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Riesling perfect choice for summer

What better all-around wine with food than a good, crisp Riesling from Germany? It is hard to beat, especially when temperatures approach the 100-degree mark and you want a wine that will not knock your socks off with alcohol and full-bodied heaviness.

German Rieslings are versatile, drink-with-any-food kind of wines, even steak. They usually are lower in alcohol and they are excellent aperitifs on their own, considering the slight residual sugar found in most of the Kabinett styles and higher.

Chateau Schonborn Rheingau Riesling is actually a much greater wine than the label states. It is in fact a 2003 Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg Spatlese, which was declassified into a Kabinett, meaning the sugar content in the grapes was good enough that it could have ended up an expensive spatlese, but now is sold under a generic name.

Don’t be mistaken, this is produced by one of the finest wineries in the Rheingau region of Germany, and the price is equally attractive. Buy cases of this and drink it throughout the summer.

In the glass, Chateau Schonborn Riesling is a faint light golden yellow with a clean, clear starbright 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 Bosque pears, 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, crushed pear skins, sweetish applesauce, 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 just a little zest of sweetness to remind us that this is a great spatlese wine in disguise.

Serve it 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 2008.

Wine: Chateau Schonborn Rheingau Riesling

Grape: Riesling

Region: Rheingau, Germany

Vintage: 2003

Price: $8.99

Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at gil@winevegas.com.

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