They travelled up the East Coast, starting in Key West and landing in New York. When they stopped in Virginia, we celebrated their Charlottesville arrival with a Riesling Dinner at Petit Pois Bistro.
The family arrived in good form-- my dad showed up to the dinner in his German hat. He also brought his own stein! That's some serious commitment.
And of course, where Paul goes, so do riesling tattoos.
Booth Hardy from Barrel Thief in Richmond snapped this lovely photo of a freshly tattooed David Witkowsky!
Paul was not shy. He preached riesling-- on fire-- throughout the night and was not ambiguous in his thoughts. We listened and ate our pork belly.
Even for all the riesling I try in my day-to-day career, I still find that this grape brings new messages with each comparative tasting. This evening was no exception. Unexpectedly, I felt a comfortable tension between the dry and sweet styles: Jakob Schneider's 2010 "Magnus" reinforced the majestic, compact, dry wines coming out of the Nahe; its beauty exactly counterbalanced by the slightly sweet, dense, electric, richness of the 2011 Selbach-Ostler Schlossberg Spatlese from the Mosel. For the last several years the 'new' dry wines seemed to be a direct rebellion against the sweeter Pradikat-style wines; but after listening to the experts and tasting the wines on this night, the two styles seemed to be finding a comfortable plain on which to share territory. I walked away with a sense that the styles were no longer in direct competition, and instead had reached a coexistence truce. There are still so many articles, blog posts, and theses to be penned that need to tease out the differences between these two styles-- styles which seem to embody opposing missions: the Pradikat wines appear to equate ripeness with quality, while GG-esque bottlings clearly associate terroir with quality. But now that the conversation between the two has been going on for a while, it feels comfortable to navigate between both worlds. That was a surprising source of joy for me throughout the evening.
Here is an idea of what we tried:
2012 Mayschoss-Altenahr “Mayschosser” Pinor Noir Dry, Ahr
2011 Schönleber Riesling Extra Brut Sekt, Rheingau
2013 Thörle Riesling Dry, Rheinhessen
2012 Johannishof Charta Riesling, Rheingau
2010 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Riesling Kabinett, Mosel
2012 Georg Albrecht Schneider Riesling Spätlese, Niersteiner Hipping, Rheinhessen
2012 Wirsching Silvaner, Iphöfer, Franken
2010 Jakob Schneider “Magnus” Riesling Dry, Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle, Nahe
2011 Tesch “Unplugged” Riesling Dry, Nahe
2011 Robert Weil Riesling Kabinett, Rheingau
2011 Selbach-Oster Riesling Spätlese, Zeltinger Schlossberg, Mosel
Paul mentioned that he likes his lists to "tell a story," which means that many quality levels and styles of wine can be part of a particular story. Tonight's story seemed to be a fairy tale where Pradikats and GGs lived happily ever after.
And Stuart Pigott is a serious riesling fan. Should you doubt it, just take a look at his right arm: Stuart's "riesling" tattoo is 100% real-- I inspected it!
In addition to taking us through a riveting tasting of wines, he was generous enough to translate some tough German words for us, like bocksbeutel. Look it up!