It was a cocktail summer this year. As the warm weeks passed, my interest in wines seemed to fade a bit as I mixed new cocktail after new cocktail most every evening. I blame the fervent advocates at the "Tales of the Cocktail" convention for this. They sent me home with so many recipes and ideas. Their mania was contagious.
I had begun to wonder if wine would ever reclaim its former place at the top of my heart. But I shouldn't have worried. As Sept. 5's Frederick Wildman and Sons tasting at Avery Fisher Hall showed, all I needed was one good dive into a sea of great grape to revive my taste buds.
I sipped plenty of wonderful Brunellos, Riesling and Austrian and German wines while there (having only a couple hours to spend, I sort of cherry picked, zoning in on my favorites) and got to meet a scion of the great Austrian Stadlmann wine family, makers of superior Zierfandler and Rotgipfler. I had him all to myself. My fellow sippers did not seem to know what they were missing. And a couple tables were laden with liquid gold, all from Germany. Rieslings from Dr. H. Thanisch, Dr. Fischer, Studert Pruem, Anheuser, Langwerth von Simmern, Franz Karl Schmitt, Seebrich and Graf van Schoenborn. Out of a dozen and a half bottles, I didn't taste one bad brew. The Fischer "Classic" was particularly dry and bracing. And Thanisch, always downgrading Spatlese and Auslese grapes to make their Kabinetts and Spatleses more succulent, can do not wrong. Beautiful stuff.
But perhaps the find of the day came at the end, at the Astoria Vini table. A Prosecco rose, if you can believe it. This is new this year, and, as far as the rep from the table knew, it was the only one of the market. (That will likely change in 2008.) The native grape Raboso ("It's not good for much by itself") is used to give the Prosecco its pink tone and cherry bite. It's as refreshing as hell, and I cursed my luck that I had found the potion at the very end of summer. It's made for the season.