Finally, you might say, finally a riesling that you have tried and you can compare my notes with your impressions. I admit that I have not tried many rieslings that are easily available here in the US. I have seen the ubiquitous bottle of this wine at Trader Joe’s but was unwilling to pay the $10.99 they were asking for it. So when, on our latest Costco run, I spotted the Dr. L for $8.99 I decided to give it a try. It seems to be the go to riesling for so many people here, and there was no reason at that price point to not give it a try.
First things first. I am usually not very optimistic when it comes to huge productions of quality winemakers, because all too often I have found them to be wanting. In Germany, I have not had many Dr. Loosen wines, so I also was not very comfortable assessing this and putting it into perspective. Then seeing the $10+ price tag for a very simple wine, I was even more turned off. Add in that I also tend to shy away from things everyone likes, Dr. L was in a bad position to start with. If you call all this over-thinking things, I guess you are completely right. I am glad that the price tag made me overcome all my preconceived objections.
When I decided to make Korean squash pancakes (hobakjeon, 호박전) with mushrooms, I figured this was the night to try the wine. I have had many good experiences with the Korean food and riesling pairing (for example here), so it seemed like a no brainer.
For those not familiar with the wine, just a few quick facts. Ernst (or Ernie) Loosen, the owner of Dr. Loosen Estate, is one of the major producers along the middle Mosel with vineyards in many prime sites (Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Graacher Himmelreich, Ürziger Würzgarten, Erdener Prälat, Erdener Treppchen). He is a charismatic figure and has done loads for promoting German rieslings. The Loosen Bros. Dr. L is his entry wine produced for a global market. The riesling grapes come from all over the place and are blended for this wine. The wine has 8.5% ABV.
Upon opening the screw cap of the beautifully dark green bottle, we poured a light yellow wine. As soon as Nina put her nose into the glass, she sighed “Aaaah, real German riesling, I missed you”. She relished the nose of what she described as summer fruits, peach, pineapple. To me, the nose did not really open up much or impress me. I got the peach and some floral notes later, but not initially (and no, the wine had not been chilled too much). The palate, though, was very nice. Peach, apples and citrus notes dominated it, with some herbal notes in the background. It had a nicely present acidity (probably owing to the vintage, 2010 had loads of acidity; read more here) that played well with the sweetness of the wine. In my view, this acidity was what carried it through and made it interesting. It is definitely a tad on the sweeter side, but the acidity makes it quite refreshing. It went great with the pancake and its soy-sauce based dips.
At nine bucks, this is a good value for a wine. We will be stocking up for sure. I am a little worried about the 2011, because if there is less acidity this could end up just too sweet. We’ll see. I will be drinking the 2010s as long as I can and then make the switch. It was nice to see that none of my worries came true. I whole-heartedly recommend this affordable, everyday German riesling.