Riesling Report: Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett 2008

Editor's note: the Summer of Riesling may be over, but we're still exploring the many facets of this excellent grape. Want more riesling recommendations? Right this way...


Riesling nerds tend to sigh when you mention Willi Schaefer; the tiny production, the beautiful flavors, the few bottles they've sequestered away in long-term storage. I picked up this wine at Union Square Wines—you won't find a lot of Schaefer anywhere, though you can pre-order some of the 2010s at places like Chambers Street and Crush Wine.

There's an elegance and polish to this wine that you don't see at lower price levels, but the excitement is still there. A swirling tart acidity (like tart raspberries) wraps around the focused fruit: skin-on asian pear, lychee, tangerine. It has a cooling quality, like the crisp air under mossy pines, slate cutting into the most pristine, icy-cool mountain stream. A fennel and elderflower note reminded us a bit of pastis, with blue-green, mentholated eucalyptus-like flavor as it opens up.

Don't cover this wine up with food; go simple with sashimi or some nearly-raw salmon preparation, or delicate charcuterie.

Around $28.

About the Author: Maggie Hoffman is the editor of Serious Eats: Drinks and coeditor of Serious Eats: Sweets. You can follow her on Twitter @maggiejane.