Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mr. 9.6%

Recently, Roman Roth, the talented Long Island winemaker, sent me a bottle of his 2007 Riesling. 2007! It seems to silly to point out the year, because it's the only vintage available, the first time Roth has attempted a Riesling out on the North Fork. According to Roth, 2007 was one of the best LI vintages ever, so he finally decided to make the Riesling everyone had been asking him for years. The fruit source wass Split Rock Vineyard, located just east of Greenport, which is owned by Michael Kontokosta and managed by Long Island Veteran Charles Flat. The yield was low, just two tons an acre. And the grapes were picked Oct. 5, 2007. (The wine is 100% Riesling.)

The result is quite delightful, a perfect wine for summer. The nose is light, with lemon, lime and floral notes and something that struck me as the smell of metal shavings. The palate showed many things: white peach, apricot, green grapes (yeah, I know, the grapes are green that made it, but that doesn't mean you're always going to get that taste in the wine), a little bubblegum. The acidity was good, the length not huge. But the complexity, while not vast, was more than I'm used to seeing in U.S. Rieslings.

One of the greatest qualities of the wine is its terrifically low alcohol content: 9.6%! That means that, even though the weather be hot, you can enjoy this wine for glass after glass, and not feel overwhelmed or heavy. That's something I look for in a summer wine, because, let's face it: wine drinking is not as pleasurable in the hot months as it is in the cool, because alcohol and stifling heat do not mix well. We want to feel light, fizzy and buoyant during summer, by whatever means possible. If the wine can help that along, latch on to that wine. I'll be latching on to this one a few more times this summer.

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