Monday night during my wine appreciation class, we had the chance to taste three Riesling wines. Since Riesling is Germany’s most famous grape variety, two of the wines were from regions in Germany. The first wine was a 2010 Geil Becht Rosengarten Riesling, the second a 2010 Selbach Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling and the third was a 2010 Domaine Ehrhart Riesling Herrenweg from France.
I enjoyed all three wines, and I thought it was a great opportunity to compare wines made from the same variety of grapes and the from grapes harvested in the same year. Quite a few of my classmates had thoughts on the wines as well. (Note: First names are used because I had requests from two students to do so and I wanted the style to be consistent.)
“Our first wine was the best of the three Rieslings in my opinion because it tasted the sweetest and didn’t taste acidic,” said Eric, a senior in electrical engineering. Alicia, a junior in agricultural communication, agreed, saying, “The first wine was by far my favorite – it was sweet and fruity.” I agreed with both that our first taste of the night was delicious, but I thought it had a tart, green apple mouthfeel with a mineral aftertaste.
I thought the first wine was going to be my favorite taste of the night until I took a sip of the Selbach. It was served slightly chilled and I thought it also had a sweet, apple taste. Rob, a senior German exchange student, disagreed a little on the flavor, but also enjoyed the wine. “I smelled peach and apple, and it tasted acidic,” he said of the Selbach. “But I really liked it because of the contradictions. It was fruity, but also dry.” Jiangyi, a senior in psychology, agreed, saying, “I loved it.”
“I liked the second wine the best because it smelled pretty good. It smelled fruity and sweet, but it tasted a little dry. I didn’t like the label because it didn’t do the wine justice, but the green bottle was nice,” said Fatim, a senior in hospitality and tourism management.
And the third wine, while adequate, did not rate a top spot on peoples’ lists compared to the other two. The Ehrhart wine was the most astringent taste of the night. Brian, a senior pre-medicine student, said, “It’s okay, but I would prefer the others or red wine more. It makes my mouth water a bit and it’s acidic.”
Another student liked the aroma of the third wine the best, but the tste left something to be desired. “The smells reminded me of summer – apple, pear and some kind of flower,” said Taylor, a senior in nursing. “But it was too dry for me, I like sweet wines.”
Before taking this class, I would have definitely agreed with Taylor in preferring sweet wines. But being able to taste a little bit of a number of different wines has expanded my palette. I still like sweet, fruity wines, but I also can appreciate drier, more subtle wines.