Dry Riesling at 36,000 feet

No one of my acquaintance – myself included – chooses air carriers these days to taste wines in flight. If one did, however, European and Asian carriers would probably have an edge, at least in the forward cabins. Consider, for example, Krug Grande Cuvée on Cathay Pacific, Salon Cuvée S on JAL, and Laurent-Perrier Grande Cuvée on BA and Swiss. So imagine how elated this author of a book about dry Riesling was to discover the 2016 vintage of Trefethen Family Vineyards’ Dry Riesling aboard Delta’s Delta One™ transcontinental service last week from JFK to San Francisco. First because it is a stellar wine applauded by critics of all stripes. Second because, bright with acid and tank-raised, loaded with flavorful terpenes and convincingly dry, 12.5° with just 5.0 g/L of residual sugar, it was perfect (as many otherwise good wines are not) at 36000 feet. Third because it takes a bit of courage these days to put America’s most misunderstood white varietal on any mainstream wine list. Kudos to Delta; to Andrea Immer Robinson MS, the respected sommelier who chooses wines for Delta One™; and to the Trefethen family, which has been stubbornly loyal to Riesling-qua-variety and Riesling-made-dry for all forty years since the estate was founded in 1976. Evidence that Dan Berger was correct in his 19 December column for the [Santa Rosa] Press Democrat that dry Riesling is “on the march,” with sales rising for both German and American exemplars? On my flight, the first bottle was fully consumed in just one trip down one of two aisles, outselling a well-known California chardonnay at least 2-to-1! It did not hurt that that the wine paired very well with both an appetizer of lobster salad and a main course of succulent chicken breast and tiny discs of fingerling potato salad; thank you Delta Catering. On terra firma, savvy consumers can still buy the 2016 vintage from the winery – it is a well-priced point of entry into the dry persona of the world’s seventh most planted wine grape variety.

 

 

 

 

 

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