Wine of the Week: Monchhof Riesling

Wine: Monchhof Riesling

Grape: Riesling

Region: Mosel, Germany

Vintage: 2011

Price: $9.99

Availability: Lee’s Discount Liquors, most chain stores

In the glass: Monchhof Riesling is a faint light golden yellow with a clean, clear star-bright appearance, showing a translucent core going out into a glass-clear rim definition with just hints of greenish tinge and medium viscosity.

On the nose: There are nicely concentrated notes of lemon peel and zest, serious freshness, Braeburn apples, white stone fruit, grapefruit segments, kaffir lime and hints of white flowers with warm minerality emanating from the bowl of the glass.

On the palate: The wine is expansive with lovely delineated white fruit spritz, crushed pear skins, more lemon drops and rind, clean bright citrus character and hints of green melon, Rainier cherries and chalky minerals. The midpalate is soft and balanced and the feeling of harmony between acidity and fruit is constant through the bright rounded finish with a little tangy zest of lime at the end. Great mouth-feel, though.

Odds and ends: German rieslings possess the unequalled quality of being versatile, drink-with-any-food kind of wines. You can have riesling with a steak, too. They are usually lower in alcohol and they make for excellent aperitifs, considering the slight residual sugar found in most of the Kabinett styles — like this one — and up to the complex so-called Trockenbeerenausleses, but then there’s lots of sweetness and this has little of that. This particular riesling, comes from the great and venerable estate of Monchhof in the heart of the Mosel, where wines have been made since 1177, in the beginning by the Cistercian monks, but then later after the charming estate house was built in 1507 and when it was sold to the Eymael family by Napoleon in 1804, it is an all-family affair for generations. This Monchhof Riesling is one I have always enjoyed by the glass in some of the finer establishments around town. It is a really top notch riesling that will be wonderful in the spring weather served by the glass simply chilled to 52 degrees Fahrenheit and on its own, with some nice oysters or with a light mixed green salad. It should provide great drinking pleasure through 2016.

Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at