by contributing writer, Steve Gross
Slowly but surely my expectations for the wine I drink rise up and up. At this point in my wine-drinking life, I’d rather drink less, but very good wine, than drink wine just for the sake of drinking it. I now know what the really good stuff tastes like! Why settle for less?
Let’s take Riesling, a wine produced in several parts of the grape-growing world. Most Rieslings won’t cripple your bank account, but you don’t always get a memorable wine for the $10-20 you spend.
I’d heard, however, that Riesling is the favorite wine of a number of real wine heavyweights (Jancis Robinson of the Financial Times, for example). Considering her credibility, I was willing to listen. Then I read an article by Jay McInerney, a novelist and wine author, about the thrilling wines of JJ Prüm. I was further intrigued.
I found several bottles of Prüm Rieslings in a local wine store, so I pounced. The wines completely confirmed what Jancis Robinson and Jay McInerney had said – they were utterly fantastic. I was converted. Riesling had a high end that I had not yet experienced, except in a few wines I’d tasted in the Finger Lakes of New York.
The Joh. Jos. Prüm Bernkasteler Badstube Auslese 2007 ($32) was the best Riesling I’d ever tasted. Steely, with a complex of pear, apple, wet stone, and clean linen tastes and aromas, the wine stayed around with a long finish that allowed you to really savor what you had just tasted. Wow. Every sip demanded a bit of reverie. You didn’t want each taste to end but also couldn’t wait for the next sip.
The proof, interestingly enough, of the quality of the Prüm was cinched when my mom, who’s usually pretty accepting of what you pour for her (as long as it’s white), had a very strong positive reaction to the bottle I brought over one afternoon. She kept commenting on how good it was, and she’s usually pretty reserved about all of this wine and wine talk we bring around.
So, an average wine drinker thinks it’s extraordinary. A drinker with more experience thinks it’s extraordinary. Ratings of the wine from various locations list it as extraordinary. I guess it’s extraordinary.
Less is More
Drinking less, but markedly better, wine may be the way to go for the budget-conscious among us (myself included). $32 is nothing to sneeze at. Chalk this up to a quality versus quantity argument, but taste the Prüm Rieslings first, then see where you wind up. Enjoy.