also quite versatile and in this case, the Spy Valley bottle which we enjoyed on the first night of our cruise fit the bill. It had hints of green apple with the balance of citrus and is probably in the middle of the sweet to dry scale. I ate jerk chicken that night in the Grand Pacific Dining room on the NCL Jade and the wine helped cut the pepper which is ever-present in jerk chicken rubs.
You’d think that with a label and name like ‘reserve’ that this might be an expensive wine. That’s not the case. In fact, this enjoyable Riesling is a whopping $8 and is a very easy drinking warm weather wine. My mom came over today and the wife and I treated her to a home-grilled dinner and since my mom leans towards the sweeter, less-dry side of the wine spectrum, Riesling is right up her alley. This Hayman & Hill is a good value wine and has the up front sweetness and sugar that comes with this type of Riesling. I found it peachy with minimal crispness. It worked well with our dinner and is great for folks who don’t enjoy the sau blanc style of white.
When I see a dry riesling, I expect a crisp apple scent, some apple-like flavor and maybe lime too. In this case, I was surprised to get many of the traditional sauvignon blanc flavors like grass and crisp citrus with the finish of a riesling – the crisp, but very faint apple. This is a good riesling for people who think that all riesling tastes like apple cider and you know who you are. It’s bright and refreshing and smooth all at the same time. This was another one of our Hamptons purchases as Paumanok is a Long Island (North Fork) vineyard.
We enjoyed this light Riesling tonight; it’s light in flavor, color and alcohol (8%). They could label this as an apple cider and half of the consumers wouldn’t know any different. For the others, it’s a delightful spring/summer german (mosel) riesling that goes well with food or by itself.
Last night, we had a fun dinner at Chifa, part of the Jose Garces (Iron Chef) food empire growing in Philadelphia. We really enjoy the small plates/tapas experience as you can try lots of things rather than having to decide on just an appetizer and main course.
We both had mixed drinks from the bar to start our meal:
-Spicy Margarita (Tequila, Passion Fruit, Thai Chiles) & Chinese 5 Spice Manhattan (Rye Whiskey, 5 Spice Infused Simple Syrup). The margarita had some kick from the Thai Chilis and the Manhattan was nice and smooth. I’ve been on a bourbon kick recently since attending a Bourbon tasting last year.
Wine during dinner:
- Crios “Rose of malbec ” 2008 Mendoza, Argentina: This was in the deep rose family and had enough body to stand up to the spices in my dinner, but also some dry fruitiness to round it out.
- Riesling: SCHLOSS VOLLRADS 2007 Rheingau, Germany: No doubt a very sweet Riesling that we enjoyed. I found some pineapple and peach in the wine which might have been better with dessert (which we didn’t have) than dinner.
Then the food arrived…
As if we hadn’t ordered enough, the chef sent out these manchego cheese stuffed breads, almost savory donuts which were light and cheesy! From there, here’s what we ate and my impressions of each item:
- Peruvian Ceviche (corvina, sweet potato, pickled pearl onions): There was a good amount of fish in the dish and it had solid, citrus flavor. My only thought is that it was more of a citrus soup with fish and other good stuff and might have benefited from a more shallow dish. This was served with corn nuts which we really enjoyed snacking on throughout the meal.
- Kobe Tartar (sriracha, pear, wasabi mayo): If I see tartar on the menu, I’m ordering it. The overall flavor of this was ok, but I felt that the steak didn’t shine as there was too much salt. My wife, who loves salt enjoyed it but could see how I felt that way.
- Chifa Pickles (melon & cucumber, cauliflower & apple, spicy greens): These are not Jewish deli pickles! A very interesting set of flavors. The spicy greens had a sesame oil in addition to the pickling spices and were good; I could have eaten a bowl of that with some tiradito.
- Pork Belly Bao Buns (hoisin glaze, pickled daikon & carrot, togarashi mayo): Melt in your mouth pork belly goodness sandwiched between rice dough pancakes. Can’t miss this which can also come with Duck, Tofu, or Lobster)
- Soup Dumplings (heritage pork, sesame, black vinegar): I’ve had the soup dumplings in NYC, specifically at Joe’s Shanghai which are the best, so this was enticing, but had a lot to live up to. The noodle and filling were fresh, the pork filling had a pungent ginger and scallion flavor, but there wasn’t much in the way of soup in the dumpling. Overall good flavor, especially when mixed with the dipping sauce, but more of a steamed bun than a soup dumpling.
- Pork Bowl (ramen noodles, braised pork, egg, spicy greens): Some of the best ramen noodles I’ve ever had and the broth had a richness to it that was so appealing. The pork itself was almost a throw in, I could have just enjoyed the noodles and broth. This too, like the Tartar had a bit too much salt for my taste.
- Humita (charred corn, bacon, mushrooms, aji cream): This was a real earthy (umami?) dish with the grilled corn cake, almost polenta-like and thinly sliced mushrooms and bacon. Luckily, this was our first hot dish and we were able to taste it all.
We didn’t eat dessert as we were so full, but the check came with 2 small rice crispy treats with the Chef’s logo on it and that was a nice end to the meal. Service was fluid, efficient, and educating. Overall, this was a fun and filling experience and I look forward to returning.