Import Selection: Riesling, 1989. Roemische Weinstrasse

Roemische Weinstrasse is the region which surrounds the oldest city in Germany, Trier. In the year 70 A.D., in the battle of Rigodo­lum, the Roman legion successful­ly conquered the Germanic tribe, Treverer. The name “Roemische Weinstrasse” means “Roman wine route” and even today vivid evi­dence of the era is visible through­out this Mosel River district sub­division. Religious artifacts, as well as tombs, statues and mosaics still survive amongst the aquaducts and ruins of ancient Roman settle­ments. One can even find wine presses here that are about two thousand years old!

A few years ago, the governor and parliament of the area decided to designate one product to repre­sent their proud heritage. This wine is it. The governor actually selects the wine from the best ones available in the region. Then Leo­nard Kreusch, Inc., an American import company that specializes in German wines and has a facility there, bottles it. As it so happens, the birthplace of the owner, Paul P. Kreusch, is in the heart of the Roemische Weinstrasse, the city of Schweich, so his company was the natural choice. What they ship, to typify the quality and tradition of the area, is called a Kabinett-Riesling. The word Riesling here refers to the same Johannisberg Riesling grape we are familiar with in California wines. It is the high­est quality wine grape of Germany and takes its name from the fa­mous Rhine River Valley castle/ winery, Schloss Johannisberg. The word Kabinett refers to the ripeness/sweetness level of the grapes at harvest time. To qualify for this designation, a German wine must be produced from grapes ripe enough to yield a nice, fruity/dry taste without any addi­tion of sugar (a common winemak­ing practice in these colder climate regions).

This charming Moselle has a very pale, clear greenish/gold col­or. The nose is very fruity with a sort of Oriental fruit/plum/spice character to it. The wine feels quite smooth, round, and fairly rich in texture in the mouth, soft and very mellow. The slight sweetness is offset completely by balanced le­mony acidity. The fruity plum-like taste lingers on and on in the fin­ish.

Serve chilled with Thai naked shrimp or stir-fried Cantonese fish and shrimp courses. Chicken sau­teed in white wine with onion, bell pepper, broccoli and mushrooms or a roast loin of pork.

Cellaring Notes: Approaching its peak. Enjoy now through 1994.

Reviewed by Larry Tepper

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