Wines of the Week: Sept. 3-9

Everyday: Paul Dolan has long been recognized as a leading light in the sustainable/organic realm. He also makes some damn fine wine. The Paul Dolan Potter Valley Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc ($18) is a flat-out delicious amalgam of key lime, kiwi and much more, with a lovely lean edge leavening the fruit all the way through a seriously refreshing finish. It’s fun to smell and fun to drink, but with nice complexity. There’s enough tropical fruit here to play off medium-spicy Indian or Thai food, and an herb-infused roast pork would provide swell accompaniment as well.

Occasion: I have heard for years about how great Austrian rieslings could be, but never experienced it. Until last night, when I had the great good fortune to be treated to the Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Steiner Hund Reserve Riesling ($70). “Holy Red Foley” was all I could say. Power and purity, liveliness and lift, plus structure out the yin yang. I can almost still taste the extraordinary finish. You can have your California cult cabs; I’ll take this dynamic white. I’m sure there are any number of dishes with which it would shine, as the best rieslings do. But the next time I’m fortunate enough to have one, I’m going the savor-by-itself route.

4 Responses

  1. Bill Ward

    I am only occasionally listing vintages because I am usually going with wines that, through my own experience or word from people I really trust, are strong in every vintage, spectacular in some. But point taken, I should proably include them with all expensive wines because vintage variation matters more there.
    The wine I tasted was a 2006 and absolutely worth $70 in my view (its SRP is less, but the Wine Searcher avearge is in that ballpark. If you have sampled the Nikolaihof, we can just agree to disagree.
    I definitely don’t agree with blanket statements on wines/regions/prices. I wouldn’t say, for example, that no cab from outside Bordeaux or Napa was worth $70. At least until I had tried all the others :o).

  2. Bill,

    Plenty outside on cab side. Riesling is unique to only a few areas. While Austria produces nice Riesling I would never pay $70 for one. There are too many good German Auslese wines for $35 that rock.

  3. Bill Ward

    I guess I just look at that differently, John. I can find a lot of really good $40 syrahs from the Rhone, but that doesn’t mean that no Australian shirazes are worth $80.

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