There are a lot of places around the globe where Riesling grapes are grown and made into distinctive wine. However, when thinking of Riesling wine the first place that comes to mind is usually Germany, a place where this grape excels and where winemakers and regulations have a clear direction for using it. Among the many options aside from that omnipresent “blue bottle” is the Urban Riesling made with grapes from the Mosel Valley and carefully crafted by Nik Weis the owner and winemaker of the St. Urbans-Hof Estate and I will say up front that his intent to provide a shining example of Mosel Riesling is fulfilled in the 2014 vintage.
A light yellow color in the glass the bouquet is a core of stone fruit wrapped up in a subtle hint of flower blossom and the whole package is worth spending some time with before and after sipping. That aroma blends into the flavor profile of pear and peach fruit that has a delightful mouth feel in the soft roundness of fruit and not the sugary sweetness many people associate with Riesling wine. That expectation of sweetness is a bit deceiving in this wine, it does have a clear sugar element to it, but it is far from dominant in the palate. Instead of a dominating quality that sweetness is the background in the Urban Riesling. A foundation that underlies the soft fruit which lingers on in the mouth after a finish that combines a hint of stone and cleansing acidity, acidity that counters the sweetness and makes you want to sip from the glass again and again.
Typical of a Riesling wine there is a relatively low level of alcohol that makes this a nice stand alone wine for conversation with friends, along with a food wine that will complement and not overpower your meal. Salty foods are a classic pairing with sweet wines so most of our traditional party snacks and appetizers would match well and for those looking for a dinner plate consider a baked ham or entrée featuring bacon, an omelet perhaps.
The Urban Riesling is available on again, off again in our area, I have found it at different times in our two major wine stores, Total Wine and More and ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, as well as several local grocery aisles at a price from $10 $14. Given the lack of a steady supply source you may want to keep an eye out for it, special order it or even order online. You might ask, with all the lower priced Riesling on the shelves why pay over $10 for the Urban Riesling, in this case the proof is in the bottle. Compared to sugary sweet wines this off dry bottling has a subtlety and layering of flavor that is sure to be interesting to the experienced wine drinker and the low alcohol fresh fruit nature will appeal to those who either protest they do not like wine or that they find Riesling “to sweet” for their taste. The bottom line is that this wine lives up to its vision of showing off Mosel Riesling and given the quality in the bottle is nothing to “woof” at, try it and see.