Johannes Leitz of Weingut Josef Leitz has been described as being part of the vanguard of new German winemakers, a small group that seems to understand what will make Riesling successful in the United States – that is to produce Rieslings in a dry style and to design the packaging and marketing so as to make them attractive and understandable. Leitz succeeds on both counts with his Eins Zwei Dry Riesling from Rheingau.
The Eins Zwei Dry is immediately beautifully aromatic with aromas of petrol, lime, peach, and a very strong, distinct stony edge. On the palate, green apple, lemon zest, and more petrol. Ripe, but dry. Acidity is fairly high and provides the wine with a very good length. This is a Riesling that will appease those who doubt that German Riesling can be dry, delicious, refreshing, and affordable.
I want to love German Rieslings, but I have found that difficult to do. First, like many wine drinkers in the US I have an aversion to sweet wines. I enjoy off-dry wines when they are served after dinner and think that they can be a delicious substitute for dessert. But they generally don’t appeal to me as an aperitif or when paired with most meals.
Second, though I am slightly embarrassed to admit it, the labels are confusing. As a native German speaker (who, I should qualify, has spent many more years in the States than in Germany), I find it challenging to interpret the quality designations, the sweetness levels, and the vineyard names. Even in stores with more than a handful of bottles beyond Liebfraumilch, chances are very slim that the sales staff will be able to help you navigate the selection and make a choice that you will like.
That’s why I applaud the 31 Days of Riesling campaign and winemakers like Leitz for making a concerted effort to simplify and to educate. The campaign, which created a big buzz on Twitter and wine blogs and involved wine stores, restaurants, and wine bars, is a huge step toward developing the interest and understanding of the next generation of Riesling drinkers. Here in Greater Boston there were numerous opportunities to participate in tastings and Riesling dinners over the past month. I just wished that there were more than 31 days to take it all in!
At Lower Falls Wine Co. for $15.99.