Wine Wednesday: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt 2009 RK Riesling

I know...it sounds frightening to pronounce, after all most German labels are a mouthful, but I promise you they are a gem and worth looking into! I am a lover of all wines, and that includes German wines despite their perplexing wine labels and laws. I am head over heels with their mineral expression, racy acidity and their vibrant, interesting bouquet and versatility in food and wine pairings. 

This particular riesling is from Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt's RK label, which was introduced in 1999 in celebration of their 650th anniversary. Yeah, that's right...their 650th anniversary as an estate! This riesling is coming from one of the most notable regions in Germany: Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. The Mosel is known as being relatively cool which is why they rely heavily on the steep, slated soils of the region as a nutrient for the vines as well as to retain any heat in the cooler months. Riesling is the dominant varietal planted in the area, but is also accompanied by Elbling and Müller-Thurgau.

Riesling is most known for their remarkably high acidity and sugar content. They can age for years due to these two factors, often aging as long, if not longer as excellent quality red wines, which most people find surprising. It is Riesling's high level of

tartaric acid

against its residual sugar which gives the wine balance. Often, they are very floral on the nose with stone fruits, apple, pear and a mineral expression. Rieslings, overall are quite easy to pair because of their variety and good structure. They range from dry to sweet. If pairing a dry or off-dry Riesling, pair with raw fish, white fish, shellfish, spring vegetables (like asparagus). They also pair well with hearty german dishes like schnitzel, gratin, sausage or scalloped potatoes. I often will pair Riesling with spicy Thai or Indian dishes because their acidity and sugar gives a refreshing, cooling effect to the spicy dishes.

A bit stylized, but the Mosel really does look like this.

Source

It can be difficult to pick out decent riesling wines from Germany due to their confusing labeling and governing laws, as well as mass production of the grape. Here are some tips to help you out:

1.

Look for the acronynms: Q

B

A or Q

M

P, which denote higher quality and stricter laws. However, Qualitätswein can have some good quality (like the one I am reviewing) wines, but is mostly a blanket term for most of Germany's production.

2.

Use your wine steward! Do not be afraid to ask, that is what they are there for, and honestly that is what they live for. Wine Stewards, most anyway, love to help pick out a wine for you and tell you the story behind the wine. Let them help.

3.

If you were going to ignore the second tip, then use the "shelf talker's" as a guide. "Shelf Talker's" are little cards displayed with the wines that offer abbreviated tasting notes and sometimes history or pairings. If you are new to pairing wines I find shelf talker's to be particularly helpful.

That is

tartaric acid

you see at the bottom of my glass.

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt's RK label is a larger production Riesling coming from different areas throughout Mosel, Saar and Ruwer. However, it is quite lovely and a rare gem for Qualitätswein. The 2009 RK Riesling has a nose of Jasmine blossom, white peach, pear, slate and lime piths with flavors that echoed the same. It had zippy acidity and a slight effervescent quality which paired quite nicely with our Massaman curry dinner, and at $14.98 I found it to be lovely value wine.