Riesling Report: Nikolaihof Riesling Vom Stein Smaragd, 2008

July is riesling month! We're drinking it all month long...and maybe longer. Got a favorite riesling? Recommend it in the comments!


At the recent Theise portfolio tasting, the Nikolaihof wines stopped me in my tracks—not just the riesling, but the Grüner and Gelber Muskateller as well. Sipping these wines, the buzz of the room blurred into the background, and the flavors washed over me: fruit and stones, flowers pressing through slate, herbs releasing their oils. So I've been hoarding this bottle, waiting for a night when I had a good long time to spend with it.

It turns out that was a very good idea; in fact, this is a white wine I'd consider decanting, because it seems to need a little air and it opened beautifully over the course of the evening, almost as if the floral elements were blooming in the glass, unfurling and dropping their petals everywhere. We tasted white peaches and thyme, blue-green eucalyptus, a flare of white pepper (it could be the alcohol adds a little more heat than I need here.) Wrapping around the fruit is a savory musk; a soy sauce-like richness and slight salinity. My kneejerk pairing suggestion would be roast chicken (with fennel caramelizing underneath the bird) or turkey broth.

But we drank the last sips with sushi, and it was wildly delicious, the wine sinking into the fish and elevating it silkily, the soft sashimi bringing out the savory character of the riesling, everything bright and rich and shimmering.

Around $60, sample provided for review.

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