What is Riesling?
Riesling is a noble white grape that makes aromatic white wines.
Riesling grapes make a huge range of still, white wines ranging from bone-dry to unctuously sweet. Riesling is famously good at giving a taste of the terroir in which it is grown. So, for example, Riesling grown in France’s Alsace region will taste very different from Riesling grown in Germany.
- Don’t forget the weather: sunny and dry. Greece enjoys an incredibly high annual number of sun hours, a feature that not only attracts German tourists but also makes it possible for grapes to ripen even at the high altitudes necessary for good acid/fruit balance in the grapes. This is also a very dry and windy country, which means much less disease pressure than in, say, Bordeaux, and so a relatively easy path to organic farming.
They are both made 100% from Nebbiolo grown in the Langhe. But Barolo and Barbaresco are clearly not the same wine.
What's the difference?
The easy answer is the legal one: Barolo and Barbaresco are two different DOCs. They are located in slightly different parts of the Langhe (see the map above).
There are slightly different rules that they have to follow -- for example Barolos have to be aged for 38 months, of which at least 18 months are in barrel, while Barbaresco only requires 26 months, of which 9 must be in barrel. Barolos have to hit 13% alcohol and Barbarescos only 12.5%.
I guess that sort of thing is great to know for your WSET exam, but it doesn't get you into the heart and soul of how these wines are distinct. Hopefully this list of five key differences will help you do that:
Ever since Jon Bonne published his great book (and even before that in our weekly newsletter!) there’s been lots of talk about “The New California Wine.” And for good reason! There’s no more exciting recent development than the rise of Cali growers and winemakers who look back to the Golden Age of California Wine for inspiration to make wines that are balanced, interesting, subtle and, most important of all, delicious.
But America isn’t the only country with a long, complicated and under-appreciated history of winemaking. It isn’t even the only such new world country that, for a while, went a little bit overboard making “Parkerised” wines. Far from it!
So it's time we Americans recognized something important and exciting: the parallels between what's happening in California and in Australia are striking. Maybe we need to start talking about New Australia.
In the world of fine white wine, perhaps no name resonates quite as much as that of Meursault. It's the kind of wine that everyone knows is pretty good. It is a safe choice. And it is often a very good choice. Maybe one day we'll get to a full guide to the intricacies of Meursault -- all the wonderful vineyards (many of which are classified at the village level and strongly over-perform), and the many fine producers.
For now, I'm just going to address one simple question: when is the right time to open up a bottle?