Known for its fragrant aromas, generous fruit flavors and high levels of crisp acidity, Riesling is regarded by critics and sommeliers alike as one of the world's finest white grape varieties.
The origins of this gold-colored grape can be traced back to the cool-climate regions of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Rhinegau and Pfalz in Germany. Today, the classic styles of wines made in these historic winegrowing regions are classified by law based on the ripeness of grapes.
The lightest and most delicate style, kabinett, is commonly made with ripe grapes picked early at the harvest. The richer, bolder, more mouth-filling style, spätlese, is made with the more mature grape clusters. And the sweeter and more intensive style, auslese, is made with ripe late-harvest grapes that are selected from cluster to cluster.
Located on the shores of the Mosel River near the village of Bernkastel in the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region, Dr. Loosen is one of the top producers to specialize in the crafting these three styles of expressive German wines. Although the daytime temperature where the winery is based is relatively cool, the slow ripening of each cluster is helped along by warm rays of sun that reflect off the colorful blue slate rocks that line the base of the vines planted on steep hillsides.
A tasty example of this phenomenon is the Dr. Loosen 2007 "Blue Slate" Riesling Kabinett, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer ($20*). This fruit-forward wine features lovely aromas of fresh cut flowers and flavors of white peach, exotic fruit, fresh squeezed lemon and noticeable hints of mint and raw honey. And although this amiable profile may seem rather delicate at first, the additional layers of crisp acidity, lively minerality and a long clean finish on the palate add more depth and an underlying level of intensity that makes this wine so special.
In keeping with this German theme, a fantastic film pairing with this wine is The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen), a mind-bending drama set in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The film, which snagged best foreign film Oscar in 2008, stars Ulrich Mühe as Gerd Wiesler, a secret police agent assigned to monitor the activities of a popular writer suspected of using his talents to help the revolutionary underground movement. Wiesler taps the suspect's apartment with microphones and follows his daily activities like a hawk watching its prey. But as the plot thickens, Wiesler eventually finds himself smitten by a heart-felt desire to protect the writer's lover, a beautiful and voluptuous stage actress played by Martina Gedeck.
The many layers of mystery, intrigue and passion in this powerful film pair gracefully with the deep, dense and ultimately stimulating sensations found in this new awe-inspiring release of Riesling from Dr. Loosen.
*Prices quoted in U.S. dollars