Riesling Report: Weingut Jäger Riesling Smaragd Ried Achleiten 2009

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


[Photo: Maggie Hoffman]

The word Smaragd means emerald—the category is named for lizards sunning themselves where grapes get ripe and flavorful. These ageworthy wines are required to be at least 12.5% alcohol—big, that is, for Austria. At best, these rieslings are focused and tart and deeply mineral—the vines have fought their way through primary rock and drunk up what's buried there.

This wine (from a tiny 5-hectare estate in the Wachau) is exquisitely balanced, with a scent that immediately reminded us of rain splashing onto the rocks. At the core are peachy flavors (a little sweet-sour, like gummy peach ring candy, softened with honeydew) and heady floral notes (magnolia blossoms, maybe.) A lacy web of minerality holds it all together; and there's a little mint, there, too, peeking out from under the fruit. It's wonderful to drink—each sip is crystalline, like one of those indoor fountains that runs up and down a piece of glass, but with peachy perfume there, and fresh tartness.

Your food choices should speak to the mineral core; pasta with clams would work. Skip the spicy Indian food; anything too bold and you'll miss the details in the wine.

Around $36, sample was provided for review.

More Riesling Reports

From Germany:
Stein Blauschiefer Riesling Trocken 2009 »
Weingut Immich-Batterieberg C.A.I. Riesling 2009 »
S.A. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2006 »

From Austria:
Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling 'Gobelsburger', 2010 »

From Italy:
St Michael-Eppan Montiggl Riesling 2009, Alto Adige »

From New York:
Hermann J. Wiemer Late Harvest Riesling 2009 2009 »