ALISTAIR GIBSON: Forget Blue Nun, re-introduce yourself to German riesling

It seems wine is much like many other things in life, fashions come and go and then come back again.

Friday, 4th August 2017, 1:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:06 am
Dr Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett Mosel

Artisans have given a new lease of life to gin and beer – both drinks that were once a staple part of the British drinks scene.

Well, how about German riesling (or to be fair, German wine in general) or Portugal’s vinho verde?

It was not that long ago when these wines were, without doubt, ‘so passé’.

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But now it looks like they are making a comeback.

Vinho verde – which literally means green wine – is without doubt very much finding its way back on to dinner tables, as the interest in white wines from the Iberian peninsular grows.

Quinta da Azevedo Vinho Verde 2015 (Waitrose £6.79 on offer from £8.49 until August 8) is a lovely way to re-introduce yourself to this style of wine, if you haven’t already.

Made mainly from the local loureiro grape, this has delicate floral and citrus notes on the nose, followed by a very fresh palate with the classic touch of spritz.

It’s not overly-complex but then it’s not meant to be.

Try with some simple grilled fish – sardines would be excellent – and think of summer holidays.

German riesling is perhaps a little more divisive.

It seems to me that the wine trade, as they do with Alsace wines, adore German riesling.

But the wine consumer in general hasn’t forgiven the likes of Blue Nun and Black Tower and its associations as yet.

From my perspective, give it another go. You really are missing out on some of the most exciting wines out there.

Dr Loosen Ürziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett 2015, Mosel (Waitrose £12.79 on offer from £15.99 until August 8) is from one of the most dynamic and animated producers in the Mosel.

The Ürziger Wurzgarten Vineyard – which translates as the Spice Garden of Urzig – fills a picturesque amphitheatre, formed by a dramatic bend in the River Mosel.

What perhaps marks it out is its purity; there are green apples, honey and spice on the nose, followed by an intense palate with minerals and spicy acidity making for a wonderfully balanced wine.

It’s relatively low in alcohol so try it on its own in the garden on a summer’s evening or perhaps with a not-too-hot stir fry dish.

I think it would be fair to say Australian Rhone-style red wines have not exactly gone out of fashion, but are perhaps not quite what they were.

To remind your palate, try Kilikanoon Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre 2016, South Australia (Waitrose £7.79 on offer from £10.99 until August 8). It is a summer barbecue must-have red.

It’s big and bold but never gets completely overblown. There are dark fruits, spices, a touch of dried herbs and coffee, followed by smooth tannins and a bright, fruit-led finish.

This is really great value for money while on offer and just needs some chargrilled lamb to accompany it.

n Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth. 
Call (01243) 431002 or e-mail [email protected]