Friday, May 15, 2009

Australian Riesling and Vinegar

One of the small joys of spring is the annual vintage of chive blossom vinegar, pictured here. There are several clumps of chives, and friends also grow them, and in mid spring each year the blossoms go into jars to marinate in white wine vinegar. After about a month the vinegar is drained off, passed through several layers of cheesecloth to remove small bits and bottled. It gives a taste of spring all year long in salad dressing and other places where a touch of vinegar helps perk up a dish. And it looks pretty marinating in the sun.

One of the things that has been difficult to find in this area of the U.S. is Australian Rieslings. The few I've managed to find in the local market have all been very good wines, but they remained a hard sell and few merchants bothered to carry them.

I read somewhere recently that Riesling is the one Australian wine showing growth in U.S. sales, and I would link the article if I could find where I stored the link. Imagine my surprise yesterday when I stopped in one of the larger local outlets and there was a large display of these wines. Apparently one of the local distributors is clearing out a warehouse and discovered a pallet of them stuck in a corner. He greatly discounted the prices and the local store bought the entire amount for the 'fire sale' price.

So what did I add to the cellar? Four bottles each of Grosset Watervale Riesling from the 2005 and 2006 vintages. These wines are from the Clare Valley in South Australia. Instead of the suggested price of $30, they were available for $15. I added three bottles of 2005 Rocky Gully dry Riesling from the Frankland River are of Western Australia. There was a suggested retail price of $15, but they came home at a price of $7. This wasn't a wine I was familiar with but at $7 a bottle I took a chance.

There was one wine that was in short supply and they were limiting customers to a single bottle since they only bought two cases. That wine was the Grosset Polish Hill Riesling from the 2006 vintage. That is the holy grail wine of Australian Rieslings in the U.S. With a suggested price of $45 a bottle, it came home for $26.

With spring and summer coming dry Rieslings rank right up there with dry roses as true delights, and there will be some good evenings this summer with these wines.

And on Memorial Day (May 25) will be off to pick up the 2008 Riesling and other white wines being released on that weekend by Kincaid Ridge, arguably the best winery in Ohio.

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