Monday, 13 April 2009

Wine Review - Two Crisp Summer Whites

Summer is approaching fast. Rising temperatures and soaring humidity leave us in definite need of refreshing, light summer wines.

We never understood why the shelves of Muscat's off-licenses are filled with those big, flabby whites from Australia and California. This climate yearns for fresh wines from Germany, Austria and the Loire! How happy we would be if we could only find a lovely vinho verde from Portugal. We haven't lost hope though, and the following two wines will carry us through the hot summer months, even if we don't find anything else.

Vollrads 'Sommer' Rheingau Riesling Qualitätswein Trocken 2007
The Germans do a good job confusing people with their wine labels, but when you encounter the words qualitätswein trocken on the label you know that you have a dry, base level wine in your hands. Although these are usually fairly simple wines, they can be surprisingly nice to drink. This Sommer wine by Schloss Vollrads is such a wine. It has a light, floral nose, and has a pleasant taste, dry, with fresh fruit, and good minerality. The moderate alcohol level (11,5%) make it a lovely, refreshing wine. The price is decent as well: 6.500 OMR at OUA. True to its name, this is great for summer.

Laurenz und Sophie Singing Grüner Veltliner 2007
This wine comes from the Kremstal in Austria. Grüner Veltliner is a grape that is rarely seen outside of Autria, so it may be a little unknown, but the Austrians work wonders with this grape. It shares some characteristics with Riesling, but is usually a bit more spicy. The aim of wine producer Laurenz Moser and his young daughter Sophie was to produce a wine from Grüner Veltliner that would appeal to a large audience. They wanted to make a fresh and crispy wine, that is singing, so to speak. And well... they succeeded. This wine is lovely. Dry, crisp, with refreshing apple and citrus flavours and a spicy finish. It shows just a little bit more class than Vollrad's Sommer, but is also a bit more expensive: 7.500 OMR, also at OUA.

A word of caution: all too often we see old wines in the stores here. Make sure to buy the latest vintage of these wines (2007 in both cases). These wines are not meant to age, and you'll want the freshest fruit possible.

Enjoy your summer!

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