I don’t drink many Rieslings, mostly because I’m not a huge fan of sweetness in my wines. Rieslings are however considered to be amongst the greatest age-worthy white wines, and they aren’t always very sweet, if at all. I very much enjoyed a Riesling recently while visiting Long Island Wine Country at Paumanok Vineyards so when I spotted the Dr. Wagner Riesling Kabinett at my local Costco I decided to give it a try.
The German wine classification system can be a confusing one. While they describe it as a quality scale, this is misleading as it actually refers to the ripeness of the grapes when they are picked. The level of ripeness has a great deal to do with the body of the wine and the sugar content of the grapes. The finished wine may be produced in a dryer style however, even if the grapes are quite ripe and high in sugar content.
The Dr. Wagner Riesling is a ‘Kabinett’ level wine, meaning that the grapes are picked at the lowest level of ripeness on the German scale. This typically translates to a finished wine that has a lighter body, less residual sugar, lower alcohol and high acidity. These attributes are what make Kabinett Riesling so great to pair with food, especially seafood and shellfish.
Appearance: Very pale yellow
Nose: The flinty nose reveals subtle citrus; predominantly lemon along with wet rock.
On the palate: Light bodied, the crisp acidity keeps the off-dry to medium level of sweetness in good balance. Notes of lemon peel and grapefruit are complemented by a nice mineral component.
Varietal Composition: Riesling
Origin: Mosel, Germany
Value Rating: 4.5 / 5
Price: $13.79 ($23 Retail)
Should you buy? The Dr. Wagner Riesling is well-made and tough to beat at this price. Its a terrific upgrade over the ubiquitous Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling.
Value Proposition – Dr. Wagner Riesling Kabinett
After tasting the Dr. Wagner Riesling Kabinett I’ve vowed to try more Rieslings. This particular specimen is produced from 30 year old vines in the Mosel and I really like it’s mineral driven character.
It’s also a pretty solid value at Costco’s price considering that it sells for closer to $20 at most merchants. But it is still a touch too sweet for me personally, although I think most people would find this pretty appealing as the acidity really does a great job of keeping the sweetness in check.
With that being said, I look forward to tasting more Rieslings and hopefully exploring those that are truly bone dry. If you don’t mind a touch of residual sugar, then give the Dr. Wagner Riesling Kabinett a shot. If even I can enjoy it considering my major aversion to sweetness then Dr. Wagner’s Riesling is a winner in my book!