August 13, 2008
Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear WBW, happy birthday to you! Today marks the 48th WBW, and thus the 4th birthday of the monthly wine blogging event created by Lenn of Lenndevours. Fittingly, Lenn is hosting this 48th edition of his brainchild and has chosen the theme "Back to your roots." By this, he meant to go back to when you first started drinking wine and pick up one of your first bottles again to re-taste now.
I thought about it, but I didn't want to. Like many others, my journey with alcohol in general started with the bottom of the barrel (no pun intended). I drank free beer (Natty Ice and Milwaukee's Best anyone), wine in a box (Dr. Franz, as we affectionately called it, was a good friend), and vodka out of a $7 handle (mmm, Granite State and Zhenka). I have no desire to go back to any of that, it was foul when I drank it then. So I thought a little longer, and contemplated going back to the first bottle of wine that made me turn away from whatever came in a big format bottle or a cheap box. And that was a bottle of 1999 Schmitt Sohne Riesling. It cost about $5-$6 a bottle at the time, and one of my very dear friends showed up with a case of it one day.
I'd never had a Riesling. I didn't know what Riesling was. But I knew I loved it. And from that day on, I bought wine for the sake of trying new things. I stocked my college mini fridge with random bottles that I picked up at the state-controlled liquor store and went for flights of wine with my friends at the one restaurant with a decent wine selection in town. I stayed mostly in the white wine arena for a while, like many new wine lovers, as it seemed an easier transition and red wine scared me a bit. Now, I also didn't want to go back and drink the Schmitt Sohne again. I've had it fairly recently. Maybe it's me or maybe it's the wine, but it's not what I remember.
Instead, I decided to to search my local stores for a bargain Riesling and go back to the grape and country that started my affair with wine. In that vein, I managed to located a bottle of Lucashof 2007 Pfalz Riesling from Germany. I picked it up at Grape and Bean, a new, to me, wine shop in Old Town Alexandria for $14.50, it clocked in at 11% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure.
Surprisingly, I don't drink much Riesling anymore. It could be because I get most of my wine from California and not many CA producers grow Riesling, or it could be because I drink a lot more red wine now than I used to, or it could just be that the stores I frequent don't carry a lot of Riesling (very true, my first shop didn't have a single bottle and the 2nd stop had 3.) But I really should, because each time I open a bottle of Riesling, I'm reminded of why I began to love wine.
The Lucashof showed honey, stone, apricots, lemon, and a beautiful flowery citrus on the nose. I could, as is the case with several wines I've consumed recently, almost smell the acidity, the structure that was going to be in the glass. In the mouth, more honey, peach, lemon, citrus, honey suckle, very dry fruit. It was delightfully light, and almost sprightly in the mouth. It brought back memories of the intrigue I found in my first glass of Riesling, a promise of how good wine could be.
Though of course, part of the experience in drinking my first Riesling was the company in which I drank it. I remember all those days fondly with my best friends from college, lazy days with no responsibility and the only pressing question of the day being what we would do that night. And really, that's what wine and Riesling are to me, a great memory, evoked with every glass. For this WBW, it didn't matter what Riesling I chose, or whether or not it was excellent, good, or just passable, it was the act of pulling out a bottle of Riesling and drinking it with good company, these days, my wonderful husband.
Many thanks to Lenn for the excellent theme, and for keeping WBW going all these years. I look forward to many more years of participating and I am excited to read what others chose for their wine.