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By The Glass


Wednesday, January 29, 2003

2001 German rieslings
are worth exploring

Note: Last week, columnist Jay Kam listed reasons for sampling the 2001 German Rieslings. This week, Lyle Fujioka weighs in discussion with his suggestions.

You've already heard the wine gurus urging everyone to put aside their chardonnay for a while and fill their glasses with German riesling. Well, the time has come to take their words to heart. The 2001 rieslings are some of the most stunning wines, red or white, currently available. They are the white wine equivalent to the stellar 2000 bordeaux vintage. From bone dry to the famed dessert category, these wines have the potential to enchant the eager wine taster and astute diner.

A warm spring, ideal precipitation and a growing season that drifted into November produced wines with dazzlingly clear, brilliant fruit flavors with high, well-integrated acidity. These components ensure the long-range development potential of these wines.

These extremely food-friendly wines are perfect for our complex sweet, salty and spicy Asian-inspired cuisine. With alcohol levels below 10 percent, these are the wines to choose when contemplating your next habañero-chile palate incineration.

The best part -- German rieslings may be the greatest wine bargains left today. Compared with great white burgundy and luxury California chardonnay starting at $50 to $60 a bottle, many of these rieslings can be purchased for less than $25!

So let's recap. Great wine to drink both alone and with food, cellaring potential and fabulous prices. Ditch the chardonnay and give these wines a try:

Dönhoff Riesling 2001 ($12.95): Brace yourself for this incredible wine! This "just sweet" Riesling is packed with luscious peach and apricot flavors layered with chalky minerality and bright acidity. With a rich texture and long finish, Dönhoff is a true winner.

Müller-Catoir Riesling Halbtrocken 2001 ($19.95): For those who insist on dry wines, Müller-Catoir pulls out all the stops with this incredibly aromatic Riesling. Heavenly aromas of narcissus, tangerine, peach, pineapple and slate start things off. Rich tangerine, pineapple, mango, peach and mineral flavors finish with racy, clean acidity.

Lyle Fujioka owns Fujioka's Wine Merchants.

This column is a weekly lesson in wine
pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals.
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