This week in New York City, the wine world is taking a time to celebrate one of the most exciting, and often misunderstood, regions in the world of wine, Germany. The Rieslingfeier wine festival, founded by Stephen Bitterolf, owner of the wine import company vom Boden, creates a buzz around the city amongst collectors and sommeliers by bringing some of the greatest growers in Germany to New York City for a weekend of special bottles, conviviality and great food.
We reached out to Stephen and asked him what he finds so special in Riesling, a grape that is often misunderstood by consumers. Stephen’s reply reminds us why we love Riesling so much in our restaurant:
“When most people hear the word “Riesling” they think of sugar and sweetness. The thrill of Riesling, its blood and bones and soul, its essence, is ACID. Few grapes on the face of the planet, in fact, have anything close to the natural acidity that the Riesling grape has. What’s key with German Riesling has nothing to do with sugar: it is very literally the balance. This is the magic; this is the dance, the spine-shivering, soul-shaking triumph in the greatest of Rieslings – balance. And when you have that, well, there just isn’t a place or a grape on the planet, that can achieve an equal delicacy, transparency. German Riesling should be electric and technicolor and just plain kinetic. A good one, well, it’s liquid energy.”
It’s important to note, Germany is really on the northern fringe of where grapes will ripen, so it makes sense to think of these wines as driven by their natural acidity from that cool climate. In our restaurant, we find Riesling to be a wonderful pairing for our award-winning Charcuterie, where the acidity is delicious against the richness on the plate, and the fruit and floral elements of the wine play so nice with the salt of the charcuterie. The transparency and clarity that Stephen mentions makes Riesling indispensable at the table, brightening dishes with acidity, and bringing the herbal components of a recipe into sharp relief.
This week we are opening wines from some of our favorite estates in Germany, including JB Becker, Keller, JJ Prum, AJ Adam, Leitz (in a five liter bottle no less!) and Dönnhoff. I know the sommelier team at Bar Boulud is looking forward to it, and I hope you are too!
Riesling Spätlese ‘Wehlener Sonnenuhr’ 2010
Riesling Grosses Gewächs ‘Felsenberg’ 2010
Riesling Kabinett ‘Dhroner Hofberg’ 2014
Riesling Spätlese Trocken 2015
Riesling Trocken ‘Berg Kaisersteinfels’ 2013
Poured from a 5-Liter Bottle
Riesling Grosses Gewächs ‘Abtserde’ 2012
Riesling Grosses Gewächs ‘Hofberg’ 2013