The winter months can come as a rude awakening after the holiday season: cold, damp, and gray in much of the country, and bringing with them a mound of credit card bills evoking the December’s festivities.
Schloss Johannisberg 50o Riesling 2014 ($15)
This charming riesling proves a perfect complement to a moderately hot, creamy Thai curry or a sweet-and-sour vegetarian pad Thai. The vineyards for this wine are located on the 50th parallel north in Rheingau, Germany, which has a cool climate that provides excellent growing conditions for this varietal. Schloss Johannisberg is one of the most respected domaines in a region that produces more rieslings than any other in Germany, so it is no surprise that even their entry-level wines are of fine quality. The hand-harvested grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks and settle on the lees for several months. The resulting wine is straw-yellow in the glass with an extravagant nose of white stone fruits competing with green apple and Meyer lemon. It's lightly creamy in body, with the green apple emerging with a bit more lemon on the palate.
Dr. Loosen "Red Slate" Dry Riesling 2014 ($18)
This riesling from the more than 200-year-old house of Dr. Loosen is a truly remarkable value. The Mosel Valley’s steep south-facing slopes ensure sufficient sun and the region's cool climate facilitates slow ripening. The soil type in which the grapes are grown is red Devonian slate, and the mineral notes in this dry wine are exceptional. The nose is complex and expressive, with a harmonious blend of fruit, floral notes, and spice complementing the pronounced mineral accents. Matured in neutral oak casks for eight to 12 months and kept on lees for a full year, the wine is beautifully balanced and round on the palate with a delicious spiciness emerging in its bright, acidic finish. This is an extremely food-friendly wine, and quite versatile. I would pair it with everything from simply dressed fresh crab and oysters to creamy mushroom vol-au-vents. Winemaker Ernst Loosen has introduced sustainable environmental practices into his family’s business, such as restricting crop sizes and using organic fertilizers, while consistently producing superior, quality wines worthy of critical acclaim.