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Spring into rieslings

Deiss Riesling 2009.

Deiss Riesling 2009. Credit: Handout

The dry rieslings of Alsace are year-round stars. But they're especially attractive in spring, whether you're preparing asparagus or ham, sushi or curry.

Alsatian rieslings typically are drier and flintier than their more floral, fruitier German counterparts. These are distinctive whites, ideal with appetizers.

Look for the excellent 2009 Domaine Marcel Deiss Riesling ($25), which has pear notes and lively acidity. A refined wine from Alsace, slightly minerally and very appealing.

The 2009 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Riesling ($27) introduces you to one of Alsace's top producers without getting too pricey. You'll find traces of melon is this satisfying, food-friendly wine.

Equally reliable: the elegant, subtle 2010 Domaine Weinbach Clos des Capucins Riesling Réserve Personnelle ($22), versatile and rich.

The 2009 Gustave Lorentz Riesling Réserve ($24) is more floral than the others, with hints of citrus, too. A neatly balanced, minerally production with fine fruit.

A delightful white, the 2009 Domaine Valentin Zusslin Riesling Bollenberg ($31), offers a real mouthful, with freshness and minerality.

And the 200 Domaines Schlumberger Grand Cru Riesling Saerling ($34) comes across crisp and ripe, suggesting melon and peach.

After tasting these, you'll be ready to toast the region. The perfect way to do so is with a crémant d'Alsace, a sparkling, festive wine that refreshes and delivers very lively acidity. Try the appley, citrusy 2008 Albert Mann Brut Crémant d'Alsace ($20); and the spirited, celebratory nonvintage Pierre Sparr Brut Reserve ($22).

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