The people who truly appreciate Riesling for what it is, at times, seem few and far between. This is a crying shame, especially in Hawaii, as Riesling is a versatile, deeply varied and exceptionally food friendly wine that pairs particularly well to spicy foods and Asian cuisine. Thus, Riesling is one of my favorite wines to recommend and drink.
At the Chambers and Chambers Holiday Show, I had the exceptional privilege of meeting the Johannes Selbach of J & H Selbach and Selbach-Oster. Wine maker extraordinaire, his affection and love for his wine shone through in both our discussion of his remarkable collection and the wines themselves.
I was thrilled to try one of his latest projects, the 2009 Ahi Riesling. This wine seemed as though it were created for Pacific Rim cuisine and all of its unique, palate teasing, layered wonders. The wine was fresh and bright with bright, tropical fruit on the nose, a slightly off-dry mid-palate, and a long lingering juicy finish. It was rich enough to stand up to a full bodied, deeply colored ahi or salmon sashimi but delicate enough to quaff alongside ama ebi. This wine could certainly stand alone but would shine beautifully with exceptionally fresh, raw seafood.
The 2007 Weisser Riesling was a more delicate showing of the varietal, presenting white flowers on the nose and delicate orchard fruits on the palate; however, the finish came in strong with long lasting, firm tropical fruits. This wine would be a lovely pairing with fresh salads, light poultry and fresh fish…personally, I couldn’t get Roy’s steamed fish with Asian pesto out of my head, I think it would be a truly heavenly combination.
The 2008 Weingut Selbach-Oster Kabinett showed crisp minerals and stone fruit on the nose with slatey notes on the palate. It was dry on the palate with a clean fresh mouthfeel. This wine left me longing for roasted pork and garlic mashed potatoes.
Next up was the 2007 Weingut Selbach-Oster Riesling Spatlese. Spatlese grapes, picked later in the harvest season than Kabinett, often yield a riper, more intense flavor and richness than the Kabinett classification. Deeply tropical with balanced minerality on the nose, followed by rich orchard fruit on the palate, the wine’s grand finale was perfectly balanced acid to supplement the beautiful orchard flavors. This particular Spatlese showed a masterful balance characteristics. I had the pleasure of enjoying a different vintage of this particular wine with my husband at one of our favorite Vietnamese restaurants for our fourth wedding anniversary. The pairing of the lustily spiced, strongly heated Vietnamese food with the cool, tropical delicacy of the Spatlese was an otherworldly match.
The opportunities to pair a beautiful Riesling with a favorite food are really endless, especially in the islands. If you’re a fan of a little *BAM* in your meals and you aren’t afraid of fresh ingredients or a little heat, a dazzlingly fresh Kabinett or a decadently luscious Spatlese may be just the thing you’re looking for.
These delightful products can be purchased at most fine wine retailers on the island of Oahu.