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Riesling Report: Two Affordable Options

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We've been exploring the world of riesling this month, and we've tasted some truly delicious, complex wines. Some were hauntingly mineral, and others offered a spark of electric acidity. But as we tasted mostly bottles in the mid-range, pricewise, we were also curious about budget options. Here are two we'd be happy to drink again.

Urban Riesling, 2010

Not an estate wine, but it gathers some of the trademark flavors of the Mosel (apple/peach notes, chalky minerals, limey tang) in a tasty, affordable package. This lush, medium-bodied riesling has a spritzy tartness, but the viscosity obscures some of the more delicate mineral flavors.

There are hints of ripe pineapple, but it's just a tiny bit off dry, and the lingering fruit flavors make it a spot-on choice for Thai dishes. It would also be perfect with crabcakes or fried soft shell crabs; this is a really food-friendly wine, and just 9% ABV. Not the right choice if you're looking for chiseled, spellbinding riesling, but it's definitely one of our favorites in the budget category.

Around $10, sample provided for review.

Hooked Riesling, 2008

I'm suspicious of a German wine with too much English on the label. But I was pleasantly surprised by this Nahe wine from Rudi Wiest Selections. The scent is nice; peaches and lemons, and the flavor, while not fascinating or complex, is fresh and bright, with tart, tangy acidity that lasts a long time. It's not as rich and full as the Urban (and its flaws are a bit less obscured.) There's a pleasant, delicate minerality, hints of pink grapefruit and peachy blossoms (more canned cling peaches than fresh August ones, but it's more tart than sweet.)

This wine is a good crossover for Sauvignon Blanc lovers, and delightfully low in alcohol at 9.5% ABV. Though it's not flawless, I'd be happy drinking this on a hot day, and it would go nicely with grilled fish (or fish tacos).

Around $12, sample provided for review.

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